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To: gentoo-nfp@g.o
From: Chris Gianelloni <wolf31o2@g.o>
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Foundation Nomination - Daniel Robbins
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 10:18:17 -0800
On Thu, 2008-01-31 at 08:04 +0000, Steve Long wrote:
> You amaze me: you lower the tone of the discourse with your belligerent 
> comments, state I am "running my mouth as usual" and then wish to accuse me 
> of "ad hominem."

My apologies.  I took your response as a personal attack, not as an
observation of the past trustees, as a whole.  You're correct.  We
failed pretty miserably.

> I took it as read that no-one was trying to state that the previous Trustees 
> had stepped up to the plate. Anyone who's followed the history will have read 
> many assertions about it not being something the devs were good at, nor would 
> we want them to be. If you're maintaining that all was well with the 
> Foundation, it's an interesting point-of-view.

I never said all was well.  In fact, I've said quite the opposite for a
while now.  At any rate, I apologize again for reading your "you" and
"your" as personal to me, since you were responding to me.

> > No, it really doesn't take any managerial capability.  The trustees are
> > *not* managers.
> So let's get this straight: Council and devs deal with the technical side 
> (let's call this the software development) and Trustees deal with the
> "staff/financial/legal" matters. Anywhere else that would be called
> "organisational" matters, which would need managerial oversight.

The trustees have not managed the staff.  Originally, the "staff" all
fell under Daniel.  When the original metastructure (managers, prior to
Council, and Foundation) was created, the staff positions fell under the
managers.  In the Council scheme, they still fell under the Council.
They likely *should* fall under the trustees, but they currently do not.
As such, they don't manage anything but money/paperwork.

> > They do not tell anyone what to do, nor do they lead 
> > the project in any way.  The trustees are paper pushers.  I'm sorry if
> > you don't realize that, but there's only so many times that it can be
> > said before it becomes obvious that you're either ignoring it, or too
> > dense to comprehend it.  I'll let you decide which.
> >
> See below, but thanks for showing the way to keep things civil. Just as 
> feedback to improve this: if you had stopped at "paper pushers," perhaps 
> adding "That's all there is to it," it would have made the point without 
> lowering the tone.

Indeed.  As I've said, I read things wrong and got overly defensive.  My
apologies.  I have stated that point several times, though, and it does
get a bit old repeating it.  I'll try to watch what I say a bit better
and try not to take people talking trash about past trustees personally.
One thing that many people forget is that while the "current" trustees
(including myself and the others that were trustees with me) dropped the
ball, so did all the previous ones.  We were left with quite a big mess
to clean up and we all dropped the ball as soon as we started hitting
difficulty.

> > Yes, because his organizational skills at organizing FOSDEM for Gentoo
> > was excellent.  In fact, his skills were so good that several developers
> > got left in the cold for over an hour, waiting for transportation that
> > Patrick had promised and which never arrived.  How about the demo
> > machines that Patrick lined up for the show?  Oh, that's right, SeJo,
> > pvdabeel, and myself had to do that the day of the show because Patrick
> > didn't do anything.
> >
> Sounds like most of the chief executives I've come across, who are normally 
> reliant on PAs to actually arrange anything. Thank you however for backing up 
> your assertion with reasons: it would have been nice if you had stated this 
> in the first place, instead of just rolling your eyes and expecting us to 
> accept that ebuild developing had anything to do with the Trustees.

I had assumed that it was fairly common knowledge.  There was a lot of
talk about it, but now that I think about it, that discussion might have
been more private than I recall.  I'll try to back up my statements more
when making them.  I sometimes forget that not everyone knows the same
information that I do and tend to take for granted that people are as
aware of things as I am within Gentoo.

> He's still much better at motivation and empathising with his colleagues. I've 
> seen him help and motivate loads of people, including some of your 
> developers.

Sure, I've not said anything about his motivational skills.  All I spoke
of was his organizational/management skills.  Many of us don't feel that
Patrick has the ability to do these things.  He has good ideas, he just
doesn't follow through/implement them well.

> > Now, you can call it a personal attack if you wish.  I hope that you
> > realize that I don't care what your opinion is on pretty much anything.
> > While I've been working to improve Gentoo, you sit on the sidelines and
> > tell everybody how poorly they're doing.
> I think you have me confused with someone else.

Probably...

> No, it was the "*rolls eyes*" and a snipe about someone's history as a 
> developer disqualifying them as a Trustee, with no *facts* given which made 
> it sound like a personal attack. Thank you for finally providing some attempt 
> at reasoning, along with your usual ad hominem towards me.

Yeah, I should have said so sooner.  Also, I never said he would be
disqualified or ineligible.  Patrick is certainly eligible, and if he
decides to run and wins, then more power to him.  I simply wanted to
point out that Patrick has a track record within Gentoo that *I* think
would make him a poor candidate for trustee.  Of course, you also don't
see me running for the trustees, either.  I don't think that *I* would
make a good candidate, either.

> > Sure, Patrick has contributed quite a bit via his gentooexperimental
> > project, but that doesn't change the *facts* of his time as a Gentoo
> > developer.
> > 
> I find it more cogent that he has contributed and maintained that 
> infrastructure for innovation, as well as the huge amount of QA for the tree, 
> as something other than a Gentoo dev. The last couple of months has shown 
> that, while Gentoo is fine as a piece of software, as a project there is a 
> serious disconnect with its user base. So it seems that where the project 
> needs new thinking is not really on the technical development side.

No, it needs help in many of its staff positions, such as
Infrastructure, PR, Events, etc. to help promote Gentoo.  This doesn't
have to be the trustees job, nor should it be.  The trustees are there
to be liaisons between the legal (pro bono lawyers, paid lawyers, SFLC,
whatever), the IRS (taxes, accountants?), and the Gentoo Foundation
membership.  Unlike the Council, the trustees aren't really *supposed*
to *lead* anyone, anywhere.  The trustees are *supposed* to perform the
will of the general Foundation membership.  Only in very rare cases
would I ever see the trustees going against the general consensus, and
that would be a case where the general consensus doesn't match US law.

> Perhaps the Trustees should have a wider remit than the one you envision as 
> paper-pushers with a narrow *legal* remit. Although you mention staff 
> relations, and financial matters as well, you seem to be unaware overseeing 
> this requires managerial capability, along the lines drobbins has mentioned.

Perhaps, but they do not now.

> It's not about being a lawyer, an accountant or an HR person: it's about 
> managing them, with an overview of all three, and the impact it has on the 
> people who make the product.

Currently, the trustees don't fill those roles.

> Patrick, like drobbins, understands the developer culture. While the 
> discussion may be moot, in that I don't think he wants to stand, the topics 
> we have discussed are relevant: should the Trustees be strictly confined to 
> dealing with legal matters? If so, who is to deal with the other areas, given 
> that developers have enough to do maintaining the software?

It has been left to the Council to run "the distribution" which tends to
cover all aspects of managing and maintaining the distribution.
Personally, I'd *love* to see the trustees/Foundation take over *all* of
the more organizational roles, but that would be something for the new
trustees and the Council to decide.

-- 
Chris Gianelloni
Release Engineering Strategic Lead
Games Developer
-- 
gentoo-nfp@g.o mailing list


References:
Re: Re: Re: Foundation Nomination - Daniel Robbins
-- Steve Long
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