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Re: [steering-discuss] funding for system operations meeting

Hi David,

David Nelson wrote on 2011-08-01 11:05:

I know you work tremendously hard for the project, and you have a lot
of respect and gratitude from me from that, which you know I have
expressed on- and off-list various times. Let me take the chance to
say again that, without your *personal* efforts, this project would
probably fall apart. Literally.

thanks for those kind words, they are really appreciated. I think it's a great team effort, and everyone contributes a lot to make happen what happens. It's not only the spokespeople or the SC, but everyone from the community is doing just amazing and magical things here that really impress me every day!

No, this is in no way directed towards you personally. Nor do I ever
say that "everything is bad". But that doesn't mean that one should
not point out undesirable tendencies (in a measured and rational
manner) before they get to be ingrained habits.

Of course, any constructive criticism is highly appreciated. It would be a lie if I said that you are not getting blind over time, when you are heavily involved in such a project - so feedback from others is indeed very helpful.

And I do understand that, in a FOSS project, we always have to take
account of people's time limitations. However, when one is managing
the project's key infrastructure as a rather closed group, one does
have a bit of a commitment to especial responsiveness, within
reasonable limits. In any case, it's certainly what I try to apply
with my own piece of infrastructure.

My point is that the sysadmins team is perhaps not developing the
right culture in terms of openness and participation, and that it
would be good to open it up a bit. This is my 2 cents, others may not
see things like that, but...

I only agree partially. I think the sysadmin team is a very special case for any project. The core group has full root access to all servers, so it requires a lot of knowledge, trust and and working together. I consider it highly important that everyone knows the others from face to face meetings, and that the core group is not too large, out of organizational and security considerations, but also out of liability issues.

This does not mean, of course, that this core group has to do all the tasks. We can have SilverStripe and wiki admins, mailing list moderators and other people working on the infrastructure, but not everyone needs to be a part of the core group. In other words: A wiki admin does not need root SSH access to our machines.

What I agree to is that the work of the infrastructure team is not transparent enough at the moment, and we indeed are working on that. We plan to have some more information on the team and its work publically soon, that's something we agreed during that meeting.

However, in some terms, the core group will always be a bit more closed than the rest of the project, because it needs to out of security considerations and the special framework they work in. We just cannot give everyone insight into our systems, that's just too much of a risk.

For that particular meeting, we indeed did not want to have it open. We wanted to have that core group together. We had lots of things to work on and discuss, also lots of security-relevant stuff, and there simply was no time for a "meet and greet the admins".

Talking about you especially, with hosting one of the machines that we are using, indeed I missed to tell you about that meeting. But if I remembered to do so, this would not have been done in public anyways, because that meeting was not meant to be public.

Hope that makes some things a bit clearer. :-)

For the particular questions I could have raised, I'll mail you
off-list. In which case, I perfectly accept that it will take you time
to consider and respond, because I know you have a lot on your plate.

Sure, just drop me a mail and we'll see. You can also mail all the admins at if the mail is intended for all of them.

We indeed plan to make some senseful contact mechanism available for the admin team, e.g. we're currently investigating BugZilla and OTRS for that.

However, sometimes things will simply take their time, as we are all just a group of volunteers doing things in their spare time.

Once again, you definitely should not read all the above posts as any
kind of criticism of you personally. You should probably be aware by
now that I hold your work for the project in very high regard.

Thanks a lot!


Florian Effenberger <>
Steering Committee and Founding Member of The Document Foundation
Tel: +49 8341 99660880 | Mobile: +49 151 14424108
Skype: floeff | Twitter/ @floeff

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