Re: Candidacy: Ryan Lortie

[removing foundation-announce from the cc:]

hi Allan,

On Mon, 2011-05-23 at 14:59 +0100, Allan Day wrote: 
> * 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. ;)

I think it's premature to say "this is the solution" which is why I've
limited myself to identifying a (perceived) problem.  I am simply
stating that we should move in a direction of more coordinated technical

That said, it's true that I've had some ideas of how this *might* look. 

The most obvious solution to me is the creation of a technical board,
directly elected with membership restrictions by affiliation (basically,
just like the foundation board).

This board (in conjunction with the release team) would be actively
involved in the feature planning that takes place at the start of each
cycle.  The board would necessarily improve communication between the
hackers of different companies serving on it.  It would also serve a
'crisis response' role by acting as the point of contact for people who
feel that they've hit a brick wall with a maintainer or when a long
annoying technical debate is going on in the community with no clear

The scary part: this board would be given a stick: the ability, by
supermajority (2/3rds?), to veto maintainer decisions.

Of course there is quite a debate about if it's desirable (or even
possible) to use the stick in certain situations.  The hope is that
maintainers would generally respect the decisions of the technical
board.  Peer/community pressure alone may be enough here.  The board
would also clearly be aware of its own limitations and would act

Another possibility is to empower the release team, identify them as the
'crisis response' point of contact and ask them to be more proactive
with respect to the above listed situations.  After discussions with
Frederic Peters, it is unclear if some of the existing members of the
release team would be comfortable with these new roles.

> * 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 would not take election lightly.  I understand that the board was
reduced to seven people to give each member more of a sense of
individual ownership of the business of the board and this is a
responsibility that I would take quite seriously.

As mentioned in my candidacy statement, I'm not the most organised
person I know.  I am quite good, however, at taking on a task and
getting it done.

> * 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?

I've been loosely discussing this topic with very many people over the
past year and a half or more.

Most discussion that I've had on this topic has been in person at
events.  I've talked to quite some maintainers, the former release
manager and the new release manager.  I've also talked to at least one
other member of the release team.  I've also talked to our downstreams
and other outsiders to the project about their problems.

By and large, the impression I get from most people when discussing this
is that they believe that a problem exists and that we should solve it.
Individual maintainers tend to believe (more or less) that since they
are not part of the problem, the solution is unlikely to impact them in
a negative way.

Some maintainers have expressed scepticism about the negative impact
that this proposal might have on maintainer motivation (or the
motivation of their employers).

It's possible that my selection of conversation partners is not
representative of the project.

> * 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?

Very many of the people that I've talked to about this issue
(particularly recently, due to the timing) suggested that I run for the
board so that I could advance this issue.  I agree that my election to
the board would not be strictly required to this end.

At the same time, this is not the only issue that motivates me to want
to be a member of the board.  My rushed candidacy statement certainly
focused on this issue, but it's not like it would be my only concern.

I did intend to start a discussion.


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