On Tue, Dec 21, 2004 at 08:48:59PM +0800, Niclas Hedhman wrote:
Now, section 6.3 in the ByLaws of the ASF doesn't rhyme entirely correctly
with the quotes from the IRC session.
You said; The PMC is an artificial construct.
Section 6.3 forgets to mention that.
In essence, the PMC is constructed by the Chair. The Chair defines how
the PMC is gathered and its rules and policies. There is nothing in
the ASF Bylaws that specify any of that stuff. Just that there will be
The further connotation is that it isn't real. To some extent, it
really isn't since the Chair is free to change it as necessary.
So. Take to the extreme, a PMC is ephemeral. But as I pointed out
before, the Board has expectations of how a PMC is organized and run.
If the Chair gets too wonky, or plays too loose with it, then there
would be repercussions. My statement was merely an extrapolation to
the extreme. Not a statement of the typical.
You said; Aaron IS the PMC.
Section 6.3 uses the wording shall be primarily responsible for project(s)
managed by such committee
As I said in my other note, that phrase was from the point of view of
the Board. The Board doesn't deal with the PMC as a whole. When we
want to talk to the PMC, we talk to the Chair.
IANAL, and is not comfortable in trying to make the Section 6.3 clearer, but
beg those who a. understand the mechanics properly, b. capable of formulating
the language, c. has the authority to do so, to re-phrase into a more
accurate depictment of the PMC, its Chair vs its members.
I mean, if the PMC is purely advisory, then write that.
As mentioned above, when taken to the extreme, yes: it can be viewed
as advisory. But that is not the *typical* situation. The typical is a
consensus-run committee and the Chair is simply a normal voter. In
healthy PMCs, you hardly ever notice that one of the people happens to
have a funky VP behind his name. It really only surfaces when the
Chair asks for assistance with putting together the quarterly reports
to the Board.
This whole episode is also marred by Project ByLaw, which I have been told
does not to exist (or do they? confusion!), yet is mentioned that the PMC is
tasked to establish them.
Yah. It's a poor choice of wording since it leads to confusion with
the ASF Bylaws. And it also connotes that they are the ultimate law,
when (as Ken notes), they cannot actually countermand the directives
of the Board or the restrictions of the ASF Bylaws.
We have discussed on a number of occasions that we'd like to create a
single set of PMC Bylaws which would apply to *all* PMCs, and then
strike that text from the boilerplate TLP creation. Instead, we'd just
have some docco on here is how an ASF PMC normally operates.
And those established at Avalon seems partly being
contradictory to what Greg says (which I take as most authorative at this
I'm unclear on this part, so I'm not sure how to explain. By
contradictory, do you mean their existence should not have happened?
Assuming that was your point... no, they're fine. Many PMCs have
explicit Bylaws which describe how the PMC operates. But there are a
few issues with that:
1) as mentioned above, they are not the ultimate law
2) the term Bylaws can be confusing
3) in a properly functioning PMC, they are irrelevant (*)
So their presence can be helpful to describe to newcomers how things
work, but they need to be viewed in the proper context (and that
description is typically lacking).
(*) When I say irrelevant, let me describe a case in point:
The HTTPD PMC never consults any Bylaws. We don't really have
them. We simply use the standard ASF voting rules used on any dev
list. We know how to build consensus and we operate that way. There
are *very* few cases where we call a vote to *force* a direction.
Votes are used to examine whether consensus is present, rather than
to make a decision. We had a long discussion on the PMC a few weeks
ago where we stopped and called a vote. But that was mostly to try
and figure out what the various opinions were -- to clarify things.
The vote results didn't actually stick. In the end, the group
came up with a rough consensus and turned that over to Sander (the
Chair) to take action with.
Now, let me contrast that with behavior that I observed in the
Avalon PMC. On many occasions, there were fractures in the
consensus, so a vote was used to *force* a decision. But we voted
on it was the refrain. Yah, great. The result wasn't a consensus,
merely a vote result. With a true consensus, some few will agree to
abide with the majority opinion. They know they're the odd person
out, but respect the others and agree to back off. This didn't
happen often in Avalon; the minority felt pushed around and
disenfranchised and alienated. Eventually, they just left. The use
of votes was a mechanism for forcing a direction. All that was
needed was one more vote than