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Re: A summary of some open discussions


From: Mark Wielaard
Subject: Re: A summary of some open discussions
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2020 00:22:26 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.10.1 (2018-07-13)

Hi,

On Mon, Jan 06, 2020 at 02:00:17PM +0100, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
> Brandon Invergo <address@hidden> skribis:
> > Mark Wielaard writes:
> >
> >>> 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.
> >>
> >> This is just a legal technicallity. The FSF has oversight
> >> responsibility over the GNU project. That means that the FSF needs to
> >> determine that GNU maintainers operate in a manner consistent with
> >> FSF's exempt purposes, have the needed expertise and that their
> >> activities can be monitored by the FSF board. So GNU Maintainers and
> >> Steering committees are technically appointed by the FSF (previously
> >> RMS when he was FSF president and board member) as stewards of GNU
> >> packages. Basically GNU maintainers serve at the pleasure of the FSF.
> >
> > This is absolutely false.
> >
> > As a member of the package evaluation team and as an Assistant
> > GNUissance (address@hidden), I have personally been involved in
> > many appointments of new maintainers at every step of the process, from
> > first contact with GNU through to post-appointment bureaucracy and
> > occasional check-ins.  I also have the authority to appoint new
> > maintainers of existing packages myself (only Richard can appoint
> > maintainers of new packages).  In fact, I personally appointed some new
> > co-maintainers of Guix back in September, two weeks *after* Richard
> > resigned as president of the FSF, which Ludovic can confirm.
> 
> Yes, I confirm this.
> 
> > I can categorically say that the FSF is not involved whatsoever in the
> > appointment of new maintainers.
> 
> That’s also my understanding.
> 
> > Please do not spread misinformation about the GNU project.
> 
> Please assume good faith.

Yes. Both statements are true and nobody tries to deliberately spread
misinformation. Since Brandon was delegated by the FSF president to
appoint new (co-)maintainers it is reasonable to assume the FSF felt the
procedures were good enough for their oversight responsibility. And
most likely that still holds. IMHO having this documented and checking
with the FSF this is still the case is a good thing.

> The lesson here is that if long-time
> contributors or maintainers do not know for sure how this all works,
> perhaps we should see whether/how we can better document it.

Agreed.

> As a side note: I think authority is not something one should take for
> granted.  We’re a group of volunteers, and each one of us has just as
> much authority as the others consent to give them.

Indeed.

Cheers,

Mark



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