[talk] FreeBSD Governance, Foundation/Project

Isaac (.ike) Levy ike at blackskyresearch.net
Thu Jun 13 09:59:06 EDT 2019

Hi Warner,

First off, I just want to state that I have great respect for your work on FreeBSD for many years.

We've all put so much of our lives into the *BSD's, I think it's worth recognizing and respecting everyone's shared investment- and Warner, yours is immense.

Obviously, this presentation (or presenter) touched a nerve for you- and while that's understandable, I find it unfortunate that your responses to this thread have effectively sucked all the air out of the room toward discussing the meat of the topic at hand.

Werner, this thread wasn't about you, but it sure is now- before this thread even got into any of the interesting points.  So, instead of constructively making progress discussing the FreeBSD Foudnation and it's working relationship to the project, I'll address some of your high points inline:

On Wed, Jun 12, 2019, at 6:15 PM, Warner Losh 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,

I've seen far worse presentations, (heck, even given some).  MD was certainly wrong on a few points, and conceded them to move forward.

Watching the video, MD is speaking with an audience of outright hostile participants, unwilling to stop and listen- interrupting consistently, and I can see it was certainly difficult for MD to keep things focused on the points raised.

With that, it sure as heck wasn't a slick presentation, given by a polished motivational speaker or skilled salesman, but I think the patience, directness, and openness MD exhibited to get the points of that presentation communicated was admirable.  There were even some good jokes in the material, IMHO.

> committed so many logical 
> fallacies (FreeBSD core and FreeBSD foundation are two entirely 
> different things, despite having the word FreeBSD in them, for 
> example). 

MD is not at all alone in feeling that the boundaries between the Foundation and the project have become dangerously ambiguous.  This alone is worth a deeper discussion.

> 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.

If that's true, then I feel these others in the room are not behaving in a manner worthy of their respective stations.  If you don't like a presentation, leave the room.  Otherwise, listen and engage like adults.

Private messages bemoaning a presenter, while he's presenting, is frankly juvenile- and unacceptable behavior for anyone on Core, or in the FreeBSD foundation.

A number of critiques raised would very much make the FreeBSD core team, and Foundation folks, uncomfortable.  That's the nature of criticism.  It sucks.  It's difficult to not take personally, difficult to overcome emotion to understand how to respond to criticism.  Handling criticism is just a core aspect of being in positions of leadership or administrative power.

MD is not some random person screaming at core on the street- MD spent his time trying to communicate his criticisms in the most appropriate, direct format possible- by looking everyone in the eye and trying to open a dialogue.  It's unfortunate that he would not be heard, and shameful that he would be personally attacked.

It's an even bigger waste that this thread is now about discussing this trivium, not the topics raised.

> 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.

Warner, for the sake of the project, I hope you can get to a place where you can openly, and calmly, listen and see that the points raised are far bigger than your specific context.  This drama does nothing for the project, focusing back on the issues does.

With my best intentions I also believe you should perhaps consider taking some time out of Core, to get a break and some perspective- and perhaps return again with a broader and more constructive outlook!


> Warner

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