[talk] FreeBSD Governance, Foundation/Project

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Thu Jun 13 10:50:56 EDT 2019

On Thu, Jun 13, 2019 at 7:59 AM Isaac (.ike) Levy <ike at blackskyresearch.net>

> 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.

Agreed. However, the Foundation isn't governing the project today. Like
anybody else with money and interest, they are funding different things,
but they have no say in the day-to-day operations of the project. If
there's areas I'm blind to where that's not the case, I'm all ears.

> 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.

Agreed too. However, if I can't counter the points made, especially when
they are not factually correct, how can that criticism result in any real
change? Criticism is a two way street, and what's needed is a dialog. And
this session was real-time feedback to his criticism with criticism of the

> 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.

Let's just say we disagree on this point: he was heard and people in the
room reacted not personally to him, but rather to the points he was making.
This was a developer summit, and the notion of the talk was that it would
be a discussion. Discussions involve give and take, and in small groups
interruptions are the norm. It's not like the more formal part of the
conference where it's supposed to be more of a presentation. Keep in mind
that many of the people in the room had been involved in the project
closely for a long time so are the experts on how things work. It didn't
help that Mr Dexter was unwilling to concede that many of his points
omitted critical context that when present undermined the very points he
was trying to make. All of that makes it hard for me to see whatever
kernels of truth might be hidden in his talk, so below I ask for someone to
dig them out so they can be discussed. I agree completely with your point
that we should separate the message from the messenger to see what might be
there or not.

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

Perhaps you could go through the video and briefly summarize his points?
The room was unreceptive to many of them because they perceived the issues
that weren't actual problems, or because his points were severely
undermined because he didn't take the time to research relevance,
truthfulness and greater context of the statements he was making. The
points were further obscured by equivocation and inclusion of useless
trivia (spelling? Really?). So to get away from all that, perhaps someone
can summarize a few of his key points for discussion to avoid the
distraction of his presentation.

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