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From "Mattmann, Chris A (398J)" <>
Subject Re: [META DISCUSS] talking about the overall state of this PMC
Date Sat, 11 May 2013 18:58:03 GMT
Hi Alan,

-----Original Message-----

From: Alan Cabrera <>
Reply-To: "" <>
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2013 7:01 AM
To: "" <>
Subject: Re: [META DISCUSS] talking about the overall state of this PMC

>> and more weakness
>> in _supervising_ (or at least in documenting supervision).
>Could tooling help here?

Tooling is important, but it doesn't solve the "META COMMITTEE" issue.
Aka there is a ton of people on this umbrella project, and reaching
consensus on anything is quite difficult.

The ASF doesn't work this way -- there isn't an umbrella project
all of the sub projects. The board isn't an umbrella committee. It's not
that way. They have ultimate authority/power, based on the election of the
but they are honestly dead slow to use it -- and for good reason. Such
power should not
be wielded lightly. Yet, we try in the IPMC to use it constantly. Having
VOTEs for this,
and that, privately and publicly, for people and/or for releases.

It doesn't work. When it does work it's through the effort of "Champions"
that existed
well before the name was ever coined. A lot of Champions (Ross, Joe, me,
Jukka, Chris D,
you=Alan, Ant, Alan G., to name a few) have our own interests in pushing
our podlings through
that we brought to the ASF -- other Champions are Board members of the
ASF, or ASF veterans
that simply care about the impact that these new projects will have on the
Foundation. But
it's really those Champions, and/or those combined mentors who are active
that push the
podling through *in spite of* the wild west that is the IPMC. This has
been documented in
numerous threads and numbers things have been undertaken over the past
year and a half
some of which helped to improve the situation (only 1 IPMC mentor VOTE
needed for PPMC addition;
Joe's experiment; formal definition of Champion role; etc etc); and other
things have been
tried that had little to no effect (email threads; proposal wars;
bickering, blah blah).

>> We have a
>> few competing proposals for changes to address these, especially
>> supervision weakness.
>Is the reporting problem the sole issue?

No, it's a variety of things centered around the general nature of
umbrella projects,
which we have the worst kind of in the IPMC. People on the IPMC telling
PPMCs and projects
how to run their communities? The ASF doesn't stand for that in its
regular projects; why
teach the podlings that their VOTEs don't count, and that the only people
who cast binding
release and membership VOTEs are members of some meta committee that have
no merit in their

>> I wish that I felt confident as Joe does that
>> just electing more people from inside the projects was all we needed
>> to do; maybe Alan's idea combined with that is the way to go.
>I'm not sure which way to go but I'm really liking the direction of this
>email.  I feel that I'm getting a sense of what you feel are the core
>problems we're trying to solve.

I'd be curious as to the intersection of those problems with the ones I've
been pointing out
for years. And I did more than point them out. I wrote a proposal that has
incremental next
steps to take in each way.

>> Recently we had a situation on private where I felt that there was a
>> consensus to be had, but some people needed to be nudged a bit to
>> allow it to emerge. That's not what I see here when considering the
>> choices of using more or less of shepherds, champions, and mentors.
>I think that a lot of members didn't read it, thinking that there was yet
>another email storm to ignore.
>This was the point that I was trying to make in my earlier emails.  *It
>is the constant churning of roles and processes that is exhausting this
>IPMC, not the actual work.*  It is this bureaucratic churning that's
>sapping the emotional energy if the IPMC members.
>Why are we "churning"?  Because we are not holding members/mentors up to
>their commitments.  Because we are constantly coming up w/ new ad hoc
>exceptions for every policy we have.

It's way bigger than holding members/mentors up to their commitments. I
(and others) are
questioning the core of the commitment and it's rationale.

>We need less process.  Less roles.  More accountability.  More tooling.

I totally agree with this -- I've put up an incremental, step-by-step
to achieve all of that.

>> One possible path is that, at some point, I as VP pick one. I plan to
>> let this discussion continue for at least a week, if not more, before
>> I remotely consider taking that step.
>Ultimately we voted you in to be our VP.  I feel that you are listening
>to our concerns.  I'll support what ever your decision is even if I don't
>> I think it's clear, though, that _this committee_ does not believe in
>> the 'direct-to-PMC' model, so anyone interested in that alternative
>> should talk elsewhere and/or with the board, as per Ant's message.
>What this "direct to PMC" model?


I wrote it a year and a half ago.


Chris Mattmann, Ph.D.
Senior Computer Scientist
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pasadena, CA 91109 USA
Office: 171-266B, Mailstop: 171-246
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089 USA

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