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To: gentoo-nfp <gentoo-nfp@g.o>
From: "William L. Thomson Jr." <wltjr@g.o>
Subject: Re: Foundation existence and behavior (Was: Section 4.1 Member Classes)
Date: Sun, 25 May 2008 11:47:13 -0400
On Sun, 2008-05-25 at 08:09 -0400, Richard Freeman wrote:
>
> Look, let's be realistic.  We're not Red Hat.  We will probably never be 
> Red Hat.  I'm not entirely sure we want to be Red Hat.  Having a booth 
> at an event is a far cry from hosting one, and the politics in an 
> organization that can field those kinds of resources would totally 
> change the character of Gentoo.

http://www.debian.org/events/2008/0810-debconf


> I think the point is that we'd like to preserve the small-organization 
> atmosphere as much as possible.

Guess we should stop recruiting then?

>   Yes, reality is going to dictate some 
> compromises there, but I think most Gentoo devs would rather see a 
> Gentoo that looks more like FFmpeg than the Red Cross.

What is the size of the FFmpeg project compared to Gentoo?

> Honestly, I think staying humble helps keep us honest.  If we wanted to 
> be self-sufficient at commercial infrastructure rates the cost could 
> easily be $10k per month with no payroll - and that is using some of 
> your own estimates from this email.  Once you start having serious cash 
> flow you get all the politics that go with it.

BSD and others don't have a problem. $10k a month, $120k a year.
FreeBSD's budget and goal for 08 is $300k. They have $400k now according
to their last P & L report.

> I've seen it commented on other forums during some of the past problems 
> that we can't afford to lose Gentoo - it offers something truly 
> interesting and unique.  If we lose a CVS server it will most likely 
> have plenty of notice, and somebody will step up to meet the need, or we 
> could always have a paypal support drive to tide us over in the meantime.

And the mean time, while we have no CVS server what happens? What it
takes days, weeks, or etc to find a sponsor. Again if people aren't
stepping up for minor things. What makes you so confident they will go
for major ones?

> However, I don't think that non-dev Foundation membership is going to 
> accomplish this.  I think that it has real potential to put two groups 
> with different constituencies at the helm of Gentoo and in serious 
> conflict.  Just look at the discussion here!

Discussion != conflict, and we still only have a handful commenting. Not
a substantial percentage or outrage. Plus we have to heads now, this is
just getting those head to work with each other, in a organized manner.
Not a power struggle etc.


> Gentoo does need to be more responsive to users.  However, the way to 
> accomplish that is to appeal to devs collective good natures - not to 
> threaten to cut off their cvs access because it is running on Gentoo 
> Foundation property.

That is so ridiculous I am not even going to address it.

>   When a dev just is totally out of line, appeal to 
> the broader dev community to police itself, which has been happing over 
> the last year or so with far greater success than in the past (even if 
> we do have some rough bumps like we've had in the most recent council 
> meeting).

No one is discussing or mentioning anything of the sort.


> Hey - I for one appreciate what you're doing with the Foundation.  I 
> think we do need the Foundation, but we need to be careful about its 
> role.  I think that Gentoo needs to have a single voice and direction, 
> and having two very powerful boards with different constituencies is 
> likely to cause trouble.

Only if their missions, powers, duties, etc are not carefully thought
out and written into the bylaws as operating procedures.

> > 
> >> Again what the council received as proposal could be interpreted in a 
> >> quite grim way.
> > 
> > That's for the new council to decide. If one is ever elected.
> 
> Uh, that isn't your call to make.  In fact, you should probably be 
> careful as a trustee to state an opinion here as anything other than 
> your own personal opinion (granted, shared by others).

Who says I am not stating my opinion? Did I say we the foundation, or we
the board of trustees. No, thus I am only speaking my opinions. I can
see where it could get confusing, but I wear 3 hats, user, developer,
and trustee.

>   I really don't 
> like the trend I've seen lately where the Foundation is looking to hold 
> the Council accountable for its actions.

Where is that being discussed? Let's just jump to conclusions.

>   The folks who should be 
> holding the Council accountable are the devs - collectively.

Great, and GLEP 39 is?

>   I've 
> stated my personal opinion on this matter, as have many others.  Based 
> on the recent -council mailing list postings I'm sure the council will 
> find and enact some reasonable solution, which might include elections.

Still waiting, guess we will find out in ~30 days. Which I think we are
half way into that.

> And until elections are held, the current council is still the council. 
>   Granted, any council is free to change policies enacted by the former. 
>   The folks on the current council strike me as having good sense - 
> they're not flying off the handle issuing proclamations when it is wiser 
> to see what the consensus is and move in that direction.

What do you think threads like this exist for? To enact my will or to
get a general feel for the consensus.

> Ok, so let's set up mirrors for some of the more critical services with 
> different sponsors.  I think that is a better solution than having $100k 
> in the bank.

So you are going to find us some new sponsors? Or you want our existing
sponsors to provide more. So we can mirror critical stuff. Let's put out
a call for help there and see how long it takes to get responded to.


> Uh, the Foundation legally has quite a bit of power already.

Which if you see my comments, I plan to strip allot of that power. Like
removing Articles 

Section 5.3. Compensation.
Section 6.3. Project Management Committees
Section 6.7. Compensation.

>   Legally it 
> owns any Gentoo-owned assets.  Right now that is a bit limited by the 
> fact that most of our gear is owned by sponsors.  If we actually do 
> build out our infrastructure in the way you suggest then the Foundation 
> will have a great deal of power.

Which any power the foundation has will be put to use for good purposes
not evil.

> Much of your argument has been around what happens if some random 
> sponsor pulls the plug.

This almost happened FYI, but not because of anything to do with Gentoo.
Understand that. I am not making up hypothetical situations to get
people riled up.

>   Right now that means we have to scramble to get 
> some portion of gentoo running elsewhere.  Now, the counterargument is 
> what happens if there is some major rift and the Foundation decides to 
> force some distasteful change?

Um, no that is your counter argument. Nothing like that is even being
proposed. However if you feel there is room for issues there. Clarify
duties and power of each in bylaws. End of issue.

>   Now every asset of any kind needed by 
> Gentoo - including the name - is gone and basically the devs need to go 
> elsewhere and start over.

You should sell insurance, this is craziness.

> I think that the Foundation is best kept as a simple organization that 
> meets a legal requirement and which is accountable to the same devs as 
> the council.

Yes, because when their are voids the project. The council does so well
to see they are filled or addressed. There are many things the council
could take a stance on. But does not and dumps else where or doesn't
address at all. That said there are many things the council does very
well.

>   In an ideal world I'd actually prefer that the Council and 
> Foundation be the same body, but I don't think this is practical as it 
> would require the Council to meet many legal standards in its various 
> actions that are likely to cause delays in decision-making, and finding 
> good volunteers to fill both roles might be difficult.

A unified single foundation/body is sort of what I am proposing. Better
organization for the one Gentoo. Not a two headed snake. But two groups
with different agendas, duties, missions, powers, etc. Doing their
thing, bug together in a more unified fashion.

> 
> Isn't this last bit the whole point of this discussion? It is really 
> easy for me as somebody who doesn't do much on the Foundation to nitpick 
> things you are doing.  You resent this, because my opinions aren't 
> backed up by willingness to back up words with help.

How would you feel if all this was a discussion about a package you
maintain?

>   And yet, your 
> proposal is to have Gentoo controlled primarily by users who are in this 
> exact situation.

Via voting. Which requires a majority to enact anything.

>   Do you think that developers are going to appreciate 
> having to deal with a foundation that is happy to make demands and throw 
> money at problems, but not to actually do the work?

Who is saying anything about the foundation demanding anything? It would
ask, request, or suggest at best.

>   Most of us have day 
> jobs involving this kind of attitude - I suspect that many contribute to 
> Gentoo precisely because it DOESN'T work this way.

No one is looking to change that aspect. To much paranoia, not enough
faith in the fellow Gentoo developer/user. Doesn't speak to highly of
our community as a whole.

> I really do want to do whatever I can to help make the Foundation run 
> smoothly and not be a burden to those running it.  That is why I 
> advocate having the Foundation keep to the very basics.  It should hold 
> trademark and tangible assets since we need some legal body to do this. 

The foundation has been a failure. No one in interested in that stuff.
Thus we went from 13, down to 5, and no election in 07.

>   If all it does is hold an election and annual meeting and file 
> paperwork once a year I think it will have accomplished much of its 
> purpose.  If the Foundation can do more that is great, but it shouldn't 
> become the rudder for the distro.

Again, the foundation was created and established for things other than
what it has become. 

> The Foundation must remain accountable to developers.

Who are foundation members by default, entitled to vote or have their
say on any foundational matters.

>   Anything else is 
> reasonably likely to lead to a long-term schism.  Yes, I am sympathetic 
> to the fact that not many devs want to step up and help with the 
> Foundation.

That is a major problem year after year.

>   However, that can't be allowed to give the Foundation the 
> power to set off in a different direction contrary to the will of most 
> developers (which granted, hasn't really been measured).

Yes, so let's assume we know what the collective will is without
polling.

>   The solution 
> to many of Gentoo's problems is to get devs to listen more to the needs 
> of their users - because it is the right thing to do.

Ok, and how is that being addressed? It's one thing to identify a
problem, it's quite another to propose solutions.

>   Twisting arms is 
> more likely to cause resentment than solve problems - as least in most 
> cases.

Again taking things to extremes, negative rather than positive.

-- 
William L. Thomson Jr.
amd64/Java/Trustees
Gentoo Foundation

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Replies:
Re: Foundation existence and behavior (Was: Section 4.1 Member Classes)
-- Roy Bamford
References:
Section 4.1 Member Classes
-- William L. Thomson Jr.
Re: Section 4.1 Member Classes
-- Richard Freeman
Re: Section 4.1 Member Classes
-- William L. Thomson Jr.
Foundation existence and behavior (Was: Section 4.1 Member Classes)
-- Luca Barbato
Re: Foundation existence and behavior (Was: Section 4.1 Member Classes)
-- William L. Thomson Jr.
Re: Foundation existence and behavior (Was: Section 4.1 Member Classes)
-- Richard Freeman
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