[Squeakfoundation] re: Decision time: Are SCG the steward ofthekernel as proposed?

Daniel Vainsencher danielv at netvision.net.il
Fri Mar 21 20:54:27 CET 2003

Distributing the decision making is something I care about as much as
you do. However, we need to be careful of oversimplifying ideas that
will keep us from making progress.

I think this applies in two ways to our process.
1. Distributing decision making doesn't have to be an all or nothing
2. An artifact and it's set of policies, to remain viable over time need
to be coherent. This does (IMO) preclude a number of different groups
each pulling in their own direction. The weaker version of this
argument, which I'll be far less hesitant about defending, is that
making a *product release* at a specific date, precludes a number of
groups each with commitment power.

To avoid going all theoretical, I'll note that Linus does distribute a
lot of the decision making in Linux kernel development, but still,
nobody puts anything into his tree without his say so. BTW, the
infrastructures and the communities and the their leaders are very
different, but I think this much does apply to us too.

And in our specific case, you don't see me telling KCP or MCP *what* to
do. They both control that aspect. I do give guidance on what will make
their work easier to accept into the mainstream, and mostly in terms of
process, not content. If they decide to make radical changes, they'll
have to convince people it's worthy, and provide an upgrade path we can
support, but I won't tell them "no" a priori.


goran.hultgren at bluefish.se wrote:
> Craig Latta <craig.latta at netjam.org> wrote:
> > 
> > 	Daniel writes:
> > 
> > > To add another reason againt a vote on this (not that I care very
> > > strongly): I didn't see a need for it because I think we can send the
> > > right message without providing an official moment of decision -
> > > after all, people do take their risks whatever we might decide, even
> > > officially.
> > > 
> > > If SCG fubars it, we won't merge their stuff. If they bring us good
> > > patches (the much more likely outcome), we'll merge them whether they
> > > have any "officially decided" status or not. Just remember this -
> > > once we've made decisions on a topic, we'll always be making
> > > decisions on that topic (paraphrasing Frank Herbert, in one of the
> > > Dune books). IMHO, giving advice is worth doing permanently, giving
> > > official badges isn't.
> > 
> > 	I agree with this, and it's why I abstained. (By the way, Göran, when
> > one abstains, it's called an "abstention".)
> Not to start another fruitless discussion (but that is probably exactly
> what I am doing), but I thought the idea of having someone as a Steward
> for a piece of Squeak was that the Steward had the "final saying" on
> that piece. You know, delegated responsibility. Otherwise the point of
> having Stewards seems a bit... moot.
> That is also why the "trust" part is important. Of course, we could say
> NO, but that would probably essentially mean that we lost that Steward.
> And hopefully before that the arguments pro and con had time to boil
> down to something good. But having us say NO should be a very, very
> uncommon thing.
> It still feels like the Steward should take the decisions - I mean, why
> should people otherwise be interested in being Stewards if it still
> means that everything needs to be crosschecked with us? The idea is to
> *distribute* the responsibilities but if no power of decisions comes
> with those responsibilities then the incentive of becoming a Steward is
> lost. IMHO.
> Well, perhaps I have missed something here.
> regards, Göran
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