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12 <title>GLEP 39 -- An "old-school" metastructure proposal with "boot for being a slacker"</title>
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31 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">GLEP:</th><td class="field-body">39</td>
32 </tr>
33 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">Title:</th><td class="field-body">An &quot;old-school&quot; metastructure proposal with &quot;boot for being a slacker&quot;</td>
34 </tr>
35 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">Version:</th><td class="field-body">1.3</td>
36 </tr>
37 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">Last-Modified:</th><td class="field-body"><a class="reference" href="http://www.gentoo.org/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/xml/htdocs/proj/en/glep/glep-0039.txt?cvsroot=gentoo">2007/10/12 02:08:27</a></td>
38 </tr>
39 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">Author:</th><td class="field-body">Grant Goodyear &lt;g2boojum&#32;&#97;t&#32;gentoo.org&gt;,
40 Ciaran McCreesh &lt;ciaranm&#32;&#97;t&#32;gentoo.org&gt;,</td>
41 </tr>
42 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">Status:</th><td class="field-body">Accepted</td>
43 </tr>
44 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">Type:</th><td class="field-body">Informational</td>
45 </tr>
46 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">Content-Type:</th><td class="field-body"><a class="reference" href="glep-0002.html">text/x-rst</a></td>
47 </tr>
48 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">Created:</th><td class="field-body">01-Sep-2005</td>
49 </tr>
50 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">Post-History:</th><td class="field-body">01-Sep-2005, 09-Feb-2006, 12-Oct-2007</td>
51 </tr>
52 </tbody>
53 </table>
54 <hr />
55 <div class="contents topic">
56 <p class="topic-title first"><a id="contents" name="contents">Contents</a></p>
57 <ul class="simple">
58 <li><a class="reference" href="#status" id="id2" name="id2">Status</a></li>
59 <li><a class="reference" href="#abstract" id="id3" name="id3">Abstract</a></li>
60 <li><a class="reference" href="#motivation" id="id4" name="id4">Motivation</a></li>
61 <li><a class="reference" href="#specification" id="id5" name="id5">Specification</a></li>
62 <li><a class="reference" href="#rationale" id="id6" name="id6">Rationale</a></li>
63 <li><a class="reference" href="#copyright" id="id7" name="id7">Copyright</a></li>
64 </ul>
65 </div>
66 <div class="section">
67 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id2" id="status" name="status">Status</a></h1>
68 <p>Implemented. GLEP amended on 09 Feb 2006 to add the final bullet point to
69 list B in <a class="reference" href="#specification">Specification</a>.</p>
70 </div>
71 <div class="section">
72 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id3" id="abstract" name="abstract">Abstract</a></h1>
73 <p>GLEP 4 is replaced with a new &quot;metastructure&quot; that retains established
74 projects (and makes new projects easier to create), but adds a new &quot;Gentoo
75 Council&quot; to handle global (cross-project) issues.</p>
76 </div>
77 <div class="section">
78 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id4" id="motivation" name="motivation">Motivation</a></h1>
79 <p>The Fosdem and subsequent reform proposals shepherded by Koon are thorough,
80 extremely detailed, and somewhat complicated. They have a lot of good ideas.
81 For many who have been with Gentoo a long time, though, there's just something
82 about them that they don't really like. More than a few Gentoo devs are
83 almost entirely uninterested in metastructure as long as it doesn't get in
84 their way, and because the current proposals impose at least some order on our
85 unruly devs these proposals are guaranteed to &quot;get in the way&quot; to some degree.
86 For example, a frequent comment that has been heard is that many Gentoo devs
87 don't know who his/her manager (or project lead) is, which is a clear
88 indication that our current system is broken. The existing proposals solve
89 the problem by requiring that each dev belong to a project. Perhaps the part
90 that is broken, though, is the belief that every dev should have a manager.
91 The history of Gentoo is such that traditionally big advances have often been
92 implemented by a single or a small number of dedicated devs (thus our
93 long-standing tradition that devs have access to the entire tree), and surely
94 we do not want to make things harder (or less fun) for such people. So here's
95 a minimal proposal for those who remembers the &quot;good ol' days&quot; and thinks
96 things aren't really so different now.</p>
97 <p>Synopsis of the current system:</p>
98 <blockquote>
99 <ul class="simple">
100 <li>There are 13-15 top-level projects (TLPs). Top-level projects are
101 comprised of sub-projects, and the goal was that every Gentoo
102 project would be a sub-project of one of the TLPs. Supposedly each
103 dev therefore belongs to one or more TLPs.</li>
104 <li>Each TLP has at least a &quot;strategic&quot; manager, and potentially also an
105 &quot;operational&quot; manager. Only the strategic managers vote on global
106 Gentoo issues.</li>
107 <li>The managers of each TLP were appointed by drobbins, the other
108 TLP managers, or elected by their project members. These managers
109 have no set term.</li>
110 <li>Within each TLP the managers are responsible for making decisions
111 about the project, defining clear goals, roadmaps, and timelines
112 for the project, and solving problems that arise within the TLP
113 (see GLEP 4 for the specific list).</li>
114 <li>The strategic TLP managers are also responsible for deciding issues that
115 affect Gentoo across project lines. The primary mechanism for
116 handling global-scope issues is the managers' meetings.</li>
117 <li>Disciplinary action taken against erring devs is handled by the
118 &quot;devrel&quot; TLP, unless the dev is a strategic TLP manager. In that
119 case disciplinary action must be enacted by the other strategic TLP
120 managers.</li>
121 </ul>
122 </blockquote>
123 <p>Problems with the existing system:</p>
124 <ol class="arabic simple">
125 <li>The assumption that TLPs are complete is either incorrect (there
126 still is no &quot;server&quot; TLP) or just plain weird (but the lack of a
127 server TLP is technically okay because all devs who don't have an
128 obvious TLP belong to the &quot;base&quot; TLP by default).</li>
129 <li>There is nothing at all to ensure that project leads actually do
130 represent the devs they supposedly lead or satisfy their
131 responsibilities. Indeed, should a TLP manager go AWOL it is not at
132 all obvious how the situation should be resolved.</li>
133 <li>Nothing is being decided at global scope right now. Some TLP strategic
134 managers rarely attend the managers' meetings, and the managers as a
135 whole certainly are not providing any sort of global vision for
136 Gentoo right now.</li>
137 <li>Even if the strategic TLP managers were making global decisions for
138 Gentoo, the TLP structure is such that almost all devs fall under
139 only one or two TLPs. Thus voting on global issues is hardly
140 proportional, and thus many devs feel disenfranchised.</li>
141 <li>Regardless of whether or not it is justified, devrel is loathed by
142 many in its enforcement role.</li>
143 </ol>
144 <p>Here's a couple of additional problems identified by the current
145 metastructure reform proposals:</p>
146 <ol class="arabic simple" start="6">
147 <li>The current system has no mechanism for identifying either projects
148 or devs that have gone inactive.</li>
149 <li>Bugs that cut across projects often remain unresolved.</li>
150 <li>GLEPs often linger in an undetermined state.</li>
151 </ol>
152 </div>
153 <div class="section">
154 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id5" id="specification" name="specification">Specification</a></h1>
155 <ol class="upperalpha">
156 <li><p class="first">A project is a group of developers working towards a goal (or a set
157 of goals).</p>
158 <blockquote>
159 <ul class="simple">
160 <li>A project exists if it has a web page at
161 www.g.o/proj/en/whatever that is maintained. (&quot;Maintained&quot; means
162 that the information on the page is factually correct and not
163 out-of-date.) If the webpage isn't maintained, it is presumed dead.</li>
164 <li>It may have one or many leads, and the leads are
165 selected by the members of the project. This selection must
166 occur at least once every 12 months, and may occur at any
167 time.</li>
168 <li>It may have zero or more sub-projects. Sub-projects are
169 just projects that provide some additional structure, and their
170 web pages are in the project's space.</li>
171 <li>Not everything (or everyone) needs a project.</li>
172 <li>Projects need not be long-term.</li>
173 <li>Projects may well conflict with other projects. That's okay.</li>
174 <li>Any dev may create a new project just by creating a new page
175 (or, more realistically, directory and page) in
176 <tt class="docutils literal"><span class="pre">gentoo/xml/htdocs/proj/en</span></tt> and sending a Request For Comments
177 (RFC) e-mail to gentoo-dev. Note that this GLEP does not provide for
178 a way for the community at large to block a new project, even if the
179 comments are wholly negative.</li>
180 </ul>
181 </blockquote>
182 </li>
183 <li><p class="first">Global issues will be decided by an elected Gentoo council.</p>
184 <blockquote>
185 <ul class="simple">
186 <li>There will be a set number of council members. (For the
187 first election that number was set to 7 by acclamation.)</li>
188 <li>Council members will be chosen by a general election of all
189 devs once per year.</li>
190 <li>The council must hold an open meeting at least once per month.</li>
191 <li>Council decisions are by majority vote of those who show up (or
192 their proxies).</li>
193 <li>If a council member (or their appointed proxy) fails to show up for
194 two consecutive meetings, they are marked as a slacker.</li>
195 <li>If a council member who has been marked a slacker misses any further
196 meeting (or their appointed proxy doesn't show up), they lose their
197 position and a new election is held to replace that person. The newly
198 elected council member gets a 'reduced' term so that the yearly
199 elections still elect a full group.</li>
200 <li>Council members who have previously been booted for excessive slacking
201 may stand for future elections, including the election for their
202 replacement. They should, however, justify their slackerness, and
203 should expect to have it pointed out if they don't do so themselves.</li>
204 <li>The 'slacker' marker is reset when a member is elected.</li>
205 <li>If any meeting has less than 50% attendance by council members, a new
206 election for <em>all</em> places must be held within a month. The 'one year'
207 is then reset from that point.</li>
208 <li>Disciplinary actions may be appealed to the council.</li>
209 <li>A proxy must not be an existing council member, and any single person
210 may not be a proxy for more than one council member at any given
211 meeting.</li>
212 </ul>
213 </blockquote>
214 </li>
215 </ol>
216 </div>
217 <div class="section">
218 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id6" id="rationale" name="rationale">Rationale</a></h1>
219 <p>So, does this proposal solve any of the previously-mentioned problems?</p>
220 <p>1. There is no longer any requirement that the project structure be
221 complete. Some devs work on very specific parts of the tree, while
222 some work on practically everything; neither should be shoehorned into
223 an ad-hoc project structure. Moreover, it should be easy to create new
224 projects where needed (and remove them when they are not), which this
225 proposal should enable.</p>
226 <p>2. By having the members choose their project leads periodically, the
227 project leads are necessarily at least somewhat responsible (and hopefully
228 responsive) to the project members. This proposal has removed the list of
229 responsibilities that project leads were supposed to satisfy, since hardly
230 anybody has ever looked at the original list since it was written. Instead
231 the practical responsibility of a lead is &quot;whatever the members require&quot;, and
232 if that isn't satisfied, the members can get a new lead (if they can find
233 somebody to take the job!).</p>
234 <p>3. If the council does a lousy job handling global issues (or has no
235 global vision), vote out the bums.</p>
236 <p>4. Since everybody gets to vote for the council members, at least in
237 principle the council members represent all developers, not just a
238 particular subset.</p>
239 <p>5. An appeal process should make disciplinary enforcement both less
240 capricious and more palatable.</p>
241 <p>6. This proposal doesn't help find inactive devs or projects. It
242 really should not be that much of a problem. We already have a script for
243 identifying devs who haven't made a CVS commit within a certain period of
244 time. As for moribund projects, if the project page isn't maintained, it's
245 dead, and we should remove it. That, too, could be automated. A much bigger
246 problem is understaffed herds, but more organization is not necessarily a
247 solution.</p>
248 <p>7. The metabug project is a great idea. Let's do that! Adding a useful
249 project shouldn't require &quot;metastructure reform&quot;, although with the
250 current system it does. With this proposal it wouldn't.</p>
251 <ol class="arabic simple" start="8">
252 <li>This proposal has nothing to say about GLEPs.</li>
253 </ol>
254 </div>
255 <div class="section">
256 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id7" id="copyright" name="copyright">Copyright</a></h1>
257 <p>This document has been placed in the public domain.</p>
258 </div>
259
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