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Re: What is governance and to whom would it extend to in the GNU Project

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: What is governance and to whom would it extend to in the GNU Project?
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2019 23:22:53 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.3 (gnu/linux)

Hi Carlos,

"Carlos O'Donell" <> skribis:

> A governance model would apply to all of the people who are part of
> the GNU Project, and so discussing these two points makes sense to me.
> I look forward to any feedback about this.

Not surprisingly, I agree that GNU could benefit from a better defined
governance and from a better distribution of responsibilities among
people.  So thanks for starting this discussion!

> Next, who is a part of the GNU Project?
> It's fairly straight forward to say the following people are part of
> the GNU Project:
> * GNU Maintainers (as seen in the 'maintainers' file).
> This is a narrow view though and leaves out a lot of really important people:
> * People working on advocacy and policy.
> * Developers working on GNU packages (bug submission, triage, wiki
> gardening etc.)
> * Anyone supporting the GNU Project directly with non-developer roles.
>   * IT admins, project management, release managers, package review,
> mentoring/coaching.
> ... basically anyone involved in the day-to-day running of the GNU Project.
> Governance should extend to all of the people in the community via the
> defined roles and responsibilities.

I suppose “who is part of GNU” is going to be the first question we’ll
have to answer in a more formal way than is currently the case.  It’s a
precondition to distributing responsibilities while ensuring that the
project’s values and mission are upheld.

In that sense, it is connected to the idea of a “social contract” Mark
mentioned: if maintainers commit to some form of a social contract,
stating that they commit to furthering the project’s mission and
defending its values, then they’re very much part of the project.  In
turn, they could be entrusted with specific responsibilities within the
project, in addition to that of being a package maintainer.

But like you write, GNU is made by many more people than just
maintainers, and others should legitimately be included.  So developers,
admins, etc. could also sign the “contract” as a way of formalizing
their relation with the project.



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