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From Curt Arnold <carn...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Changing or repealing the Logging Services bylaws
Date Thu, 08 Feb 2007 22:06:55 GMT

On Feb 8, 2007, at 2:43 PM, Ceki Gülcü wrote:

> If I understand correctly, the idea is to circumvent the quorum
> requirement, i.e. collecting three +1 votes, so that the Logging TLP
> can vote instead of the people who are actually familiar with the
> work?

 From http://www.apache.org/foundation/voting.html
> Binding Votes:
> Who is permitted to vote is, to some extent, a community-specific  
> thing. However, the basic rule is that only PMC members have  
> binding votes, and all others are either discouraged from voting  
> (to keep the noise down) or else have their votes considered of an  
> indicative or advisory nature only.
> That's the general rule. In actual fact, things tend to be a little  
> looser, and procedural votes from developers and committers are  
> sometimes considered binding if the voter has acquired enough merit  
> and respect in the community. Only votes by PMC members are  
> considered binding on code-modification issues, however.
 From http://www.apache.org/foundation/how-it-works.html#structure

> The role of the PMC from a Foundation perspective is oversight. The  
> main role of the PMC is not code and not coding - but to ensure  
> that all legal issues are addressed, that procedure is followed,  
> and that each and every release is the product of the community as  
> a whole. That is key to our litigation protection mechanisms.

 From http://www.apache.org/dev/release.html

> Releases are, by definition, anything that is published beyond the  
> group that owns it. In our case, that means any publication outside  
> the group of people on the product dev list. If the general public  
> is being instructed to download a package, then that package has  
> been released. Each PMC must obey the ASF requirements on approving  
> any release. How you label the package is a secondary issue,  
> described below.

Each of those makes the PMC responsible for releases.  The PMC must  
vote on a release and while it definitely should take in to  
consideration any vote or opinion by non-PMC committers or community  
members, it can't delegate responsibility for ensuring that the  
release follows ASF requirements and licensing guidelines.  If a PMC  
member is not familiar with the work and have not checked it for  
sanity and legal issues, they should not vote on a release.   
Requiring a two-stage vote (once at the subproject level and once at  
the PMC level), either adds an almost identical vote (in log4j's case  
where the PMC and log4j committers are very close to the same set of  
people) or delays general PMC review of a release until 72 hours  
after the build has been proposed on a subproject where only a few  
PMC members are active.  Either situation can be addressed by either  
calling the PMC and project votes simultaneously or by PMC members  
joining a subproject vote, however those are ugly, but effective,  
hacks.  The two-stage vote in my opinion adds complexity without a  
corresponding benefit.

>>  For chainsaw, it has resulted in a weird
>> hybrid where chainsaw has its own project in the SVN and releases,
>> but is part of the log4j project for quorum issues (and potentially
>> other issues).
> That was by volition of Scott and Paul. At the time, I invited
> them to form a separate project and they declined. You should perhaps
> ask Scott and Paul whether they would like to become a separate
> sub-project.

Hopefully they are subscribed to this list and will participate in  
the thread.

>> In addition, there are some definitions in the bylaws
>> (IIRC some of the voting definitions) that conflict with other
>> definitions in more authoritative Apache documents.
> There ASF is based on delegation. Therefore, as long as the LS bylaws
> are in agreement with rules of the ASF, they are authoritative as far
> as the LS TLP is concerned.

The Foundation glossary defines "Lazy Approval" and "Lazy Consensus"  
as synonyms while the LS Bylaws has them as distinct terms with "Lazy  
Consensus" with a similar definition as "Consensus Approval".


If the bylaws are modified, it would be good to change occurrences of  
"Lazy Consensus" to "Consensus Approval" to be consistent with other  
ASF projects.

>> There have been previous discussions on bylaw changes to address
>> these issues, for example on general@logging.apache.org on 2005-07-01
>> (http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=apache-logging-  
>> general&m=112024592311861&w=2) which referenced earlier discussion on
>> the private pmc list, but there was no action taken.
>> The Board Resolution forming the LS PMC mandated the initial PMC
>> create a set of bylaws for the project (http://logging.apache.org/  
>> site/mission-statement.html).  The term "guidelines" appears to be
>> currently preferred for project level statements to avoid the legal
>> implications of bylaws.  For example, the ASF Bylaws (http://  
>> www.apache.org/foundation/bylaws.html) are a legal document that
>> governs the corporation and has to conform to corporate governance
>> laws in the State of Delaware.
> The LS bylaws (see http://logging.apache.org/site/bylaws.html )
> mentions the word "guideline" once.

The point was that the term "bylaws" has specific legal connotations  
and recent board discussions had preferred using the term  
"guidelines" for PMC level documents and reserving the "bylaws" term  
for the ASF bylaws which is a legal document.

>> Section 6.3 of the ASF Bylaws (http://www.apache.org/foundation/  
>> bylaws.html) places responsibility to establish rules and procedures
>> on the PMC chair.
> The foundation bylaws mandates the project chairman to establish
> project bylaws. However, once the bylaws are established, they should
> not and cannot be changed at the whim of one person. We already have
> bylaws. They can be changed as long as there is a 2/3 majority of the
> active PMC members. The 2/3 rule is there precisely to prevent the
> chairman from making arbitrary changes.
> Are you suggesting that the chairman has the power to change the LS
> project bylawys without approval of the PMC?

This reference was provided for background material on project  
governance.  It was not a threat of unilateral action.

>> There was an discussion on general@incubator.apache.org on 2005-09-12
>> that discussed the confusing state of ASF project bylaws (http://  
>> thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.apache.incubator.general/6144/ 
>> focus=6147).
>> I thought that I recently saw a thread on
>> general@incubator.apache.org that argued against projects having
>> bylaws (or guidelines) of their own as the ASF bylaws and other
>> documents were sufficient, but unfortunately I have not been able to
>> find that thread.
> As an open group, people are welcome to argue for or against any
> topic. The existence of a con argument does not mean it should be
> adopted here.

I was trying to enumerate all the pertinent discussions that could  
inform our discussion.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find a  
reference, but thought a description of the thread might be enough  
for someone else to fill in the details.

>> I would like to take steps that result in:
>> The LS project to be a single project with any number of products.
>> The PMC being the only decision making body.
>> Either no project guideline document or one that heavily defers to,
>> not duplicate or conflict with, http://www.apache.org documents.
>> A set of evolving process documents that describe best practices on
>> the project.
>> I would appreciate comments and will try to work on a draft.  A board
>> report is due for the Feb 21st meeting.  It would be great to get
>> this and several other issues resolved in the next week or so in
>> order to clear out some long pending issues.
> The idea behind the current structure is to delegate responsibility to
> the people actually doing the work. I still think that delegation is
> one of the core tenets of the ASF. Thus, after a given LS sub-project
> votes, and then makes a recommendation to the PMC, the PMC is very
> likely to endorse the recommendation. As far as I know, the LS PMC has
> always endorsed recommendations made by sub-projects.
> Instead of undoing the existing bylaws, I would suggest to expedite
> the PMC voting process. Moreover, nothing prevents a sub-project from
> granting committer access to an existing PMC member (hence mitigating
> the difficulty of reaching quorum.)

Thanks for your comments.

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