GNOME: Havoc Pennington Proposes a Flamewar-Quelling "GNOME Enhancement Procedure"
Jun 19, 2001, 03:17 (49 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)
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By Michael Hall, Editor
GNOME 2.0 Release Manager Martin Baulig's resignation from his
position yesterday was part of a broader, more extended conflict
within the GNOME developer community. Havoc Pennington has written
a document, currently under discussion, that addresses the dynamics
that caused the conflict to become so protracted and proposes ways
to mend them.
Entitled "GNOME Enhancement Procedure," the document is centered
around "recommendations for how to review changes within modules.
It covers changes to libraries and APIs, and also major UI changes
and the like," writes Pennington in the document's
The plan calls for the creation of a
"gnome-enhancement-announce" mailing list, and a procedure that
requires maintainers of GNOME modules to publish "requests for
proposals" (RFPs) to that list when major changes may be required
of a given component. In addition, an ad-hoc "list of responsible
maintainers," must be designated, limited to members of the GNOME
Foundation (which is loosely defined as any contributor to the
overall project) and parties with specific technical expertise or
an immediate stake in the work in question.
To "create a conservative bias" and encourage
consensus-building, two-thirds majority votes are also required to
move forward from the RFP phase, which is used to describe the
design issues requiring resolution to a general discussion where
proposals on an actual solution are presented. The document calls
for a fourteen-day-long discussion period that may be: terminated
without action if no proposal is deemed adequate, extended for
further discussion, or ended with an expectation that a proposed
solution will be implemented.
Writes Pennington, "We need a way to make final decisions and
reach agreement on large changes to the GNOME Project. Otherwise,
arguments drag on endlessly about our technical direction, and
people feel the need to get the last and loudest word in
discussions because it's unclear when or how a decision will be
The complete document may be found at http://pobox.com/~hp/policy.html