[CentOS-devel] Minutes for CentOS Board of Directors 2019-11-13 Meeting

Karsten Wade

kwade at redhat.com
Fri Jan 3 20:22:16 UTC 2020

Tim et al interested in the idea of an observer status for CentOS Board meetings.

We discussed that and some related ideas within the context of additions to
governance, covered under the "refresh goals" section (item 2) of the meeting


These ideas can all be discussed among all of us as part of the public process
around those goals.

We'll get together a few stakeholders/interested parties to work through this
during the first quarter of 2020, all as a public and transparent process mostly
here on centos-devel and within some shared/versioned content location e.g.
git.centos.org. I'm also thinking of hosting some writing sprints around this
at the CentOS Dojo before FOSDEM in four weeks.

Best wishes to all in this New Year,

- Karsten

----- Original Message -----
> Karsten,
> Thanks for the updates and all of the directors efforts in the direction of
> more transparency. These initiatives do take time to evolve and from our
> side, we appreciate the work which is going on.
> One possible option for the future would be to provide observer status for
> the board meetings. This would allow interested parties to listen in and
> follow the activities. My experience of open source project board meetings
> is that this also helps for those who might be interested to get involved in
> project governance to understand the discussions (and in some cases
> determine there are other areas they would prefer to devote their efforts
> :-)
> Tim
> > On 13 Dec 2019, at 20:03, Karsten Wade <kwade at redhat.com> wrote:
> > 
> > Hi Patrick,
> > 
> > Sorry I missed this before, just found the discussion when working on the
> > current agenda. I'll be sure to watch more carefully in the future, part
> > of the reason for sending to this list is to have these discussions.
> > 
> > Rest of my lengthy answers inline below:
> > 
> > On 11/27/19 9:34 AM, Patrick Laimbock wrote:
> >> That's great news. Will the process be similar to how it's done in the
> >> Fedora Project [1]? So with a public list of nominees, published
> >> interview with each nominee and public voting results? Is there a way for
> >> the Community to (self-)nominate?
> > 
> > Jim already gave a succinct answer, but I thought you might be interested
> > in my complete response.
> > 
> > The short metaphorical answer is, where it comes to good transparency, the
> > Board is just learning to crawl. As much as we want to begin working
> > toward a marathon, we know we need to get through to learning to walk
> > first.
> > 
> > In order to be successful at what you describe, we need more time as an
> > active and proper open source project.
> > 
> > Fedora Project existed for many years with a high standard of transparency
> > before the original Fedora Board was created. It then started as a blend
> > of appointed (like me!) and elected Board members. Having been through
> > that evolution, I have an intimate idea of how much longer it can take and
> > more complex it can be than the ideal of e.g. starting from scratch with a
> > new project.
> > 
> > By comparison, my reckoning is the CentOS Project only began to act like a
> > proper open source project around the time the Virt SIG was created to
> > support the Xen kernel. Of course, the joining of forces with Red Hat was
> > at the core an effort to create a contributor-centric project but
> > primarily around the SIGs; we left other parts e.g. core Linux building
> > alone as "don't break". Not forever, but for a while, and now that five
> > yeas has passed, it's more than time to improve those parts, too.
> > 
> > We've built on that plan with SIGs so now it is possible to contribute to a
> > sizeable part of the project. But with the mix of legacy infrastructure,
> > technical and governance debt from the last 7+ years, and the changing
> > needs of a contributor base ...
> > 
> > Frankly IMO, today we do not have a large enough community of leaders who
> > could be nominated, nor a mature enough contributor base to hold voting.
> > This is largely the fault of the existing leadership, specifically those
> > of us on the Board of Directors. Lack of transparency and lack of focus on
> > growing leaders I think are at the core of that situation. People have
> > stepped up and tried, and not been enabled or supported as well as they
> > could have been.
> > 
> > The project has definitely been moving toward better transparency, to the
> > point where the most obvious transparency problems are at the top of the
> > governance.
> > 
> > So we need a little more time before holding open elections in order to
> > realize things such as transparency norms, consistent and productive
> > meetings, and clear evolution.
> > 
> >> For better Community coverage perhaps CentOS Board related postings could
> >> also be sent to the centos-announce and centos mailinglists?
> > I'm a bit on the fence about this because I'm not sure it's on topic for
> > centos@, but maybe it's OK and not much noise to add to that list?
> > 
> > What I mean about on-topic is that the Board deals with issues affecting
> > contributors, who themselves are the interaction points with their
> > userbase. If I were an end user of e.g. RDO, I would find it confusing
> > that in addition to RDO leadership there is this group above the Cloud SIG
> > making decisions, should I be worried about them, what is going on, etc.
> > 
> > So the norm so far has been to have SIGs communicate with their userbases,
> > including the Core SIG and CentOS Linux users. (Don't be too confused that
> > some of the people in the Core SIG are also Directors; in wearing
> > different hats, we have to be prepared to speak from different authority
> > points.)
> > 
> > We can change up that norm, but I think it's worth discussing with the SIG
> > leaders how they want Board communication handled for their userbase. Does
> > that make sense?
> > 
> > So for this time I'm just sending to the contributor list and posting on
> > the blog. Let's keep discussing and see if there is a consensus on if and
> > how to include the userbase in this transparency, perhaps as soon as the
> > Jan 2020 meeting.
> > 
> > Best regards,
> > 
> > - Karsten
> > 
> > --
> > Karsten Wade [he/him/his]| Senior Community Architect | @quaid
> > Red Hat Open Source Program Office (OSPO) : @redhatopen
> > https://community.redhat.com | https://next.redhat.com |
> > https://theopensourceway.org
> > gpg: AD0E0C41 | https://red.ht/sig
> > 
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Karsten Wade [he/him/his]| Senior Community Architect | @quaid
Red Hat Open Source Program Office (OSPO) : @redhatopen
https://community.redhat.com | https://next.redhat.com | https://theopensourceway.org
gpg: AD0E0C41 | https://red.ht/sig

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