Gentoo Archives: gentoo-council

From: Andrew D Kirch <trelane@×××××××.net>
To: Denis Dupeyron <calchan@g.o>
Cc: gentoo-council@l.g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-council] Amending GLEP39
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 2009 02:17:23
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-council] Amending GLEP39 by Denis Dupeyron
While I am not a council member or a gentoo dev, I am a student of
history, and to that extent, I
would like to offer the following thoughts.

Denis Dupeyron wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 5:33 PM, Ferris McCormick<fmccor@g.o> wrote: > >> So it is conceivable that if council were to replace GLEP39, they would >> be working against the explicit wishes of the community. >> > > The council is elected by the developer community to serve the > community's best interest. The developers chose the members they > wanted and could reject those they did not want. The way I understand > that is that all those who finished above the _reopen_nominations > level are to be considered trusted by a majority of the community. > Thus, your assumption that the council could be working against the > wishes of the community is equivalent to not trusting them, and in my > opinion should not be thrown into the equation. >
>> that is really a >> question for Grant (g2boojum) and Ciaran (ciaranm). That would be >> primarily Grant, I think, because I asked ciaranm something about >> GLEP39 once, and as I recall, he told me that Grant was the primary >> author. >>
My strong dislike for Ciaran is well known, however I have to agree here to some extent. I believe GLEP-39 was poorly written for the most part, and has resulted in, during the few years since, several "constitutional crises" of sorts. Guiding principles must be preserved from any foundational document (Magna Carta, Federalist Papers, Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and more modern, the Communist Manifesto, Mein Kempf (sp?), the UN Charter, the EU Charter, and other such documents. GLEP 39, whether we like it or not is a foundation document for the council.
> 1- Yes, we can modify GLEP39. Gentoo is our project and we can make it > what we want. The only unknown is who and how. >
I agree here, insomuch as GLEP39 is a GLEP and falls now under the purview of the council.
> 2- GLEP39 was initially voted by all developers and is significant > enough that changes to it shouldn't be treated as lightly as any other > council decision. >
I concur here in scope as noted above, but would emphasize that we tread carefully.
> 3- The council members should be trusted by default and their smaller > number (compared to the whole developer community) enables a smoother > and faster decision process. >
No governing body should ever be trusted by default. You are trusted with a position on council, for this term, and if you abuse that trust, you may be gone next term.
> 4- There is no way we will agree on how significant every change will > be, so we have to consider them all the same. > > So what I would propose is that a unanimous decision from all 7 > council members on each change warrants them to amend GLEP39.
While this sounds like a good idea, it has never ended well historically. The Romans tried two triumvirates (which required the unanimous assent of 3 separate rulers), both ended in civil war and resulted in dictatorship and the end of the Roman Republic. It was tried by the French after the French Civil War, and likewise failed. I would suggest a 5/7 supermajority instead and require that all 7 council members be present to meet quorum for such a vote. The problem here however is that GLEP-39 is a GLEP and should therefore be governed by the rules surrounding a GLEP. This would therefore mean a simple majority should be able to override the document as with any other GLEP. I think my final suggestion would be that rather than amending GLEP 39, it should be replaced by a new foundation document which was not hastily constructed, which, while not being GLEP 39 still contains the guiding principals of the original document. There is no present, nor future, merely the past repeating itself over and over again -- Andrew D Kirch