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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Discussing the FSF endorsement process going forwa

From: Donald Robertson
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Discussing the FSF endorsement process going forward
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2018 12:13:26 -0500
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On 02/28/2018 09:49 PM, bill-auger wrote:
> On 02/28/2018 12:08 PM, Jean Louis wrote:
>> It would be good to have your own
>> workflow. Steps, one by one on what is to be
>> done.
>> Not just a checklist for free system
>> distributions, but rather a checklist for the
>> whole process.
> the only thing that the announcement does mention regarding documenting
> the process was regarding the work-flow stages of the process itself;
> not anything was mentioned about a checklist of specific criteria - i
> would very much like to invert that proposal however
> the "one-by-one procedure steps" of "what is to be done" are only and
> entirely the evaluation of individual criteria - these criteria have no
> inherent order - they are appropriately representable by a checklist -
> and a criteria embodies all of the important information that anyone
> would care to know - that is what should be documented
> there is little to document specifically about the progress through any
> meaningful stages - there are only three such over-all work-flow stages
> above the details of the criteria evaluation:
> * stage 1) a brief initial shallow evaluation done by GNU web-masters
> * stage 2) the presumably longest, if not exhaustive, community
> evaluation where the meaningful criteria checklist is filled
> * stage 3) the final approval phase by the FSF where there would be
> presumably very little remaining to do
> so a work-flow checklist, as something distinct from a criteria
> checklist, would only be three items long - there would probably be only
> a trivial amount of time spent in the first and last phases - and the
> proposed work-flow checklist itself would not even be created until
> moving out of stage one into stage two - so the information that a
> work-flow checklist would convey could be as accurately derived from the
> criteria checklist alone, as such:
> * stage 1) the criteria checklist has not yet been created
> * stage 2) none or some criteria items have been evaluated
> * stage 3) all criteria items have been evaluated
> the only meaningful semantics of stage 1 is: "the GNU web-masters
> received a request for review and will decide *whether or not* to begin
> the process" - as soon as that is acted upon, either stage 2 would begin
> immediately or i assume the sender would get some private reply in a
> timely manner - in stage 1, there is really nothing to document yet
> the only meaningful semantics of stage 3 is: "the checklist is complete
> and pending final approval by the FSF" - after that happens, either the
> distro will appear on the endorsed distros web page or perhaps a problem
> was found and the distro is sent back to stage 2
> so the initial and final stages are each singular states and should
> consume only the smallest proportion of the overall time; and so are the
> least interesting to anyone - but that is so far the only thing that is
> to be documented
> clearly, stage 2 is the only one worth documenting - and as i said, it's
> semantics is only and entirely the evaluation of individual criteria
> checklist items - and nothing of this phase is decided to be documented
> other than in the form of this mailing list - but no one in posterity
> would want to comb over the mailing list archives to root out these
> details - an explicit checklist would be vastly more helpful to anyone
> interested - and i underline, especially in cases where the distro takes
> a long time to achieve 100% criteria conformance - even if 100% criteria
> conformance is never achieved, the existing checklist would still be a
> valuable resource to anyone who cares to takes the distro to the next
> step in the future or liberate their own copy of it
> it seems very simple to me - do people agree?

I'm definitely in agreement. Having each item of the criteria on a
checklist that is publicly documented I think would be a great step
towards making the system more transparent. I think it will also provide
a great resource for people who are thinking about endorsement to be
able to see which items tricked up other projects so they can start
thinking about them early.
Donald R. Robertson, III, J.D.
Licensing & Compliance Manager
Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor
Boston, MA 02110
Phone +1-617-542-5942
Fax +1-617-542-2652 ex. 56

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