[talk] FreeBSD Governance, Foundation/Project

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Wed Jun 12 18:24:17 EDT 2019

On Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 4:15 PM Warner Losh <imp at bsdimp.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 1:45 PM Isaac (.ike) Levy <
> ike at blackskyresearch.net> wrote:
>> Hi All,
>> I've just finished listening to a very long video, still digesting it all:
>> "AsiaBSDCon 2019 DevSummit: We don't see a problem. Suggestion of Project
>> Governance additions."
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4MetxUV4N0
>> These are the slides from the presentation,
>> https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1nu9WVp3-QgkDCQCT8eTAlyYLulADyflzCzmZ3-iX-V0/edit#slide=id.g54d9b68929_21_5
>> Attendees in the audience can be identified here:
>> https://wiki.freebsd.org/DevSummit/201903#Short_Talks
>> --
>> Summary: Michael Dexter is presenting on a number of issues and
>> challenges he sees facing the FreeBSD Project, which directly relate to
>> influence from the FreeBSD Foundation.  It's a tough but constructive
>> conversation, whereby MD is raising a number of important issues which I
>> believe are near and dear to many of us around NYC*BUG.
>> For almost every point, MD touches on something which has affected my
>> life around the FreeBSD project, (personally and professionally).  MD tries
>> hard not to posit all the solutions, but instead sparks a really long and
>> valuable discussion among FreeBSD devs, core, and Foundation folks.  The
>> talk isn't directly about code per-se, (but in the end, the issues are
>> deeply technical.)
>> With the stiff opposition in the room, and the patience, directness, and
>> openness MD exhibits in his presentation, I feel he deserves a commendation
>> from the community for raising these issues- and that this presentation
>> should perhaps be required viewing for any new Core/Foundation FreeBSD
>> folks.  Criticism and introspection is always difficult for projects we all
>> care so deeply about, but critical to growth and survival.
>> --
>> For those who have watched this, (or plan to, or were in the rooom), I'd
>> love to openly hear people's thoughts on topics raised?
>> In the years since the FreeBSD Foundation emerged, what have been it's
>> biggest success and failures for the FreEBSD project?  (Aside from the
>> obvious success of paying Glen Barber to stabilize RELENG :)
>> Do other people see value in MD's points, and even better yet, do people
>> have constructive ideas toward remediation for any of these issues?  Any
>> constructive/actionable asks of the Project or the Foundation?
> It's hard to know what MD's points were as they were shrouded in so much
> passive-agressive toxicity, half-truths and outright lies.
> This was a horrible presentation that was painful to sit through because
> he belabored so many points, committed so many logical fallacies (FreeBSD
> core and FreeBSD foundation are two entirely different things, despite
> having the word FreeBSD in them, for example). In addition, a number of his
> points were just wrong (yes, you can impeach core, for example). It was
> poorly researched, poorly organized and poorly presented. I had dozens of
> private messages from other people in the room commenting on just how
> painful it was to sit through in person.
> But then again, I'm the guy doing the table flipping on the phone because
> he was telling bald-faced lies about  me and when I tried to correct the
> context, he persisted in those lies.

Having said all that (and hitting send too soon), I'd like to add that the
core team welcomes feedback that's presented in a way that's easy to
digest, is well researched and done in a clueful manner. We're happy to
have a dialog with someone who is genuinely interested in identifying and
solving real problems with the structure of FreeBSD. However, the original
bylaws were written with an implicit 'you can trust core' bias. If you
can't trust core, then bylaws won't stop them from doing bad things. Of
course, they were written in an era of the project that was somewhat more
carefree than today and do reflect a certain naiveté of the time that's not
aged well.


P.S. Spelling mistakes? Why did he put that in a talk on governance?  ah,
ok. I've had my say, I'll go back to lurking...
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