DMB: Proposal for a different review process

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at
Wed Aug 3 21:46:29 UTC 2011

On Wednesday, August 03, 2011 05:29:07 PM Chase Douglas wrote:
> On 08/03/2011 02:05 PM, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> > On Wednesday, August 03, 2011 04:06:26 PM Chase Douglas wrote:
> >> On 08/03/2011 12:44 PM, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> >>> On Wednesday, August 03, 2011 03:04:14 PM Chase Douglas wrote:
> >>>> On 08/02/2011 09:33 AM, Chase Douglas wrote:
> >>> I think it's really up to the DMB to decide how they want to run their
> >>> application process.  I think you should let them figure it out with
> >>> our input. There appeared to me to be a very different ratio of
> >>> liking/not-liking your proposal based on if someone was employed by
> >>> Canonical or not.  I would suggest that given the current level of
> >>> pressure on the membership boards by various Canonical people that this
> >>> would be a particularly good time NOT to be pushing about trying to
> >>> force a process change on them.
> >> 
> >> Please, stop assuming input here has anything to do with Canonical. I
> >> can state unequivocally that my input has nothing to do with who I work
> >> for. I am but an Ubuntu developer here. If it helps, I've used my
> >> email address to make it even more clear :).
> >> 
> >> I also do not believe anyone is trying to whitewash things for
> >> Canonical. I want to point out a few things:
> >> 
> >> 1. Many Canonical employees started out as Ubuntu members before they
> >> were employees. I doubt they are now trying to subvert a community they
> >> were and currently are a part of.
> >> 2. I have not seen anyone at Canonical apply for membership levels that
> >> did not make sense for that individual. I am unaware of anyone being
> >> granted membership based even in part on their status as a Canonical
> >> employee.
> >> 3. There are many Canonical employees who do not participate in Ubuntu.
> >> I have not seen any of them try to subvert the Ubuntu community.
> >> 4. I have no numbers here, but I believe if you look at the percentage
> >> of top Ubuntu contributors you will find that many also happen to be
> >> Canonical employees. If you filter them out, you may be forsaking
> >> valuable input from a large portion of the community.
> >> 
> >> Every once in a while there may be a case where an individual Canonical
> >> employee has stepped out of bounds. I feel I can guarantee that it was
> >> not done to harm the Ubuntu project or community, but the end result may
> >> have been just that. Where I have seen that happen, I believe the
> >> parties have taken responsibility and corrected their actions. However,
> >> I see no reason to believe there is a systemic problem.
> >> 
> >> If you believe there is a problem, please bring it up in whole in a
> >> separate thread. Comments like this do nothing but poison the
> >> conversation. Please judge things on their merits, not on who the
> >> contributor is employed by.
> > 
> > Much of this entire discussion was started by Canonical employees wanting
> > special case treatment for upstream work sponsored by Canonical.  It was
> > a Canonical employee that proposed to the Tech Board, without even
> > consulting with the DMB first, to change how the DMB could assess
> > applications and restrict their ability to deny applications.  Multiple
> > members of multiple boards have complained they feel like they are
> > subject to harassment from Canonical managers if they don't approve a
> > Canonical applicant.  The agree/disagree ratio on your proposed change
> > in how to change the application process was roughly reversed depending
> > on if someone was employed by Canonical or not.
> > 
> > I think there is a serious split between the Canonical and non-Canonical
> > parts of the community right now and trying to pretend it doesn't exist
> > doesn't help.  I think it is broad and systematic.  I don't believe it's
> > intentional. I do believe it's a problem.
> If that's the case, then I am unaware of it. I will take your word for
> it, and would tend to agree with you if what you have stated is full and
> accurate. I apologize for any unbeknownst mistakes in my
> characterization of the relationship between Canonical and Ubuntu.
> However, please understand that I have nothing to do with any of that
> (other than ancillarily dragging myself into the upstream contributions
> discussion without knowing anything of it). Everything I read here on
> ubuntu-devel from Canonical employees appears to be unbiased to me. If
> you see bias, please feel free to call it out, but I haven't seen
> anything. However, do not assume that the intentions of everyone who
> works at Canonical are biased, and please evaluate input on the merits
> of the input alone.

I don't think bias is the right word.  I think there is a tendency to have a 
different perspective.  I don't think anyone is being evil or disingenuous.  I 
think that different perspective causes us to have different views of what the 
project is and thus what is an appropriate criteria for membership, etc, much 
of the recent discussion.

As you've seen, several people who have been given the task by the community 
to evaluate membership and developer applications find the IRC discussions 
beneficial and want to keep them execept in exceptional cases.  I think you 
should respect that.  I don't think going ahead with your test case is 
respectful of that preference or their role.  I would think that regardless of 
who you worked for.

In the broader sense though, I would ask you too look at the pattern.  It is 
real.  I don't know why it's there, but it is.  It may have to do with 
Canonical's rapid growth in recent years so there are many people working for 
Canonical on things that are related to, but not part of Ubuntu that don't 
have the experience with the project to have a good feel for it.

Scott K

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