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Re: A summary of some open discussions

From: Alfred M. Szmidt
Subject: Re: A summary of some open discussions
Date: 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[1] about GNU governance issues as
      described in this LWN article: Rethinking the governance of the
      GNU Project[2]. 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[5]. 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
      arenât 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[6] 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

    GNU membership

      The mentoring and apprenticeship discussion focused on the GNU
      maintainers as being the core of the GNU project. But as was
      pointed out[7] 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 [[10] it is much more complex than that. As you
      expect there is a people[11] section and a software[12] 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[13]. The FSF now has a long list[14] of programs besides GNU
      it runs. But things like the Free Software License List[15], Free
      Software Definition[16] and Free System Distribution Guidelines[17] are
      still maintained on 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[21],[22],[23],[24] and for GNU projects to
      publish their work and coordinate development. But this
      infrastructure doesn't currently scale and several GNU projects have
      to maintain[25] 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
such features.  

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
Savannah hackers?  

    GNU Social Contract

      All the above discussions will be easier if we could agree on some
      guidelines that everybody[29] 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[30] based on the idea of the Debian Social
      Contract. And after some discussion[31], Andreas posted a preliminary
      version of the GNU Social Contract[32] 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
to prohibit.

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
the GAC.  

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