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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">Replaced-By:</th><td class="field-body"><a class="reference" href="http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glepglep-0054.html">54</a></td>
51 </tr>
52 <tr class="field"><th class="field-name">Post-History:</th><td class="field-body">01-Sep-2005, 09-Feb-2006</td>
53 </tr>
54 </tbody>
55 </table>
56 <hr />
57 <div class="contents topic">
58 <p class="topic-title first"><a id="contents" name="contents">Contents</a></p>
59 <ul class="simple">
60 <li><a class="reference" href="#status" id="id2" name="id2">Status</a></li>
61 <li><a class="reference" href="#abstract" id="id3" name="id3">Abstract</a></li>
62 <li><a class="reference" href="#motivation" id="id4" name="id4">Motivation</a></li>
63 <li><a class="reference" href="#specification" id="id5" name="id5">Specification</a></li>
64 <li><a class="reference" href="#rationale" id="id6" name="id6">Rationale</a></li>
65 <li><a class="reference" href="#copyright" id="id7" name="id7">Copyright</a></li>
66 </ul>
67 </div>
68 <div class="section">
69 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id2" id="status" name="status">Status</a></h1>
70 <p>Implemented. GLEP amended on 09 Feb 2006 to add the final bullet point to
71 list B in <a class="reference" href="#specification">Specification</a>.</p>
72 </div>
73 <div class="section">
74 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id3" id="abstract" name="abstract">Abstract</a></h1>
75 <p>GLEP 4 is replaced with a new &quot;metastructure&quot; that retains established
76 projects (and makes new projects easier to create), but adds a new &quot;Gentoo
77 Council&quot; to handle global (cross-project) issues.</p>
78 </div>
79 <div class="section">
80 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id4" id="motivation" name="motivation">Motivation</a></h1>
81 <p>The Fosdem and subsequent reform proposals shepherded by Koon are thorough,
82 extremely detailed, and somewhat complicated. They have a lot of good ideas.
83 For many who have been with Gentoo a long time, though, there's just something
84 about them that they don't really like. More than a few Gentoo devs are
85 almost entirely uninterested in metastructure as long as it doesn't get in
86 their way, and because the current proposals impose at least some order on our
87 unruly devs these proposals are guaranteed to &quot;get in the way&quot; to some degree.
88 For example, a frequent comment that has been heard is that many Gentoo devs
89 don't know who his/her manager (or project lead) is, which is a clear
90 indication that our current system is broken. The existing proposals solve
91 the problem by requiring that each dev belong to a project. Perhaps the part
92 that is broken, though, is the belief that every dev should have a manager.
93 The history of Gentoo is such that traditionally big advances have often been
94 implemented by a single or a small number of dedicated devs (thus our
95 long-standing tradition that devs have access to the entire tree), and surely
96 we do not want to make things harder (or less fun) for such people. So here's
97 a minimal proposal for those who remembers the &quot;good ol' days&quot; and thinks
98 things aren't really so different now.</p>
99 <p>Synopsis of the current system:</p>
100 <blockquote>
101 <ul class="simple">
102 <li>There are 13-15 top-level projects (TLPs). Top-level projects are
103 comprised of sub-projects, and the goal was that every Gentoo
104 project would be a sub-project of one of the TLPs. Supposedly each
105 dev therefore belongs to one or more TLPs.</li>
106 <li>Each TLP has at least a &quot;strategic&quot; manager, and potentially also an
107 &quot;operational&quot; manager. Only the strategic managers vote on global
108 Gentoo issues.</li>
109 <li>The managers of each TLP were appointed by drobbins, the other
110 TLP managers, or elected by their project members. These managers
111 have no set term.</li>
112 <li>Within each TLP the managers are responsible for making decisions
113 about the project, defining clear goals, roadmaps, and timelines
114 for the project, and solving problems that arise within the TLP
115 (see GLEP 4 for the specific list).</li>
116 <li>The strategic TLP managers are also responsible for deciding issues that
117 affect Gentoo across project lines. The primary mechanism for
118 handling global-scope issues is the managers' meetings.</li>
119 <li>Disciplinary action taken against erring devs is handled by the
120 &quot;devrel&quot; TLP, unless the dev is a strategic TLP manager. In that
121 case disciplinary action must be enacted by the other strategic TLP
122 managers.</li>
123 </ul>
124 </blockquote>
125 <p>Problems with the existing system:</p>
126 <ol class="arabic simple">
127 <li>The assumption that TLPs are complete is either incorrect (there
128 still is no &quot;server&quot; TLP) or just plain weird (but the lack of a
129 server TLP is technically okay because all devs who don't have an
130 obvious TLP belong to the &quot;base&quot; TLP by default).</li>
131 <li>There is nothing at all to ensure that project leads actually do
132 represent the devs they supposedly lead or satisfy their
133 responsibilities. Indeed, should a TLP manager go AWOL it is not at
134 all obvious how the situation should be resolved.</li>
135 <li>Nothing is being decided at global scope right now. Some TLP strategic
136 managers rarely attend the managers' meetings, and the managers as a
137 whole certainly are not providing any sort of global vision for
138 Gentoo right now.</li>
139 <li>Even if the strategic TLP managers were making global decisions for
140 Gentoo, the TLP structure is such that almost all devs fall under
141 only one or two TLPs. Thus voting on global issues is hardly
142 proportional, and thus many devs feel disenfranchised.</li>
143 <li>Regardless of whether or not it is justified, devrel is loathed by
144 many in its enforcement role.</li>
145 </ol>
146 <p>Here's a couple of additional problems identified by the current
147 metastructure reform proposals:</p>
148 <ol class="arabic simple" start="6">
149 <li>The current system has no mechanism for identifying either projects
150 or devs that have gone inactive.</li>
151 <li>Bugs that cut across projects often remain unresolved.</li>
152 <li>GLEPs often linger in an undetermined state.</li>
153 </ol>
154 </div>
155 <div class="section">
156 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id5" id="specification" name="specification">Specification</a></h1>
157 <ol class="upperalpha">
158 <li><p class="first">A project is a group of developers working towards a goal (or a set
159 of goals).</p>
160 <blockquote>
161 <ul class="simple">
162 <li>A project exists if it has a web page at
163 www.g.o/proj/en/whatever that is maintained. (&quot;Maintained&quot; means
164 that the information on the page is factually correct and not
165 out-of-date.) If the webpage isn't maintained, it is presumed dead.</li>
166 <li>It may have one or many leads, and the leads are
167 selected by the members of the project. This selection must
168 occur at least once every 12 months, and may occur at any
169 time.</li>
170 <li>It may have zero or more sub-projects. Sub-projects are
171 just projects that provide some additional structure, and their
172 web pages are in the project's space.</li>
173 <li>Not everything (or everyone) needs a project.</li>
174 <li>Projects need not be long-term.</li>
175 <li>Projects may well conflict with other projects. That's okay.</li>
176 <li>Any dev may create a new project just by creating a new page
177 (or, more realistically, directory and page) in
178 <tt class="docutils literal"><span class="pre">gentoo/xml/htdocs/proj/en</span></tt>.</li>
179 </ul>
180 </blockquote>
181 </li>
182 <li><p class="first">Global issues will be decided by an elected Gentoo council.</p>
183 <blockquote>
184 <ul class="simple">
185 <li>There will be a set number of council members. (For the
186 first election that number was set to 7 by acclamation.)</li>
187 <li>Council members will be chosen by a general election of all
188 devs once per year.</li>
189 <li>The council must hold an open meeting at least once per month.</li>
190 <li>Council decisions are by majority vote of those who show up (or
191 their proxies).</li>
192 <li>If a council member (or their appointed proxy) fails to show up for
193 two consecutive meetings, they are marked as a slacker.</li>
194 <li>If a council member who has been marked a slacker misses any further
195 meeting (or their appointed proxy doesn't show up), they lose their
196 position and a new election is held to replace that person. The newly
197 elected council member gets a 'reduced' term so that the yearly
198 elections still elect a full group.</li>
199 <li>Council members who have previously been booted for excessive slacking
200 may stand for future elections, including the election for their
201 replacement. They should, however, justify their slackerness, and
202 should expect to have it pointed out if they don't do so themselves.</li>
203 <li>The 'slacker' marker is reset when a member is elected.</li>
204 <li>If any meeting has less than 50% attendance by council members, a new
205 election for <em>all</em> places must be held within a month. The 'one year'
206 is then reset from that point.</li>
207 <li>Disciplinary actions may be appealed to the council.</li>
208 <li>A proxy must not be an existing council member, and any single person
209 may not be a proxy for more than one council member at any given
210 meeting.</li>
211 </ul>
212 </blockquote>
213 </li>
214 </ol>
215 </div>
216 <div class="section">
217 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id6" id="rationale" name="rationale">Rationale</a></h1>
218 <p>So, does this proposal solve any of the previously-mentioned problems?</p>
219 <p>1. There is no longer any requirement that the project structure be
220 complete. Some devs work on very specific parts of the tree, while
221 some work on practically everything; neither should be shoehorned into
222 an ad-hoc project structure. Moreover, it should be easy to create new
223 projects where needed (and remove them when they are not), which this
224 proposal should enable.</p>
225 <p>2. By having the members choose their project leads periodically, the
226 project leads are necessarily at least somewhat responsible (and hopefully
227 responsive) to the project members. This proposal has removed the list of
228 responsibilities that project leads were supposed to satisfy, since hardly
229 anybody has ever looked at the original list since it was written. Instead
230 the practical responsibility of a lead is &quot;whatever the members require&quot;, and
231 if that isn't satisfied, the members can get a new lead (if they can find
232 somebody to take the job!).</p>
233 <p>3. If the council does a lousy job handling global issues (or has no
234 global vision), vote out the bums.</p>
235 <p>4. Since everybody gets to vote for the council members, at least in
236 principle the council members represent all developers, not just a
237 particular subset.</p>
238 <p>5. An appeal process should make disciplinary enforcement both less
239 capricious and more palatable.</p>
240 <p>6. This proposal doesn't help find inactive devs or projects. It
241 really should not be that much of a problem. We already have a script for
242 identifying devs who haven't made a CVS commit within a certain period of
243 time. As for moribund projects, if the project page isn't maintained, it's
244 dead, and we should remove it. That, too, could be automated. A much bigger
245 problem is understaffed herds, but more organization is not necessarily a
246 solution.</p>
247 <p>7. The metabug project is a great idea. Let's do that! Adding a useful
248 project shouldn't require &quot;metastructure reform&quot;, although with the
249 current system it does. With this proposal it wouldn't.</p>
250 <ol class="arabic simple" start="8">
251 <li>This proposal has nothing to say about GLEPs.</li>
252 </ol>
253 </div>
254 <div class="section">
255 <h1><a class="toc-backref" href="#id7" id="copyright" name="copyright">Copyright</a></h1>
256 <p>This document has been placed in the public domain.</p>
257 </div>
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