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To: gentoo-nfp@g.o
From: "Jan Bilek" <clonolu@...>
Subject: Re: How to improve the trustees
Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2008 23:01:01 +0100
On Thu, 2008-01-31 at 10:24 -0800, Chris Gianelloni wrote:
> OK, I'm starting a new thread here to try to discuss some things the
> trustees can do to improve both visibility and also attempt to
> ensure/promote progress within the Foundation.  Please chime in with
> your own ideas.
> - Regular meetings - The trustees should have a regular monthly meeting
> to discuss progress, preferably the first week of the month (for GMN).
> - Regular GMN section - I think that both the Council and the trustees
> should have a section each for summaries of their latest meetings.  This
> should relay information about what is happening to the developer pool
> and the community, in general.
> - Named positions - I also think that specifically putting certain
> people into certain positions would possibly improve getting things
> done.  For each position, there should be an alternate, so that we don't
> end up relying on a single person.  This also breaks up the
> responsibilities a bit so that the trustees and the community know what
> responsibilities that each person should be working.  Positions that I
> see that could/should be filled: President, Secretary, Treasurer
> Those are my initial ideas.  Comments?

I am not a developer, just user, but I hope I can dare to express my
opinion - I read these nice ideas about improving communication
between developers and users and I think it's also up to us - users...
so I am trying.

I have grown up in a centrally planned economy and it was all about
regular meetings, summaries and named positions - those were used as
tools to improve things and they almost never worked as expected.

For example these regular meetings you propose - if there is an issue
to talk about why wait until the regular meeting is held? Are there no
efficient and easy to use channels to communicate immediately? If
there is no issue to talk about - regular meeting would be just a
waste of time.

These institutional things make everything less efficient - and BTW -
they tend to get sooo boring and meaningless... The more non-formal,
immediate and 'not institutionalized' communication - the better.

In (obviously not just) my opinion the problem is that Gentoo has
become too political, too rigid, too bureaucratic and institutional -
and it seems to me that maybe you don't realize (maybe you have not
attended as many regular meetings as I have;-)) that you want to fix
things by making Gentoo even more bureaucratic, more institutional,
less flexible.

I think the solution is to go the exact opposite way - to make
structural changes and use technical tools (as Daniel Robbins wrote
about it) that would allow Gentoo to become more decentralized,
flexible, less formal, less political. Disassembling the cathedral a

Competition of smaller projects led by developers who talk when they
need to instead of cathedral led by official institutions going
through official (and less and less efficient) ways. Smaller teams who
communicate on daily basis so they don't need summaries and reports.

Allowing and promoting funny competition between smaller teams instead
of demotivating (because unsolvable) fights inside huge teams frozen
in official ways of doing things. I have seen many developers leaving
Gentoo because of fights - is it necessary? There should be some way
to use the conflict for Gentoo's sake and developers' fun instead of
never-ending discussions with only one solution - less patient side of
a dispute leaves Gentoo.

Discussions are good but sometimes when there is too much of a need to
discuss things this tells us that there is something wrong and there
is a need for structural change. I think Gentoo needs mechanism for
teams to split up much more easily - I mean... lets let the work do
the talking - if there is a disagreement in a team they should be able
to split up easily and compete - the better technical solution wins
and gets to the official tree - that's IMO more efficient and more fun
way than discussions. I have some kind of micro-forks inside Gentoo on
mind - I think that is what Gentoo should support as much as possible
and Gentoo's infrastructure should be tailored to support it.

To find the mechanism that would allow to maintain functionality of
Gentoo as whole, solve compatibility issues etc. without too much of a
huge organization that needs more and more energy to keep itself
going... writing summaries and attending meetings while there is less
and less time left to do the actual work  - that is the problem.

Thanx for your time reading this.

Jan Bilek.
gentoo-nfp@g.o mailing list

Re: How to improve the trustees
-- Christian Faulhammer
Re: Re: How to improve the trustees
-- Alec Warner
Re: Re: How to improve the trustees
-- Chris Gianelloni
Re: Re: How to improve the trustees
-- Roy Bamford
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