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Old 05-03-2010, 12:20 AM
Kevin Kofler
 
Default Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

Hi,

You will have noticed by now that my FESCo term is about to expire, that the
nomination period for FESCo just closed and that my name does not show up on the
list of candidates. No, this is not an accident or negligence, the decision not
to run for another term was intentional, for several reasons:

* When I ran for election a year ago, one of my reasons for running, and also
something I made part of my campaign, was that it shouldn't always be the same
people who are sitting on FESCo. We have a much higher number of active
contributors than FESCo seats, so it makes sense to see some turnover
happening. So it would be very hypocritical from me to attempt to sit another
year on FESCo myself, now that I'm myself a FESCo "veteran".

* I have never been a committee person and have always hated sitting on
meetings. I have done it anyway for a year because I believed it to be
important for the good of the project. But I'm really fed up of those meetings
(I'm feeling burned out) and prefer focusing on more practical, less political
areas of Fedora. The fact that I don't feel my presence in those meetings
being of much if any use (more on that later) doesn't help either.

* When looking back at what happened over the year I've been in office, I have a
feeling that I have been able to acheive basically nothing:
- The vast majority of votes were either unanimous or 8-1 against me. In both
cases, my vote was entirely redundant. Even for more contested votes, my
vote hardly ever mattered.
- Any attempts to discuss those issues where everyone was against me went
nowhere. In most cases, people rushed out a vote without even considering
the real issue at hand and then shot down any discussion with "we already
voted, we want to move on". In those few cases where there actually was a
discussion, my position was always dismissed as being ridiculous and not
even worth considering, my arguments, no matter how strong, were entirely
ignored.
- Basically any proposal I filed was systematically shot down. Even things
which should be obvious such as:
. calling GNOME by its name rather than the generic "Desktop" or
. eliminating the useless bureaucratic red tape of FESCo ratification for
FPC guidelines which just wastes everyone's time and constitutes pure
process inefficiency
got only incomprehension.
I have come to the conclusion that it is just plain impossible for a single
person to change FESCo's ways and that therefore I am just wasting my time
there.

* I am very unhappy about FESCo's recent (and not so recent, which were what
made me run in the first place) directions. The trend is steady towards
bureaucracy and centralization:
- Maintainers are continuously being distrusted. It all started with the
provenpackager policy, where every single provenpackager has to be voted in
by a FESCo majority vote, as opposed to letting any sponsor approve people
as provenpackagers as originally planned, or just opening all our packages
to everyone as was the case in the old Extras. From there, things pretty
much degenerated and we're now at a point where FESCo no longer trusts
maintainers to know when an update to the packages they maintain is stable,
instead insisting on automatically-enforced bureaucracy which will never be
as reliable and effective as a human. The fact that we trust our maintainers
used to be one of the core values of the Fedora community. It has been
replaced by control-freakiness and paranoia.
- All the power in Fedora is being centralized into 2 major committees: the
Board and FESCo. FESCo is responsible for a lot of things all taking up
meeting time, leading to lengthy meetings and little time for discussion.
Many of those things could be handled better in a more decentralized way.
Power should be delegated to SIGs and technical committees wherever
possible, FESCo should only handle issues where no reponsible subcommittee
can be found or where there is disagreement among affected committees. In
particular, I suggest that:
. FPC guidelines should be passed directly by FPC, only concrete objections
should get escalated to FESCo.
. membership in packager-sponsors and provenpackager should be handled by
the sponsors, with a process to be defined by them (my suggestion:
provenpackager should take 1 sponsor to approve and no possibility to
object or veto, sponsor should take 3 sponsors to approve and objections
can be escalated to FESCo).
. features should get approved by the responsible SIG or committee (e.g.
FPC for RPM features, KDE SIG for KDE features etc.). The feature wrangler
should decide on a SIG to hand the feature to for approval, or even accept
features filed directly into "approved" by the responsible SIG, and FESCo
would be responsible only where there is no clearly responsible SIG, or
to arbitrate when a SIG is trying to make a change which affects other
SIGs without their consent.
Unfortunately, these suggestions are falling on deaf ears, in fact I filed
the first suggestion as an official proposal (as it looked very obvious to
me, the ratification process is pure bureaucracy) and it was shot down (also
due to the FPC chair claiming FPC doesn't want this, despite at least 2 FPC
members having spoken out rather favorably). I think a more decentralized
approach (in general, not just for FPC guidelines) would be more efficient,
more democratic, less bureaucratic and less corporate and would increase
overall maintainer happiness by reducing the impression of the "diktat from
above".
- The prevailing opinion of the electorate of Fedora contributors keeps
getting ignored. Feedback on the Fedora devel mailing list is never seen as
in any way binding, it's often dismissed as noise or "trolling". The
predominant opinion in FESCo is "you voted for us, now we get to do whatever
we want", which is flawed in many ways:
. It assumes there were true alternatives to vote for instead. This
assumption does not look true to me.
. It assumes the voters were aware of the positions of all the candidates.
I'm fairly sure this was not the case. While I appreciate what has been
done in an attempt to solve this issue (questionnaire, townhalls), this
has proven by far insufficient to build an opinion on the candidates. I
think there's a reason representative democracies normally work with
parties/factions and I think something like that might help a lot,
depending on what kind of factions would show up.
. It assumes representative democracy is a well-working model in the first
place, especially in its most hardcore form ("now we get to do whatever we
want"). I believe elected representatives should really REPRESENT the
people who voted them. I realize politicians aren't doing that, but are
they really a good model to follow?
I believe listening more to the feedback on the devel ML and taking it into
account during decision-making would reduce frustration with FESCo a lot.
- The prevailing opinion of Fedora users keeps getting ignored. See e.g. Adam
Williamson's poll about the kind of updates users expect from Fedora, its
clearcut majoritarian result, and FESCo and the Board both planning to do
the exact opposite.
- Common sense is just generally lacking, see e.g. the decision that the GNOME
spin should continue being called "Desktop Spin", despite evidence that this
is confusing many users, both the ones actively looking for GNOME and the
ones who want some other desktop. And that's just one such nonsensical
decision, the one I remember best because this is an issue I care much
about.
I do not wish to stand for such a committee anymore (in fact I probably should
have resigned much earlier, as I've just been frustrated and burned out for
more than half of the term, but I didn't because my feeling of responsibility
was too strong) and, as pointed out before, I feel powerless to change
anything.

Therefore, I will stay in office until the end of my term, but I will not be
available for reelection. I would like to thank the people who voted for me last
year for their support and apologize to those who would have liked to vote for
me this time for not giving them this opportunity. If you would like a KDE SIG
person in FESCo, vote for Steven M. Parrish (and vote for Rex Dieter for the
Board). But if you want to see the kind of change to FESCo I'd like to see,
it'll take a faction of at least 5 people to make it happen.

Kevin Kofler

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Old 05-03-2010, 06:04 AM
Kevin Kofler
 
Default Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

Sir Gallantmon (ニール・ゴンパ) wrote:
> Though, there are some instances where the prevailing opinion should be
> ignored, when there is no solid evidence to back it up, e.g. Mono and the
> like.

Indeed, I also think defending freedom is important (and it was part of my
campaign). But I've also been unhappy with FESCo's decisions in that domain,
e.g.:
* libvdpau was approved for Fedora. This is a library which:
- only accelerates decoding patent-encumbered MPEG family video codecs.
ALL software which uses that is in RPM Fusion, not Fedora, anyway.
- has no actual Free Software implementations. It is ONLY implemented by
proprietary drivers.
So what does Fedora have to gain from this pseudo-Free library?
* in at least 2 occasions, so-called "Open Core" [1] crippleware has been
not only approved for Fedora (which makes sense, as IMHO we should accept
everything under a Free license and with no patent issues as a Fedora
package), but advertised as a Fedora Feature, which I consider to be
completely counterproductive, as it gives free press coverage to such
crippleware and sends a message to companies that releasing some crippled
shareware version under a Free Software license is enough to get your
product advertised as Free or "Open Source" all over the planet. My
complaints about giving free advertising to such crippleware have been
entirely ignored.

[1] http://www.ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2009/10/16/open-core-shareware.html

Kevin Kofler

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Old 05-03-2010, 10:53 AM
Jaroslav Reznik
 
Default Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

On Monday 03 May 2010 02:20:51 Kevin Kofler wrote:
> Hi,
>
> You will have noticed by now that my FESCo term is about to expire, that
> the nomination period for FESCo just closed and that my name does not show
> up on the list of candidates. No, this is not an accident or negligence,
> the decision not to run for another term was intentional, for several
> reasons:
>
> * When I ran for election a year ago, one of my reasons for running, and
> also something I made part of my campaign, was that it shouldn't always be
> the same people who are sitting on FESCo. We have a much higher number of
> active contributors than FESCo seats, so it makes sense to see some
> turnover happening. So it would be very hypocritical from me to attempt to
> sit another year on FESCo myself, now that I'm myself a FESCo "veteran".
>
> * I have never been a committee person and have always hated sitting on
> meetings. I have done it anyway for a year because I believed it to be
> important for the good of the project. But I'm really fed up of those
> meetings (I'm feeling burned out) and prefer focusing on more practical,
> less political areas of Fedora. The fact that I don't feel my presence in
> those meetings being of much if any use (more on that later) doesn't help
> either.
>
> * When looking back at what happened over the year I've been in office, I
> have a feeling that I have been able to acheive basically nothing:
> - The vast majority of votes were either unanimous or 8-1 against me. In
> both cases, my vote was entirely redundant. Even for more contested votes,
> my vote hardly ever mattered.
> - Any attempts to discuss those issues where everyone was against me went
> nowhere. In most cases, people rushed out a vote without even
> considering the real issue at hand and then shot down any discussion with
> "we already voted, we want to move on". In those few cases where there
> actually was a discussion, my position was always dismissed as being
> ridiculous and not even worth considering, my arguments, no matter how
> strong, were entirely ignored.
> - Basically any proposal I filed was systematically shot down. Even
> things which should be obvious such as:
> . calling GNOME by its name rather than the generic "Desktop" or
> . eliminating the useless bureaucratic red tape of FESCo ratification
> for FPC guidelines which just wastes everyone's time and constitutes pure
> process inefficiency
> got only incomprehension.
> I have come to the conclusion that it is just plain impossible for a
> single person to change FESCo's ways and that therefore I am just wasting
> my time there.
>
> * I am very unhappy about FESCo's recent (and not so recent, which were
> what made me run in the first place) directions. The trend is steady
> towards bureaucracy and centralization:
> - Maintainers are continuously being distrusted. It all started with the
> provenpackager policy, where every single provenpackager has to be
> voted in by a FESCo majority vote, as opposed to letting any sponsor
> approve people as provenpackagers as originally planned, or just opening
> all our packages to everyone as was the case in the old Extras. From
> there, things pretty much degenerated and we're now at a point where FESCo
> no longer trusts maintainers to know when an update to the packages they
> maintain is stable, instead insisting on automatically-enforced
> bureaucracy which will never be as reliable and effective as a human. The
> fact that we trust our maintainers used to be one of the core values of
> the Fedora community. It has been replaced by control-freakiness and
> paranoia.
> - All the power in Fedora is being centralized into 2 major committees:
> the Board and FESCo. FESCo is responsible for a lot of things all taking
> up meeting time, leading to lengthy meetings and little time for
> discussion. Many of those things could be handled better in a more
> decentralized way. Power should be delegated to SIGs and technical
> committees wherever possible, FESCo should only handle issues where no
> reponsible subcommittee can be found or where there is disagreement among
> affected committees. In particular, I suggest that:
> . FPC guidelines should be passed directly by FPC, only concrete
> objections should get escalated to FESCo.
> . membership in packager-sponsors and provenpackager should be handled
> by the sponsors, with a process to be defined by them (my suggestion:
> provenpackager should take 1 sponsor to approve and no possibility to
> object or veto, sponsor should take 3 sponsors to approve and objections
> can be escalated to FESCo).
> . features should get approved by the responsible SIG or committee
> (e.g. FPC for RPM features, KDE SIG for KDE features etc.). The feature
> wrangler should decide on a SIG to hand the feature to for approval, or
> even accept features filed directly into "approved" by the responsible
> SIG, and FESCo would be responsible only where there is no clearly
> responsible SIG, or to arbitrate when a SIG is trying to make a change
> which affects other SIGs without their consent.
> Unfortunately, these suggestions are falling on deaf ears, in fact I
> filed the first suggestion as an official proposal (as it looked very
> obvious to me, the ratification process is pure bureaucracy) and it was
> shot down (also due to the FPC chair claiming FPC doesn't want this,
> despite at least 2 FPC members having spoken out rather favorably). I
> think a more decentralized approach (in general, not just for FPC
> guidelines) would be more efficient, more democratic, less bureaucratic
> and less corporate and would increase overall maintainer happiness by
> reducing the impression of the "diktat from above".
> - The prevailing opinion of the electorate of Fedora contributors keeps
> getting ignored. Feedback on the Fedora devel mailing list is never
> seen as in any way binding, it's often dismissed as noise or "trolling".
> The predominant opinion in FESCo is "you voted for us, now we get to do
> whatever we want", which is flawed in many ways:
> . It assumes there were true alternatives to vote for instead. This
> assumption does not look true to me.
> . It assumes the voters were aware of the positions of all the
> candidates. I'm fairly sure this was not the case. While I appreciate what
> has been done in an attempt to solve this issue (questionnaire,
> townhalls), this has proven by far insufficient to build an opinion on the
> candidates. I think there's a reason representative democracies normally
> work with parties/factions and I think something like that might help a
> lot, depending on what kind of factions would show up.
> . It assumes representative democracy is a well-working model in the
> first place, especially in its most hardcore form ("now we get to do
> whatever we want"). I believe elected representatives should really
> REPRESENT the people who voted them. I realize politicians aren't doing
> that, but are they really a good model to follow?
> I believe listening more to the feedback on the devel ML and taking it
> into account during decision-making would reduce frustration with FESCo a
> lot. - The prevailing opinion of Fedora users keeps getting ignored. See
> e.g. Adam Williamson's poll about the kind of updates users expect from
> Fedora, its clearcut majoritarian result, and FESCo and the Board both
> planning to do the exact opposite.
> - Common sense is just generally lacking, see e.g. the decision that the
> GNOME spin should continue being called "Desktop Spin", despite evidence
> that this is confusing many users, both the ones actively looking for
> GNOME and the ones who want some other desktop. And that's just one such
> nonsensical decision, the one I remember best because this is an issue I
> care much about.
> I do not wish to stand for such a committee anymore (in fact I probably
> should have resigned much earlier, as I've just been frustrated and burned
> out for more than half of the term, but I didn't because my feeling of
> responsibility was too strong) and, as pointed out before, I feel
> powerless to change anything.
>
> Therefore, I will stay in office until the end of my term, but I will not
> be available for reelection. I would like to thank the people who voted
> for me last year for their support and apologize to those who would have
> liked to vote for me this time for not giving them this opportunity. If
> you would like a KDE SIG person in FESCo, vote for Steven M. Parrish (and
> vote for Rex Dieter for the Board). But if you want to see the kind of
> change to FESCo I'd like to see, it'll take a faction of at least 5 people
> to make it happen.

Kevin,
thanks for your (Don Quixote's) work in FESCo! You had a lot of supporters
here in the office! It's sad you don't want to fight windmills anymore but I
understand your reasons.

Jaroslav

> Kevin Kofler

--
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Software Engineer - Base Operating Systems Brno

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Mobile: +420 602 797 774
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:07 AM
Alex Hudson
 
Default Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

On Mon, 2010-05-03 at 02:20 +0200, Kevin Kofler wrote:
> But if you want to see the kind of change to FESCo I'd like to see,
> it'll take a faction of at least 5 people to make it happen.

Surely this is the point: if there are not sufficient candidates with a
particular point of view, that's hardly FESCo's (or anyone else's)
fault.

I think it's a bit disingenuous to talk about prevailing opinion of the
mailing list otherwise; to me a lot of the discussion looks an awful lot
like a vocal minority, and some of these issues (e.g., confusing the
name of the Desktop spin with others) have been pretty much done to
death and certainly aren't "obvious" to me.

Cheers

Alex.


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Old 05-03-2010, 11:21 AM
Guido Grazioli
 
Default Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

2010/5/3 Kevin Kofler <kevin.kofler@chello.at>:
> Hi,
>
> You will have noticed by now that my FESCo term is about to expire, that the
> nomination period for FESCo just closed and that my name does not show up on the
> list of candidates. No, this is not an accident or negligence, the decision not
> to run for another term was intentional, for several reasons:
>

Hi Kevin, i really like your motivations for being part of the fesco,
and voted and
supported you even if i dont agree on many of your points. I have the impression
many people feels the same frustration like me reading your open letter.

However, in your message you could have proposed something that would change
the way fesco works, instead of returning on those issues which have been
discussed, and voted, following the rules. I mean something like
giving each seater
the ability to throw a veto once, or discuss and vote issues on
separate meetings, or any
other different idea you could think of after your experience at the fesco.



--
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Via Parri 11 48011 - Alfonsine (RA)
Mobile: +39 347 1017202 (10-18)
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Linked in: http://www.linkedin.com/in/guidograzioli
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:41 AM
Christopher Brown
 
Default Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

Hi Kevin,

On 3 May 2010 01:20, Kevin Kofler <kevin.kofler@chello.at> wrote:

> You will have noticed by now that my FESCo term is about to expire, that the
> nomination period for FESCo just closed and that my name does not show up on the
> list of candidates. No, this is not an accident or negligence, the decision not
> to run for another term was intentional, for several reasons:

<snip>

I'm sorry to read this. Dissent is important and I for one believe
that someone fighting for the causes you represented was important. As
you have admitted, you are not a committee person so I hope you find
greater satisfaction in your change of direction. Being an engineer
will _always_ be more fun than being a bureaucrat.

Regards

--
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:41 PM
Mark Bidewell
 
Default Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

>
> Therefore, I will stay in office until the end of my term, but I will not be
> available for reelection. I would like to thank the people who voted for me last
> year for their support and apologize to those who would have liked to vote for
> me this time for not giving them this opportunity. If you would like a KDE SIG
> person in FESCo, vote for Steven M. Parrish (and vote for Rex Dieter for the
> Board). But if you want to see the kind of change to FESCo I'd like to see,
> it'll take a faction of at least 5 people to make it happen.
>
> * * * *Kevin Kofler
>
> --
> devel mailing list
> devel@lists.fedoraproject.org
> https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/listinfo/devel
>

I'm sorry to hear this as well. Fedora KDE has made great strides and
is in my opinion the premiere KDE distro. Thanks for your work!
--
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:47 PM
Bruno Wolff III
 
Default Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

Kevin, one way you might help for this election is add some questions to
the question that you think are important for voters to know about the
candidate.
So far only Paul and I have added questions, and I really think the
community needs to be more involved here.
As a reminder it's at:
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/F14_elections_questionnaire
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:26 PM
Kevin Kofler
 
Default Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

Sir Gallantmon (ニール・ゴンパ) wrote:
> Wait, I thought libvdpau had a VA-API backend?

AFAIK, no, there's only the opposite (a VDPAU backend for VA-API).

And VA-API also has no implementation in Free drivers other than a proof of
concept for the intel driver which:
* only supports MPEG 2, no MPEG 4,
* is not a true hardware implementation, but implemented as shaders, and
thus subject to software patents, which makes it unshippable in Fedora.

> And I thought Fedora included a crippled version of mplayer in its
> repositories?

We actually don't.

> Either way, it is true that VDPAU currently only works with MPEG formats,
> but nothing says that the library can't be modified to support other
> formats, does it?

AFAIK, all of the primitives supported are operations which are used only in
MPEG (most of them patented). Acceleration for Theora would have to be done
with a completely different API, and probably exclusively based on shaders
as no existing graphics card has a dedicated video unit with Theora support.
So the best way to accelerate Theora is probably to ignore those APIs
entirely and work directly with OpenGL shaders. Those APIs are focused on
what GPU video units do in hardware and that's just MPEG.

> If I'm wrong, then shouldn't it be RPM Fusion?

That's my point!

Kevin Kofler

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Old 05-03-2010, 02:27 PM
Roberto Ragusa
 
Default Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

Kevin Kofler wrote:

> I do not wish to stand for such a committee anymore

Kevin, thank you for your attempts and for raising attention
on the difficulties you have faced.

If some of the time you save by not doing meetings will be
spent on additional excellent technical contributions of yours,
Fedora will actually gain something.

So, if your decision is both positive for you and positive for
Fedora, there is nothing to be too sad about.

Respectfully,

--
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