Minutes of the Technical Board meeting 2013-02-18

Colin Watson cjwatson at ubuntu.com
Tue Feb 19 22:46:09 UTC 2013

On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 01:02:02PM -0800, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 11:23:44PM +0100, Martin Pitt wrote:
> >  * System Assistant, Photo Handling: These two are not Chinese specific,
> >    but should rather be done in the general Ubuntu context; System
> >    Assistant sounds like the old computer-janitor, a potential successor
> >    of which should be implemented in software-center proper
> While I agree that these are not Chinese-specific and that this is best
> implemented as part of Ubuntu directly, and we should encourage and assist
> this, that doesn't seem like the kind of detail that the TB needs to be
> involved in.  Do you agree that the Kylin team can make their own decisions
> about whether and when it's strategic to temporarily diverge from Ubuntu on
> some of these points?  I realize that this by itself is not a strong
> justification for a different flavor, but it also shouldn't count against
> them, right?

I think flavours can and do make sensible decisions about this kind of
thing.  The people who run our existing flavours generally have the
basic understanding that it's in everyone's interests for common
facilities to be maintained in common, rather than having everyone go
off on their own; they also understand when pressing requirements
dictate otherwise in the short term.

What I think is important at this stage is that we establish this kind
of shared understanding with the UbuntuKylin team up-front, so that we
can trust that they'll make sensible decisions later.  Since diverging
too much too soon is a not uncommon mistake that causes problems down
the line, it seems worth checking early.

> >   * The TB recognizes that requiring already existing upload rights is not
> >   * something we can enforce in this case, and that developer merits
> >   * should be acquired while working on Kylin instead.  This should be
> >   * reviewed in six months, until then the Foundations team has agreed to
> >   * be formally responsible for the flavour and help out with mentoring,
> >   * sponsoring, and release engineering.
> So the actual quote during the meeting appears to have been:
>  <stgraber> I guess I'll be talking with slangasek on whether he'd be
>             happy to be a temporary flavour lead for Kylin (or have
>             Foundations do that) until they are familiar enough with
>             everything and have upload rights to do all that themselves
> As he and I haven't had that conversation yet, I don't think this has
> actually been agreed so far. :-)
> Can you clarify what it would mean to be "formally responsible" here? 
> Speaking for Foundations we are interested in helping the UbuntuKylin team
> get up to speed and integrated into the Ubuntu developer community so they
> can be self-sustaining.  I'm a bit concerned that Foundations being
> "formally responsible" for anything here could get in the way of that goal,
> by leading people to have conversations with us that they should instead be
> having directly with the UbuntuKylin folks.  I realize there's a
> bootstrapping question here, and that it's hard to ramp up a new flavor if
> you're not already an Ubuntu developer, and therefore mentorship and support
> will be required.  But I'm keen to ensure it's understood that this *is*
> support, not leadership - the real leaders of UbuntuKylin are people in
> China like Jack, who have a direct understanding of the requirements.

Right, this is more a matter of a sort of regular meta-sponsor rather
than a leader.  The point of the UbuntuKylin flavour vs. the current
Chinese Edition images is that UbuntuKylin is run by people with their
feet on the ground who know what they're doing directly, rather than
operating at one remove.

We're working our way through https://wiki.ubuntu.com/RecognizedFlavors
here, and this is our first test of that process for the task of
approving an entirely new flavour.  My feeling is that when we wrote the
documentation we were envisaging something like Lubuntu that had been in
preparation in the Ubuntu archive for several release cycles before it
became official, rather than something like this which started only
quite recently and whose developers don't yet have Ubuntu upload
permissions and the like.  As a result we have a bit of a bootstrapping
problem with clauses such as "Image has track record of community
interested in creating, supporting and promoting its use" and "Flavor
lead identified and responsive though 6 month cycle".

I think what we've settled on is that, with support, we can start
getting daily builds up and running based on where UbuntuKylin is right
now.  They can't yet operate without sponsorship, advice, and general
advice, and I don't think the TB would be acting responsibly in
approving a new flavour without making sure that that framework would be
in place for them.  But I think we are all on the same page that the
goal is for the UbuntuKylin team to meet "Guidelines to become and
remain a recognized flavor" on their own merits when we review this in
six months' time.

My understanding is that "formally responsible" in Martin's minutes
should be read as something like "responsible but only for form's sake".
A better phrasing would be to say something along the lines of
indicating that the Foundations team has agreed to support the flavour
until such time as they can fend for themselves.  Would you be OK with

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at ubuntu.com]

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