[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: A summary of some open discussions
Alfred M. Szmidt
Re: A summary of some open discussions
Wed, 18 Dec 2019 05:22:36 -0500
It summarizes things as I see them personally. But maybe some
of this can be the start of discussion pages once we have a
collaborative wiki to work them out further.
It is not so open when you remove peoples posts to your blog. But
this is getting into kindergarden territory, seeing you are neither
willing to listen to reason, and spread intentional falsehoods. Here
is what I tried posting.
New GNU Governance
There is now a public discussion about GNU governance issues as
described in this LWN article: Rethinking the governance of the
GNU Project. We have had private discussion about GNU governance
issues for the last couple of decades between GNU maintainers, but
that never resulted in actual change.
This is simply untrue, things have happened in this time frame -- for
example the GAC.
Mentoring and apprenticeship
We started with a description of how various GNU projects handle
mentoring and apprenticeship. Once a GNU maintainer is assigned as
the FSF steward of a project/package there are lots of documents on
coding standards and what it means for a project to be GNU and Free
There is no such thing as a FSF steward, GNU maintainers are appointed
by RMS/GAC. The FSF has no say in the topic. You've keept
misrepresenting this over and over again.
But there is no core guideline and a GNU maintainer has
almost complete freedom interpreting whether any guidelines are or
arenÃ¢t applicable to their project. This results in GNU maintainers
reinventing a lot of project maintenance, governance and delegation
of tasks. It would be good to document the various (consensus
based) development models that are the result.
This is intentional, as has been explained numerous times over and
over again. The GNU project nor its individual projects are consensus
The mentoring and apprenticeship discussion focused on the GNU
maintainers as being the core of the GNU project. But as was
pointed out there are also webmasters, translators, infrastructure
maintainers (partially paid FSF staff and volunteers), education and
conference organizers, etc. All these people are GNU stakeholders.
And how we organize governance of the GNU project should also involve
them. There are also already some committees to evaluate new GNU
packages and give feedback on the GNU coding standards. But given
these committees are advisory only and are sometimes ignored or
overruled people have been demotivated to join them or don't see them
as legitimate. It isn't clear who is actually a GNU member, or
whether the FSF recognizes just the GNU maintainers or also other GNU
volunteers as stakeholders.
The FSF doesn't need to recognize anyone as any particular role, who
is or isn't a maintainer is decided by RMS/GAC. The FSF does not
maintain the GNU project, that is the responsibility of RMS. There is
no "GNU member" -- only GNU maintainers and contributors.
But looking at [gnu.org it is much more complex than that. As you
expect there is a people section and a software section. But
then there is a lot of sections that blur the lines between the FSF
and GNU. Most of that is simply historical. GNU used to be the only
program the FSF ran. And some of these pages now have their own on
fsf.org. The FSF now has a long list of programs besides GNU
it runs. But things like the Free Software License List, Free
Software Definition and Free System Distribution Guidelines are
still maintained on gnu.org. It would be good to agree on who defines
That would be for RMS to decide. Seeing he is the head of the GNU
project. Have you asked him?
The FSF manages a lot of resources for the GNU project. It holds the
trademark, it is entrusted with some of the copyrights, does
fundraising and uses the money for technical infrastructure that GNU
volunteers can use. Crucially it maintains the infrastructure for
www.gnu.org, lists.gnu.org, ftp.gnu.org,
savannah.gnu.org and fencepost.gnu.org for GNU projects to
publish their work and coordinate development. But this
infrastructure doesn't currently scale and several GNU projects have
to maintain their own infrastructure.
You've not backed this up with any factual data. Seeing how many
projects we are hosting, it seems to scale just fine. That some
projects use different infrastrcture, is due to the maintainers having
made such a decision and nothing else. They could have equally added
the missing features to Savannah, or helped the Savannah hackers add
The GNU project is a volunteer project, and complaining will not make
things happen. Did you try to address any of the issues with the
GNU Social Contract
All the above discussions will be easier if we could agree on some
guidelines that everybody would follow when acting on behalf of
GNU. A mission statement about what it means to be GNU and what the
values are that the GNU community respects when working together.
Condensed to something that is easy to comprehend and follow by
anybody who wishes to associate with GNU. Ludo posted a first
(annotated) draft based on the idea of the Debian Social
Contract. And after some discussion, Andreas posted a preliminary
version of the GNU Social Contract based on four core principles:
What it means to be a GNU maintainer is already described in the email
you get when you become apointed. It would be beyond unreasonable to
demand that contributors agree to anything other than technical
aspects related to contributing to the specific project. Anyone, and
everyone is welcome to contribute. Something you are activley trying
It should be noted that Mark et al do not represent the GNU project in
any shape or form, and asking for comments will fall on deaf ears. If
one wishes to influence the GNU project, one should talk to RMS and/or