Re: 2.4 Module List and Rationale (aka GEP10 and 11)

<quote who="Malcolm Tredinnick">

> The main problem with this is exactly the audience you would have voting:
> developers (including documenters, translators, etc). Since the "GNOME
> Desktop", whatever that means, is targeted at a user base that is not the
> developers; the definition of who it targets varies slightly depending on
> who you talk to, but "somebody moving across from Windows" may not be far
> wrong. That user base does not get a foot in the door of the GNOME
> Foundation.
> So any "voting" audience would need to completely put aside their own
> wishes and get into the mindset of the targeted users and vote in that
> sense. I, for one, would find that extremely difficult and I suspect I am
> not alone here.

Whether the decision is made through voting or casual consensus, this is
exactly the group of people who will be deciding. In both cases, we have to
go beyond our own needs and think about our target users.

> At the end of the day, somebody (or a group of somebodies) have to make a
> decision. That lot has fallen to the release team, since coordinating the
> release is really their one true purpose. I agree that the slightly
> undemocratic nature of that group is of some concern and that when some of
> the more vocal release team members speak, it is unavoidable that people
> look at their comments as representative of current thinking (since it's
> about the only insight we get into that).

I disagree: We don't make "real" decisions until we're well into the release
process. We don't decide the modules list. We *do* summarise and finalise
the discussion, and we *do* make judgement calls once the release process is

It is highly democratic in that whoever puts forward their view will be
heard. They may not see a lot of agreement, but they will be heard. If the
release team made decisions at odds with the casual consensus of the
community, we'd be kicked out of what is meant to be a caretaking/service
role, swiftly and without remorse. It hasn't happened, because that's not
what the release team does, or is about.

With regards to the "only insight" comment -> if you don't feel that our
release team meeting minutes or regular announcements are a good guide,
please let us know. It is better to do that when problems arise than
bringing up general issues in an unrelated thread. We are *always* keen for
feedback, because we feel unloved and lacking for attention.

> All that being said, a lot of these decisions about "what goes into the
> desktop" are pretty irrelevant. The only benefit of being in the desktop
> (albeit a large one) is the increased publicity (along with the increased
> pressure to get it right).

It's certainly not irrelevant. It's an incredibly important part of our
decision making process, because vendors and users alike will look to these
modules as 'best-of-breed' and 'standard'. Committing to the desktop or
platform release means committing to regular releases, project-specific
requirements (i18n/a11y/etc), etc. It is a commitment to the long term use
and viability of these modules that users and vendors can trust. It's not a
small deal.

Yes, technical users who know what they're doing can install whatever they
want. But when we present "GNOME", we're presenting a coherent platform and
desktop environment made up of these trusted modules. That's important.

- Jeff

   "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to    
       walk away, and know when to run." - Kenny Rogers, The Gambler        

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