Re: Resolution 2009-03-16.jrk.1: OpenWRT as associated project [revised]

From: Ian Jackson <ijackson(at)chiark(dot)greenend(dot)org(dot)uk>
To: Josh Berkus <josh(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Cc: board(at)spi-inc(dot)org, Jimmy Kaplowitz <jimmy(at)spi-inc(dot)org>, spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org, secretary(at)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: Resolution 2009-03-16.jrk.1: OpenWRT as associated project [revised]
Date: 2009-03-18 11:22:18
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Josh Berkus writes;
> Actually, that's not what I'm personally worried about. What I'm
> worried about is:

These are the right questions, I think. Given what I'm about to say
I've changed the names to Alice and Bob of the FreePLNK project, to
make it clearly hypothetical.

> -- If Alice says "Pay $628 for travel expenses to Joe Speaker", do we
> have to check with Bob before paying? Or Not?

As I say, I think the liason's role is to communicate a decision
properly made. So Alice should say `and this has been approved by
Bob' or something.

> -- What if Bob says, "No, don't pay that."?

If Alice said `... and this has been approved by Bob' then this
means either that Alice was shading the truth, or that some new
information has come to light meaning that they've changed their mind.

I would expect that if Alice had been dishonest Bob would leave us in
no doubt about that. In which case we make sure that the whole
FreePLNK project knows about this dispute, and in the meantime try to
preserve the status quo until the shitstorm has subsided and a clear
conclusion has emerged. Obviously we don't expect this to happen very

But more likely is that this just means that they've changed their
minds so we should take Bob's message as a request to belay the
earlier instruction.

> What if it happens after we've already cut the check?

That might be tough luck for FreePLNK. In general for this reason I
would expect that for large sums for previously-unforeseen purposes we
would be a little more careful.

> -- If both Alice and Bob attend a board meeting, and one supports a
> measure and the other doesn't, what should we think the position of
> FreePLNK on the measure is?

Alice and Bob should each represent the position of FreePLNK, rather
than their personal views. If they don't agree on that then we should
tell them to go away and come back when the dispute is sorted out.

Our lists and meetings are not the appropriate place for them to
discuss their disagreements both because we don't want to have to get
involved and because the FreePLNK project _should_ be involved, via
their own fora.

> -- Why should FreePLNK have two people speaking for it at a Board meeting
> when other projects have only one (excepting board members, of course)?
> If one one is going to speak at a time, why designate them both as
> liaison?

One very good reason two have two people might be so that one of them
can act when the other is unavailable. Or to have one of them `watch
over the shoulder' of the other. Certainly in all of the situations
we've described I would expect all of the instructions from Alice to
be CCd to Bob and vice versa.

> In other words, I'm not worried about a crisis of representation, but
> rather about day-to-day confusion about what the FreePLNK project
> actually wants. Having two liaisons at the same time is just begging
> for that kind of confusion. Have the guys take alternate months or
> something, I don't care, but let's not have two at the same time.

I don't think this is a problem in practice. We need to be perfectly
clear that Alice and Bob need to represent to us the actual
already-decided position of FreePLNK. The liason's job is
communication, after all.

> I also think that with two liaisons, Alice and Bob each are going to
> think more about their own opinions and less about representing their
> projects.

That surely is a matter for the FreePLNK project to consider.


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