Debconf5: Structural Evolution
Posted Jul 21, 2005 18:51 UTC (Thu) by syntaxis
Parent article: Debconf5: Structural Evolution
"Perhaps it is time to replace the DPL and Technical Committee with an elected leadership board."
This was indeed the main thrust of Bdale's speech (http://dc5video.debian.net/2005-07-12/08-Securing_the_Tes...) but it's a shame that this LWN piece fails to cover the ensuing discussion that the proposition sparked.
Below is my attempt at a transcript of one of the more interesting dialogues, where the DPL highlights something that he sees as a major obstacle to institutional reform within the project:
<Branden Robinson>: One of the concerns that we've seen crop up periodically over the years is that we can refactor the project leadership as much as we like but it's not going to do a lot of good if not everybody feels like they are part of the governed. And there are areas in the Debian Project that are vested with authority that predates the constitution. I've spoken with some of these people (and they've made postings over the years) - and they're not comfortable exactly with the idea of, say, the possibility of a madman DPL, for example. And I'm not sure that these same historical roles will be any more comfortable with a different thing. You know: "We've been doing this for ten years now. You can change the constitution, you can put a board in there, you can put a person in there... Do what you want, but in the end this work's still got to be done." There's no benefit to them in recognising...
<Bdale Garbee>: So there're a couple of fundamental things that come to mind when we start talking about this. One is that I think organisational structure - good organisational structure - very rarely does anything to guarantee success, but if you get the wrong struture it really can impede progress and success. That's sort of one idea. And the other one is that - it's been my observation that, every time I personally have ended up in the situation where I've started to think I was indispensable (and believe me, it's happened at various times in my history) - when something finally forced me to realise that that wasn't true, things in general sort of picked up pace and moved better as a result. And so there is this sort of trade-off, I think, between motivating participation and how you actually sort of keep from getting stuck in a rut or something. So... I don't know that I have any more brilliant ideas than that.
Anyway, it's good food for thought, I think...
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