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From: Ferris McCormick <fmccor@g.o>
Subject: Re: Amending GLEP39
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2009 23:33:21 +0000
On Mon, 13 Jul 2009 17:06:52 -0600
Denis Dupeyron <calchan@g.o> wrote:

> Next topic on the (long) list: how do we go about amending GLEP39?
> This is by the way a blocker for part of the previous discussion about
> meeting format, i.e. getting rid of proxies and slacker mark.
> 
> I will keep my opinion for myself until later in order to not bias the
> discussion. I will try and present the facts as I see them but as
> neutrally as possible. This is the result of lots of discussions with
> lots of yous. Feel free to add to this, I'm not going to pretend I've
> heard it all.
> 
> There are various schools of thought here, and we can divide them
> using mainly two axes.
> 
> One is about whether we can actually modify GLEP39 or not. Some think
> that GLEP39 is so fundamental that it can't be changed, period. A less
> extremist faction think that although it can't be changed we can
> decide to write another and switch to it if enough of the right people
> agree (TBD, see below). And then there's those who think that GLEP39
> can be amended under the right conditions (see below again).
> 

I think it is clear that we can change or replace GLEP39.  The question
is who can do it and how.

> The other axis is about how we agree we can amend GLEP39 or switch to
> an entirely different text. Some think that as long as GLEP39 was
> voted by the whole dev population, in order to change it we need all
> devs to vote the change. Some others think that the whole point of
> electing a council is about delegating your vote and making the
> maneuvering of this large ship that Gentoo is a lot easier than if we
> had to resort to all-devs vote for everything. The required majority
> for each alternative (all devs vote, or council members only) is a
> detail right now, but will need to be discussed at some point.
> 

Council as we know it was created by GLEP39, and GLEP39 is the one of
several alternatives which was chosen by a vote of the developer
community.  So in a sense, Council is serving at the pleasure of the
developers, and GLEP39 describes the rules the developers want for
the council (or wanted in 2005 at any rate).

So it is conceivable that if council were to replace GLEP39, they would
be working against the explicit wishes of the community.  This leads
into your next sub-axis, which is a harder problem.  For now here, I'll
just say that "significant" changes to GLEP39 probably require a vote
of the developer community.  And I think GLEP39 supports that, in this
way:  Glep39 says "This proposal has nothing to say about GLEPs.", and
in particular, it does not address how it itself can be changed.  I
*think* that suggests that significant changes would require the same
process that got us to GLEP39 in the first place, but that is really a
question for Grant (g2boojum) and Ciaran (ciaranm).  That would be
primarily Grant, I think, because I asked ciaranm something about
GLEP39 once, and as I recall, he told me that Grant was the primary
author.

> Then there's a sub-axis. In the case we allow the council members to
> vote on GLEP39 changes to make things easier, would it be the same if
> we were to switch from GLEP39 to a completely different text or would
> this require an all-devs vote? And even in the case we're only
> changing GLEP39, how major can the change be before we have to go back
> to the whole dev population? Because it's certainly possible to change
> GLEP39 to such an extent that it becomes an entirely different thing.
> Can we actually quantify how big a change is?
> 

I don't know.  But we can infer a couple things.  The main thrusts of
GLEP39 are (1) Council must hold at least one open meeting a month
(Council must not be moribund and council must not work in secret), and
(2) To meet, council must have a quorum, and (3) council members must
show up now and then or send proxies.  I don't think council has the
authority to change fundamentals like those without concurrence of the
developer community.

On the other hand, we've already decided that rather than hold an
election when a council member leaves council instead we go to the next
slot on the ballot from the election which chose council.

So we have implicitly accepted that some kinds of procedural changes to
GLEP39 are OK, but I think that just replacing it would not be OK.  I
don't know how to quantify the dividing line, though.
> There's one last group: those who don't care but will find an angle in
> the above to make personal attacks. Please don't.
> 
> Denis.
> 

I hope that some of what I am trying to say comes through.  I'm not
being as clear as I would like, and I think that I am not sure about
how big a change has to be to trigger a vote of the developers.

Regards,
Ferris
--
Ferris McCormick (P44646, MI) <fmccor@g.o>
Developer, Gentoo Linux (Sparc, Userrel, Trustees)
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Replies:
Re: Amending GLEP39
-- Roy Bamford
Re: Amending GLEP39
-- Denis Dupeyron
References:
Amending GLEP39
-- Denis Dupeyron
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Updated Nov 13, 2011

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