Re: Candidacy: Ryan Lortie

Hi Ryan,

Ryan Lortie wrote:
> name:          Ryan Lortie
> nick:          desrt
> affiliation:   Codethink Limited
> I am announcing my intention to run as a candidate in the upcoming
> election for the board of directors.
> (( me ))
> I've been around the GNOME project for a bit more than half a decade.  I
> started in some rather user-facing parts of the desktop and quickly
> moved down the stack.  Recently, I spend most of my days hanging out on
> D-Bus and messing around with GLib.  I created GVariant, dconf and
> GSettings and have had a hand in some other technologies used in GNOME
> such as GVFS, the GIO networking APIs, GDBus, GApplication and many
> others.
> I've avoided running for the board in the past because I'm the sort of
> person who doesn't like meetings and I've always been a bit
> disorganised.  I'm generally happier when I'm hacking on something.  I'm
> running now because I have a platform (that you may or may not agree
> with).
> (( the platform ))
> The GNOME project is at a singularly interesting point in its history.
> We just shocked the world with the level of quality of the GNOME 3.0
> release.  Few would disagree that we are going through a period of
> growth and change as a project, but it seems that there is some
> disagreement on exactly what that means.
> For a while the foundation board has largely taken a hands-off approach
> when it comes to technical decisions.  In my opinion this has allowed a
> number of problems to develop.
> I believe that GNOME is in need of strong and coordinated technical
> governance, firmly rooted in the structure of the community.  I want to
> start a discussion about the best way to make this happen.
> I strongly support the GNOME philosophy of maintainers having control
> over their own modules.  I believe, however, that this situation
> occasionally causes friction when trying to push large changes to the
> platform and desktop.  There have also been cases when outsiders to the
> project have encountered problems with a particular maintainer and felt
> that they have no recourse.  I want to investigate methods by which we
> can balance maintainer autonomy with the benefits of more coordinated
> technical leadership.
> Finally, I'm interested in the strength of GNOME as a community project.
> I think community projects are at their best when the power to control
> the future of the project lies clearly within the community and not
> consolidated within a single entity.  I believe this is another argument
> for strong community technical governance.
> (( in summary ))
> Please don't vote for me because you recognise my name and think that I
> wrote some nice software or because the other candidates don't have as
> nice of a free t-shirt collection.
> I expect the ideas here to be a bit controversial.  I'm happy to provide
> clarification on my thoughts.  Please only vote for me if you believe
> that I am right.
> Thank you

I do think that we should do more to communicate GNOME's goals (mainly
by clearly defining our products) and to make it clear how the project
is organised. I also agree that it would be useful to have a discussion
about maintainership. Some kind of arbitration might be helpful when
there are issues involving specific modules, for example.

That said, some questions:

 * Do you have any concrete ideas of what 'strong and coordinated
technical leadership' would involve? It sounds very nice and all, but
I'd like to hear some specifics before I cast my vote. ;)

 * If you are elected, you will have to fulfill your role as a board
member, yet you have not mentioned anything to do with your suitability
for this post. Indeed, it almost makes me think that you are unsuitable
for the position! So, do you think you will be able to do a good job in
the day to day running of the Foundation?

 * I presume that your candidacy is an attempt to gain a mandate for the
changes you are proposing, yet I wonder whether it will count for much
without the support of the release team and maintainers. Have you had
any discussions with either of the above about your ideas?

 * Following on from the above: do you think that you personally need to
be on the board for these changes to take place? Why not just get a
discussion going and come up with a plan?


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