Gentoo Archives: gentoo-project

From: Donnie Berkholz <dberkholz@g.o>
To: Roy Bamford <neddyseagoon@g.o>
Cc: gentoo-project@l.g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-project] Gentoo Council Nominations for 2011 to 2012
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2011 04:16:50
Message-Id: 20110627041602.GA22047@comet
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-project] Gentoo Council Nominations for 2011 to 2012 by Donnie Berkholz
On 07:48 Fri 10 Jun     , Donnie Berkholz wrote:
> I served on the council for two terms from 2007-2009. I'd welcome the > opportunity to provide the perspective of someone who has a long history > with Gentoo and a deep understanding of our philosophy and culture (I > joined in 2003 — wow, that's 8 years!). I plan on sending more detail > later, but my interests as a council member include:
As promised, here's more info on who I am, why I'm running, how I see the council, and how I see Gentoo. For anyone newer, I'd like to first introduce myself and my history with Gentoo. Over the past 8 years, I've spent time doing pretty much everything in Gentoo, from maintaining ebuilds to writing documentation and leading teams and projects. I've been a recruiter in devrel, served as desktop manager (back when we had top-level project managers, before GLEP 39), and later chaired the council. I also started the clustering team, led X11 maintenance for about 5 years (when I designed the modular X eclass and wrote all 400+ new modular packages as we transitioned from the old XFree86), spent a term as a foundation trustee, and acted as project manager for our ever-controversial GUI installer. One of my primary roles at the moment is running our participation in the Google Summer of Code, one of our major sources of both income and new developers. Since I took over 3 years ago, we've more than doubled the size of our program (we have 15 students this year!) and greatly increased the proportion of students who eventually become Gentoo devs to roughly 67%. At this point, I'm convinced I can make the biggest difference to Gentoo in two ways: focusing on specific projects like the git transition and improved eclass testing rather than ebuild maintenance (which we have tons of people doing), and leading Gentoo to greatness as a council member, where I'm in the best position to accomplish that goal. On my last two terms as a council member, I was extremely active in council-related issues both on mailing lists and at meetings, rather than just showing up at meetings to vote and then disappearing into the sunset. I strongly believe that through preparation and accountability, we can have a more productive council, but this requires a true commitment on the part of every member.
> - creating a great community,
I see this as an area where the council can set direction for all of Gentoo, both through the positive examples of its members and by taking a stand against anything we won't stand for in our community. The council should be providing guidance to devrel and userrel on what kinds of behaviors should be encouraged and what kinds shouldn't be tolerated. Additionally, we should begin collecting metrics on our community so we know where we're going. Many other projects (and even distributions) do this already, to give them clues of when things are going wrong, what things are going right, etc.
> - making progress now instead of waiting years for perfection,
There's a lot of ongoing projects and GLEPs that have been dragging on for years because people want a "perfect" solution. One personal example is the git transition, where I've already made this mistake in spending quite a bit of time trying to get a perfect repository layout working when we could have just done a simple conversion of the whole tree and put it in one repo (the current plan, with some changes). GLEP 55 is another one. There are some times when any decision is better than no decision.
> - removing bureaucracy in favor of more agile development & meritocracy,
We all know that GLEP 39 needs some changes. I think that most devs just want to Get Stuff Done without fighting with policies, waiting around forever for votes, not getting majorities without any clear direction, and so forth. I believe that our devs vote in the council because they want those people in charge and trust the council members to do what they think is right, including deciding on changes to GLEP 39 to improve how we run things. I favor a switch to a smaller group more along the lines of the Linux kernel, with a very small leadership core and more of a hierarchy than a huge committee. Along the same lines, I favor a switch to a more meritocratic approach such as the lead appointments we've been discussing recently. Gentoo isn't a country government that needs to provide for every sick and needy person in its geography; it's a nonprofit with specific goals it needs to accomplish and should be run as such. In general, companies, including nonprofits, don't have checks and balances or long, drawn-out votes. What they do have is a board of trustees at the top, which can replace the leadership when it deems necessary. Another major problem is the lack of continuity in our leadership, mainly because the whole group is re-elected en masse every year. At a minimum, even if we can't do the above changes, we should switch to a 2-year term and have half the council up for election each year so new councils can start out quickly.
> - promoting innovation from individual developers instead of expecting > it to all come from the top, and
As I mentioned above, one of my focuses now is working on interesting standalone projects. I hope that every developer does the same; in addition, or besides whatever you do every day (maintain ebuilds, write/translate docs, etc.), consider starting a new project that has a clear end in sight and that will help Gentoo get better. It doesn't have to be anything big; and the great thing about projects with a finite length is that you actually finish them at some point.
> - getting rid of policies that were created for a single incident, > because they should only exist for patterns of repeated problems.
I've elaborated on this elsewhere in this thread. -- Thanks, Donnie Donnie Berkholz Sr. Developer, Gentoo Linux Blog: http://dberkholz.com