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To: gentoo-project@g.o
From: Richard Freeman <rich0@g.o>
Subject: Re: [GLEP 39 overhaul] Do we want to make changes to the role of the council?
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 17:22:24 -0400
On 04/20/2010 02:21 PM, Roy Bamford wrote:
> Thats an interesting concept that I only partly agree with. There is
> one Gentoo. True. The Council heads it up *techncially*. That's
> fairly important. If the council makes a bad decision on behalf of
> Gentoo, its the Foundation that gets sued and ultimately, the trustees
> who go to jail as they have legal responsibility for Gentoo.

I understand what you're getting at.

However, how do you draw the line?

It seems to me that the legal reality is that there is a Gentoo linux 
distribution, which the Foundation graciously allows to use the name 
"Gentoo", which tends to have overlapping membership, but which is 
otherwise fairly independent.

Honestly, in most organizations there would simply be one board of 
directors for the whole thing and that is that.  This board would be the 
final appeal for any matter whether legal, business, technical, human 
resources, etc.  Now, typically the board appoints people to oversee 
these things on a day-to-day basis.  If there are multiple boards there 
is clear delineation of responsibility and authority, and often a 
subordinate relationship.

In any case, my post wasn't really intended to speak to conflicts 
between the trustees and the council.  I was thinking more about 
conflicts between project leads, random developers, etc, and the council.

The trustees and the Gentoo Foundation don't answer to the council. 
However, just about all other aspects of the Gentoo distribution do.  If 
there is not consensus on this then we should make explicit which body 
controls what - EVERYTHING in Gentoo should be subordinate to one of 
these two bodies, and we should expect the appropriate body to deal with 
messes that arise in their domain.

The main reason I wanted to try to make this explicit is that it seems 
like I've seen numerous threads where people essentially argue that the 
council doesn't have the right to decide this or that.  Now, I can see 
the legitimacy of this regarding GLEP 39 since the council does need to 
answer to the dev body as a whole.  However, I don't like the idea that 
the council is somehow limited in how it gets involved with day-to-day 
distribution matters because it is supposed to be a high and lofty body 
that only gets to vote on very specific matters.  Sure, as a practical 
matter it makes more sense for the council to be an appeals court than a 
first-line court, but to go from that to saying that the council can't 
take action until after devrel does, or that the devrel lead can't be on 
the council, or whatever just doesn't make sense to me.  The council 
should try to stay above the fray, but if it needs to step in and get 
its hands dirty they have that authority.  We elect them because we 
think they'll have the discretion to do the right thing.

I also am not a big fan of the whole 
can't-be-on-council-and-trustees-at-same-time bit either, but that is a 
different issue.

I like what you said about being proactive.  I don't see the sole 
purpose of the Council to be voting on GLEPs.  They are the leaders of 
Gentoo, so they should lead.  Of course, being a volunteer organization 
there will be limits to what they can do in this regard.


References:
Re: [GLEP 39 overhaul] Do we want to make changes to the role of the council?
-- Roy Bamford
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Updated Jul 05, 2012

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