Posted Oct 26, 2012 6:19 UTC (Fri) by Comet (subscriber, #11646)
Parent article: GNOME and/or systemd
It's simple in theory (which tells you how hard it is in practice): as a project, you come up with a portability statement which declares what you will expect to run on, and get folks to accept that this is a guiding goal of the project. I do say this as someone who's produced, and updated, the portability statement for an active open source project. Much less politics, much smaller community, but it worked.
At present, the angst comes from the "betrayal" felt by developers who've worked to build GNOME, working on their chosen OS, when their work is later taken by others and made unavailable to them by making the project not run on their OS. I happen to sympathise with them: if the project has supported many OSes, then it's part of the unwritten social project that they either continue to do so, or develop a backbone, step up, and state clearly what the new reality is.
As things stand, I'm left with an impression of politician, ducking away from answering the hard questions of their constituents. When you tell everyone what they want to hear, but don't do anything to make the decisions something which others can be asked to adhere to, or have their code rejected, then the current complaint is the natural consequence, and will keep happening. It happens with bad managers in corporations, too. Unsurprisingly, open source projects are not only not immune to this, but with a common meme of "you can't tell volunteers what to do", are more vulnerable to it. Indeed, you can't tell actual volunteers what to do, but you can lay down guidelines for what contributions will be accepted. You don't *have* to accept code just because someone wrote it.