[squeak-dev] [Election] ...is soon upon us! Last day info

keith keith_hodges at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Mar 10 12:48:56 UTC 2010

> Hi all!
> Ok, so tonight at 18.00 UTC the actual voting period starts. It goes  
> like this:
> - Around 18.00 UTC tonight you will get an email from the CIVS  
> voting system with a link in it. You have one week to click on that  
> link and vote.
> - If you realize that you never got this email it can be because of  
> mail problems or that you aren't on the voter list. Send me an email  
> in either case and I will try to sort it out.
> - If you voted last year you are already on the list.
> I will accept new voters during the whole voting week! I will also  
> do my best to fix any issues with ballots gone missing in the SMTP  
> jungle.
> regards, Göran

Dear All,

for the record I am not voting, since the squeak board is now  
irrelevant noise.

The board cannot even manage a mission statement and maintain that  
(see below), terms of reference are a distant hope, the idea of this  
farce becoming an official legal entity, yet not seeing the need to  
have any constitution or rules at all for how it conducts itself,  
would be a joke of immense hilarity if it wasn't serious.

Here is the mission statement as advertised:


> The Squeak Oversight Board coordinates the community’s open-source  
> development of its versatile Smalltalk environment.
Ok let examine this line, "co-ordinates". This involves doing some  
actual work, talking to people, discussing things weighing up ideas,  
and making considered informed decisions. "Co-ordinates" means, that  
the board doesn't actually "Do Stuff" but it relies on others to do  
stuff which it then co-ordinates through helpful advice perhaps.
> To that end, we are increasing our visibility
Cant argue with that.
> within the community through better communication,
In the introduction of "trunk", there was zero repeat ZERO pre  
discussion about the idea with those that it effected. All existing  
avenues of communication were ignored, and existing best practice was  
ignored such as using a "release mailing list" as used by the board- 
endorsed "release team". Also specific requests for preferences to  
communicate on the release mailing list were ignored, when this had  
actual practical and financial implications.

In a world of modern communications when we have irc and skype and we  
are on the other side of the world and I get free calls to anywhere in  
the world 24/7. But does the board know how to use email? Andreas says  
that perhaps this was a mistake, however it wasn't his mistake, it was  
the board's mistake, to allow a new direction to be mandated without  
requiring a proposal, a consultation and a vote of sorts over a period.

As a member of the community I had to follow a formal procedure to  
satisfy the board. Members of the board are exempt from any such  
formality. Thus it is now perceived by some as a requirement to have a  
position on the board to be heard. If you have a commercial interest  
in squeak, if you do not have a position on the board, you do not have  
an equal representation as compared to others who do have a position  
on the board.

The board should be strictly impartial in relation to commercial  
interests, while it is not, it is not trustable.
> improving the release process,
The release process, is the bit which takes an image, adds some fixes,  
updates packages to their latest versions, adds licensing,  
documentation, sets the version number, and zips up the result.

I have just witnessed Ronald, or whatever his name is ;-) do this for  
Squeak 4.0, and it was done Manually, exactly the same as every other  
release, and the process itself took at least 3 weeks, when an  
automated process (which we already had) would take 3 minutes.

So much for improving the release process. Nothing has changed.
> joining the Software Freedom Conservancy, enabling Teams to achieve  
> their tasks,
This is comical. How did the board "enable" me to achieve my task. To  
do this they would have to communicate (see first paragraph) They just  
undermined everything I had done, then and told me I don't have enough  
Charisma, and "the end justifies the means".
> and integrating contributions from collaborating groups (for  
> example, Pharo, Etoys, and Croquet).
"integrating contributions", to me means that we treat all of these  
groups as part of the community and try to create processes that work,  
and manage some of it in common between them, and we act for them as  
an enabler.

Does the new "trunk" process introduced by the board this year do  
this? No it doesn't it, it is exclusive to squeak itself as a fork. It  
just enables more people to contribute to squeak as its own fork,  
speeding up the process of diversion between forks, It discourages the  
development of features in common with other forks, specifically it  
does not treat the development of features as distinct load-able  
entities that are integrated.

Recent statements by board members have indicated that the board  
doesnt aim to represent anyone else other than the squeak fork,  
whereas before we had a feeling of responsibility for providing tools  
and services to benefit all of our many "prodigy".

The board continues to treat previous releases as abandon-ware. We  
don't even look after our existing users.
> Our goals for this year are a **clear** release process for the 3.x  
> series,
Trunk doesn't have any clear indication of what will or will not be in  
it doesn't have any development plan or timeline
it doesn't have any packaging system where stuff can be clearly  
it doesn't have any automated testing
it doesn't have any automated release process.
it doesn't adopt any best practices such as XP, release early and  
often so releases are not time boxed, everything is far from clear.
> a license-clean Squeak 4.0 release,
This was a goal. How long ago? If I had to manually rewrite every  
method effected 3 times, it could have been done quicker. The problem  
with this goal was that everyone talked about it, no one on the board  
actually did anything.

(apart from asking  the 3.11 release team leader to do the job on  
squeak 4.0, without asking the release team, and consequently leaving  
us a man down)
> a solid legal foundation,
The board members have resisted all attempts to suggest that a  
constitution is a necessary thing. Without it the board has no  
identity in and of itself, it is merely a collection of randomly  
selected, "charismatic" individuals. How you would achieve becoming a  
legal entity without any rules at all is anyone's guess.
> and a draft programming interface for exchanging code between systems.
No sign of this.

(except I have developed it recently)
> With these, we believe the community will be more effective in  
> developing for itself and in introducing the system to newcomers.
I agree if the board actually did any of these things it might. But at  
the moment they are still patting themselves on the back saying what a  
great "trunk" process we have got, and what wonderful charismatic  
leaders we now have. When it is the opposite process of what is needed  
if you actually sit down and think about the problem as a whole.

Anyone can hack a new image, but is the process itself capable of  
acheiveing what we want(ed) to achieve. Given that  package management  
is left to be an after thought leads me to think not.
> Please note that this is a work in progress and we appreciate any  
> comments or suggestions that you may have.
This is my comment.

Now for my suggestions:

If you have a commercial interest in developing with squeak, you will  
be far better off taking control and forking the image for yourself,  
maintaining your own branch. So at least you have the level of control  
needed to maintain the required stability, and the image you use will  
be maintained (by you).

Working towards this goal, of having control over your own image,  
individuals and groups who want to help will publish innovations in a  
separately managed load-able form, that are not tied to any one image.

When this mechanism is in place, none of the forks is any different to  
any other fork, each is merely a configuration of loaded packages on  
one or many starting points.

When the tools are available such that the level of control you have  
over your own image, is higher than the level of control you have over  
the image you are given by the board. The board in its current  
"glorified release team form" becomes irrelevant.

If Kent Beck or others of his calibre were running for the board then  
I would vote.



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