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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">1.1</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/xml/htdocs/proj/en/glep/glep-0039.txt?cvsroot=gentoo">2005/09/01 16:31:57</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="http://www.python.org/peps/glep-0012.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</td>
51 </tr>
52 </tbody>
53 </table>
54 <hr />
55 <div class="contents topic" id="contents">
56 <p class="topic-title first"><a name="contents">Contents</a></p>
57 <ul class="simple">
58 <li><a class="reference" href="#abstract" id="id2" name="id2">Abstract</a></li>
59 <li><a class="reference" href="#motivation" id="id3" name="id3">Motivation</a></li>
60 <li><a class="reference" href="#specification" id="id4" name="id4">Specification</a></li>
61 <li><a class="reference" href="#rationale" id="id5" name="id5">Rationale</a></li>
62 <li><a class="reference" href="#copyright" id="id6" name="id6">Copyright</a></li>
63 </ul>
64 </div>
65 <div class="section" id="abstract">
66 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id2" name="abstract">Abstract</a></h1>
67 <p>GLEP 4 is replaced with a new &quot;metastructure&quot; that retains established
68 projects (and makes new projects easier to create), but adds a new &quot;Gentoo
69 Council&quot; to handle global (cross-project) issues.</p>
70 </div>
71 <div class="section" id="motivation">
72 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id3" name="motivation">Motivation</a></h1>
73 <p>The Fosdem and subsequent reform proposals shepherded by Koon are thorough,
74 extremely detailed, and somewhat complicated. They have a lot of good ideas.
75 For many who have been with Gentoo a long time, though, there's just something
76 about them that they don't really like. More than a few Gentoo devs are
77 almost entirely uninterested in metastructure as long as it doesn't get in
78 their way, and because the current proposals impose at least some order on our
79 unruly devs these proposals are guaranteed to &quot;get in the way&quot; to some degree.
80 For example, a frequent comment that has been heard is that many Gentoo devs
81 don't know who his/her manager (or project lead) is, which is a clear
82 indication that our current system is broken. The existing proposals solve
83 the problem by requiring that each dev belong to a project. Perhaps the part
84 that is broken, though, is the belief that every dev should have a manager.
85 The history of Gentoo is such that traditionally big advances have often been
86 implemented by a single or a small number of dedicated devs (thus our
87 long-standing tradition that devs have access to the entire tree), and surely
88 we do not want to make things harder (or less fun) for such people. So here's
89 a minimal proposal for those who remembers the &quot;good ol' days&quot; and thinks
90 things aren't really so different now.</p>
91 <p>Synopsis of the current system:</p>
92 <blockquote>
93 <ul class="simple">
94 <li>There are 13-15 top-level projects (TLPs). Top-level projects are
95 comprised of sub-projects, and the goal was that every Gentoo
96 project would be a sub-project of one of the TLPs. Supposedly each
97 dev therefore belongs to one or more TLPs.</li>
98 <li>Each TLP has at least a &quot;strategic&quot; manager, and potentially also an
99 &quot;operational&quot; manager. Only the strategic managers vote on global
100 Gentoo issues.</li>
101 <li>The managers of each TLP were appointed by drobbins, the other
102 TLP managers, or elected by their project members. These managers
103 have no set term.</li>
104 <li>Within each TLP the managers are responsible for making decisions
105 about the project, defining clear goals, roadmaps, and timelines
106 for the project, and solving problems that arise within the TLP
107 (see GLEP 4 for the specific list).</li>
108 <li>The strategic TLP managers are also responsible for deciding issues that
109 affect Gentoo across project lines. The primary mechanism for
110 handling global-scope issues is the managers' meetings.</li>
111 <li>Disciplinary action taken against erring devs is handled by the
112 &quot;devrel&quot; TLP, unless the dev is a strategic TLP manager. In that
113 case disciplinary action must be enacted by the other strategic TLP
114 managers.</li>
115 </ul>
116 </blockquote>
117 <p>Problems with the existing system:</p>
118 <ol class="arabic simple">
119 <li>The assumption that TLPs are complete is either incorrect (there
120 still is no &quot;server&quot; TLP) or just plain weird (but the lack of a
121 server TLP is technically okay because all devs who don't have an
122 obvious TLP belong to the &quot;base&quot; TLP by default).</li>
123 <li>There is nothing at all to ensure that project leads actually do
124 represent the devs they supposedly lead or satisfy their
125 responsibilities. Indeed, should a TLP manager go AWOL it is not at
126 all obvious how the situation should be resolved.</li>
127 <li>Nothing is being decided at global scope right now. Some TLP strategic
128 managers rarely attend the managers' meetings, and the managers as a
129 whole certainly are not providing any sort of global vision for
130 Gentoo right now.</li>
131 <li>Even if the strategic TLP managers were making global decisions for
132 Gentoo, the TLP structure is such that almost all devs fall under
133 only one or two TLPs. Thus voting on global issues is hardly
134 proportional, and thus many devs feel disenfranchised.</li>
135 <li>Regardless of whether or not it is justified, devrel is loathed by
136 many in its enforcement role.</li>
137 </ol>
138 <p>Here's a couple of additional problems identified by the current
139 metastructure reform proposals:</p>
140 <ol class="arabic simple" start="6">
141 <li>The current system has no mechanism for identifying either projects
142 or devs that have gone inactive.</li>
143 <li>Bugs that cut across projects often remain unresolved.</li>
144 <li>GLEPs often linger in an undetermined state.</li>
145 </ol>
146 </div>
147 <div class="section" id="specification">
148 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id4" name="specification">Specification</a></h1>
149 <ol class="upperalpha">
150 <li><p class="first">A project is a group of developers working towards a goal (or a set
151 of goals).</p>
152 <blockquote>
153 <ul class="simple">
154 <li>A project exists if it has a web page at
155 www.g.o/proj/en/whatever that is maintained. (&quot;Maintained&quot; means
156 that the information on the page is factually correct and not
157 out-of-date.) If the webpage isn't maintained, it is presumed dead.</li>
158 <li>It may have one or many leads, and the leads are
159 selected by the members of the project. This selection must
160 occur at least once every 12 months, and may occur at any
161 time.</li>
162 <li>It may have zero or more sub-projects. Sub-projects are
163 just projects that provide some additional structure, and their
164 web pages are in the project's space.</li>
165 <li>Not everything (or everyone) needs a project.</li>
166 <li>Projects need not be long-term.</li>
167 <li>Projects may well conflict with other projects. That's okay.</li>
168 <li>Any dev may create a new project just by creating a new page
169 (or, more realistically, directory and page) in
170 <tt class="docutils literal"><span class="pre">gentoo/xml/htdocs/proj/en</span></tt>.</li>
171 </ul>
172 </blockquote>
173 </li>
174 <li><p class="first">Global issues will be decided by an elected Gentoo council.</p>
175 <blockquote>
176 <ul class="simple">
177 <li>There will be a set number of council members. (For the
178 first election that number was set to 7 by acclamation.)</li>
179 <li>Council members will be chosen by a general election of all
180 devs once per year.</li>
181 <li>The council must hold an open meeting at least once per month.</li>
182 <li>Council decisions are by majority vote of those who show up (or
183 their proxies).</li>
184 <li>If a council member (or their appointed proxy) fails to show up for
185 two consecutive meetings, they are marked as a slacker.</li>
186 <li>If a council member who has been marked a slacker misses any further
187 meeting (or their appointed proxy doesn't show up), they lose their
188 position and a new election is held to replace that person. The newly
189 elected council member gets a 'reduced' term so that the yearly
190 elections still elect a full group.</li>
191 <li>Council members who have previously been booted for excessive slacking
192 may stand for future elections, including the election for their
193 replacement. They should, however, justify their slackerness, and
194 should expect to have it pointed out if they don't do so themselves.</li>
195 <li>The 'slacker' marker is reset when a member is elected.</li>
196 <li>If any meeting has less than 50% attendance by council members, a new
197 election for <em>all</em> places must be held within a month. The 'one year'
198 is then reset from that point.</li>
199 <li>Disciplinary actions may be appealed to the council.</li>
200 </ul>
201 </blockquote>
202 </li>
203 </ol>
204 </div>
205 <div class="section" id="rationale">
206 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id5" name="rationale">Rationale</a></h1>
207 <p>So, does this proposal solve any of the previously-mentioned problems?</p>
208 <p>1. There is no longer any requirement that the project structure be
209 complete. Some devs work on very specific parts of the tree, while
210 some work on practically everything; neither should be shoehorned into
211 an ad-hoc project structure. Moreover, it should be easy to create new
212 projects where needed (and remove them when they are not), which this
213 proposal should enable.</p>
214 <p>2. By having the members choose their project leads periodically, the
215 project leads are necessarily at least somewhat responsible (and hopefully
216 responsive) to the project members. This proposal has removed the list of
217 responsibilities that project leads were supposed to satisfy, since hardly
218 anybody has ever looked at the original list since it was written. Instead
219 the practical responsibility of a lead is &quot;whatever the members require&quot;, and
220 if that isn't satisfied, the members can get a new lead (if they can find
221 somebody to take the job!).</p>
222 <p>3. If the council does a lousy job handling global issues (or has no
223 global vision), vote out the bums.</p>
224 <p>4. Since everybody gets to vote for the council members, at least in
225 principle the council members represent all developers, not just a
226 particular subset.</p>
227 <p>5. An appeal process should make disciplinary enforcement both less
228 capricious and more palatable.</p>
229 <p>6. This proposal doesn't help find inactive devs or projects. It
230 really should not be that much of a problem. We already have a script for
231 identifying devs who haven't made a CVS commit within a certain period of
232 time. As for moribund projects, if the project page isn't maintained, it's
233 dead, and we should remove it. That, too, could be automated. A much bigger
234 problem is understaffed herds, but more organization is not necessarily a
235 solution.</p>
236 <p>7. The metabug project is a great idea. Let's do that! Adding a useful
237 project shouldn't require &quot;metastructure reform&quot;, although with the
238 current system it does. With this proposal it wouldn't.</p>
239 <ol class="arabic simple" start="8">
240 <li>This proposal has nothing to say about GLEPs.</li>
241 </ol>
242 </div>
243 <div class="section" id="copyright">
244 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id6" name="copyright">Copyright</a></h1>
245 <p>This document has been placed in the public domain.</p>
246 </div>
248 </div>
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