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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Policy update suggestion

OK, after writing an apparently controversial essay yesterday, I got some responses. For some unknown reason, most of them were regarding Patrick's retirement.

Although he was given as example, for some reasons this draws too much attention. I don't think it should.

So I had some thinking, and decided that much of the discussion is about performing as developer. Being "inactive" is some kind of definition, which is set in peoples' minds, and which is hard to argue with.

As I'm trying to be helpful (I hope), I would suggest a policy update, so future cases would be much easier for developers and Dev Rel project to deal with.

An existing policy for the matter is here:

  1. Developers Handbook, Part I, Ch. 3: What you get
  2. Developers Handbook, Part III : Policies
  3. Developer Relations Policy guide
All these are nice and good, but I can't find anywhere anything regarding developers tasks. What a developer should do?

So I'd propose the following policy update:

Issue a "Being a Gentoo developer" statement/policy/contract/document, you name it.

Have it structured for example, in following form:

Part I.
As a developer, you are expected to :
  1. Make ebuilds and commit them to a tree....
  2. Fix bugs...
  3. Be a part of one of the following projects and act according their policy:........
  4. ........
Part II.
In order to perform tasks defined by part I, you will be granted:
  1. With Gentoo email account
  2. With IRC cloak as a developer and some admin (op) privileges
  3. With Forums cloak as a developer
  4. Bugzilla high-level access
  5. CVS commit privileges
  6. Maillists
  7. Shell access
  8. .......
Part III
Being a developer means representing Gentoo. As such, you're expected to behave according to the following rules:

{ This is greatly explained in etiquette policy }

Part IV
We support developers having a life besides Gentoo. So, in cases when life becomes more important, and you cannot fulfill your tasks as a developer, following actions should be taken:

{ this is greatly described in "leaves of absense" policy }

Part V
If you do not perform you tasks, abuse resources given to you or not behave as described in etiquette policy, this contract will be considered "breached", and the following procedure will follow:
  1. You will be notified about you suspected being in a "breach" of this contract, and asked either to sease incorrect behavior or perform your tasks as required.
  2. You will be provided with "probation" time to see whether a change happens after notification.
  3. If after this period a situation is still the same, a board of chosen developers will vote for you retirement as developer.
  4. Some or all granted resources will be taken from you as a result of retirement.
  5. You will not represent Gentoo officially from that point on.
  6. Your return to Gentoo in any way will be a subject to a decision by a board of chosen developers.

I think that such a policy statement will define much better what being developer for Gentoo actually means and will make it easier to solve possible conflicts when something is not going right (purely subjective of course).

I don't want to say that this will solve all problems, but I hope it can help to resolve some and prevent others in the furture.

I would be glad for a feedback on this.


Kim said...

Way to go, Alex!

Looks very nice from a regular punters point of view. I wish it will motivate more people to become devs and to keep more devs active, or at least around.

Best of luck

Ben said...

I think this is a very good idea. Clear policy always is.

As a user of Gentoo, I don't have a problem with a hierarchal system of government, as long as a set of clear rules are in place.