leadership document (Lubuntu governance)

Karl Anliot kanliot at gmail.com
Tue May 22 19:13:33 UTC 2012

On Mon, May 21, 2012 at 10:36 PM, Jonathan Marsden <jmarsden at fastmail.fm> wrote:
> Karl,
> It's good to see interest in software project governance, and people
> taking it seriously.
> On 05/20/2012 04:39 AM, Karl Anliot wrote:
>>>> https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Lubuntu/tempgovernance
> Questions arising:
> (1) How does this fit with existing Ubuntu governance structures?

Having Lubuntu officials should make it much easier for Ubuntu to
communicate downstream with Lubuntu.  Our governance shouldn't impinge
Ubuntu governance at all.

> (2) As I understand it, the advice and suggested templates at OSS Watch
> (which you seem to have recommended) suggest using one of two governance
> approaches, Benevolent Dictator and Meritocracy.  Your tempgovernance
> document apparently proposes something else entirely.  Which other open
> source software development projects currently use the form of
> governance you are proposing?  Why do you think OSS Watch does not list
> it as a suitable model for OSS project governance?

Process of elimination.  Dictators require dictators, and
Meritocracies require councils.  Another reason: we've been voting on
the mailing list, and people seemed to like that.  I certainly like it
more than electing a council to make decisions for me.

> (2) Does Lubuntu really need its own unique governance structure to
> override or add to the existing Ubuntu one which our team is operating
> under?  If so, what leads you to that conclusion?

OSS Watch says it better than I can:
"This is because any potential contributor to the project needs to
know how to contribute efficiently and effectively, and how their
contribution will be handled. Without clear guidance on these matters,
most people will walk away rather than join an immature project. But
if those early adopters are shown that they can help to guide the
project as it matures, they may decide to stay. A single external
contributor may well have a major effect on the sustainability of a
project, so project initiators can simply not afford to risk losing
that contributor as a result of trying to save a small amount of
effort in the early stages."

> (3) What practical benefits would having an Lubuntu-specific governance
> document and structure (such as your proposed one) provide for us --
> specifically, how would it help us actually improve the Lubuntu
> distribution?
It's hard to explain, but without roles and responsibilites, things
don't get done.  The document allows the community to assign both.

> (4) How would adopting your document affect the way Lubuntu currently
> operates?  What would change if the community chooses to ratify it?

What it tries to do, is to make positions of responsibility more
attractive to people who have never considered them before.  I'm not
sure if it does that automatically, but it does make the process more
transparent, which seems like a good thing.  As the process becomes
more transparent, more people will consider taking positions.

It also makes talking about leadership easier.  Talking about
responsibility becomes a Lubuntu process, because it's part of
self-governance.  I know this would never actually happen to Lubuntu,
but I don't like the way things are done, I can comment on the "Job"
and not the person doing the job.  If the bathroom's aren't getting
clean, I can start talking about how we need a cleaner, not by asking
the hotel owner why he's not cleaning the bathrooms.

It provides, in writing, a way of reversing bad decisions.  These
things happen, and it's not always obvious to the person who made the
hard choices. Because elections occur every 6 months, whomever makes
these decision has to defend them during the next time her or himself
tries to be elected.  IMHO, this is better than everyone knowing about
a bad decision, but being unable to do anything.

> (5) How does your suggested structure relate to Jared's questions posted
> to the list a few days ago, about whether the subteams are actually
> helpful to the Lubuntu team accomplishing its goal?

Quoting Jared from a week ago: "* why do we have a need for such
segregated community that we need
subteams for such an already small team of active contributors.....*
is there a problem with reverting back to how it was pre sub-team
and having a community that assists each other to achieve great things?"

Let me first agree with Jared.  A small, tight-knit team can work
wonders.  Now, let me disagree:
Informal projects are great for things that get put on the back-burner
occasionally, exploring new things, and low-risk situations.  IMHO,
Lubuntu is none of those things.


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