[Dev] *URGENT* Proposal to organise Parabola

Nicolás Reynolds fauno at endefensadelsl.org
Fri Dec 5 14:32:05 GMT 2014

Icarious <icarious at hacari.org> writes:

> I had a brief chat with Emulatorman yesterday and we came to certain
> conclusions. It has come to our attention that there is a certain need
> to organise the Parabola project and open possibilities to accept
> donations and funds for a better future for the project.

i think i've been in emulatorman, lukeshu and other's place for the
first three years of the project.  i was spending time fixing servers,
replying email, pings at irc, building mips64el... then was that the
"ask anyone but fauno" policy started to work and i could delegate stuff
to others.  now you barely see me :)

we have to learn to delegate tasks in a working manner ("fooperson: hey
can you do this for me?" instead of "i wish someone would do this for
me..." while everyone's asleep) and loose a bit of control ("if don't do
it nobody will").  being stressed for others is no fun!

> As per https://www.parabola.nu/donate/ "At the moment, Parabola isn't
> accepting any money donations. And that's because we have nothing to
> do with them. We really don't, at the moment". However, there are
> developers who think otherwise and wish to get paid for the amount of
> work they do for Parabola by investing their time however we don't
> have a Donation policy yet.

i have contradictory feelings about accepting donations.  i think it's
good that people gets paid for their time on the project, that otherwise
would have to look elsewhere on jobs that aren't community-oriented,
fulfilling, etc.

but i also think we should be aware that money introduces complexities
and room for competition (how are we going to split rewards, "why does
s/he get paid more than me?", etc.) and also can configure the future of
the distro, by way of simply putting more reward in some features rather
than others.  this would be a problem, to me, if the donations don't
come from the community, who ideally would pay to develop features
useful for everyone, but from a company, who ultimately pays to develop
features that are commercially useful to them.

so i think accepting money in any way (donation, bounty, etc.) is a big
step that should be taken carefully and always thinking, not about the
income, but in the actual community.

> But before framing up a donation/ fund policy we need to organise
> ourselves to deal with such matters. As Parabola is a volunteer and
> community based project and does not wish to have any Project leader,
> here are my proposals.

:) this should be key in this discussion

> 1) We form a committee which consists of every recognised Parabola
> Developer. This committee will have two main functions, one internal
> and one external. In the external function, the committee represents
> the Parabola Project to others. This involves giving talks and
> presentations about Parabola, as well as building good relationships
> with other Free Software organisations, FSDG adhering Projects and
> upstream (Uploading Parabola Packages to AUR, reporting bugs to arch
> etc).

a little history.  when we were first discussing how parabola would be
organized, we thought it was important that not only developers have
final say in decisions, thus leaving the community powerless, with voice
but no vote and allowing for dynamics that we weren't happy in other
projects (basically "you're not a developer.")

we discussed this at length.  including the community in decisions was a
given, but we didn't come to a conclusion about how much would it be
involved.  some say it should be a mixed commitee of parabola hackers
and community delegates, but with a majority of parabola hackers so "the
goals of the project would remain true over time and a malevolent
community wouldn't change that".  it was my position that automatic
majorities are the same as no community.

at the end the vote was splitted and the argument was never solved, and
we ended up with the adhocratic parabola that we all know and love :)

i say this as an example of how at first we feel a need to control
things when there's really no need to.

if someone is interested in the discussion, i think we have the old
archives somewhere, otherwise i can dig on my personal archive.  iirc
this was during january 2009.  i believe we decided to write the social
contract after that.


> Internally, the committee manages the project and defines its
> vision. There should be regular (monthly) talks within the committee,
> to see how they can assist their work. A main task of the committee
> therefore involves coordination and communication.

i think this list is a self-organized commitee and should stay that way,
no need for bureaucratic management.

> 2) After a committee is formed it is vital that we discuss on issues
> like Donations and funding policy which will get active developers
> their share of payment, and spend the rests for stable infrastructure
> (buying VPS / Domain Names/ etc) that will reduce the frequent
> downtime.

why don't we discuss it now that there's already a commitee?

* accepting funding and donations would require to form a non-profit

* if so where would it be located? we're all over the world

* will be accept which currency/ies? or only cryptocoins?[0]

* will be have a bank account?

* or, will parabola hackers accept personal donations? if so, how will
  be keep track of how much everyone is receiving and if the return in
  development is fair?

> Vote based decision has been chaotic for other projects and hence a
> consensus decision-making can be better.

:) consensus decision-making is another key on this discussion

> I have also seen issues like unstable source code management which
> needs fixing. Every major distribution has its own source code
> management system and Arch has "ABS" which is broken in
> Parabola. Packages from abslibre mostly don't get merged and the user
> has to rely on using GIT. GIT works in most cases however "using git
> for abslibre" and "using abs for packages from Arch" seems like a
> dirty hack to me rather than a long term solution. We need an unified
> solution to this.

my fault, i'll fix it when you pay me!! >:)

↑ my third issue with donations...

> 3) The issues must not stay as a mere discussion / suggestion but also
> be implemented in a timely manner.
> I hope this will be given a serious thought and acted upon mutually. 

[0]: https://fair.coop is an interesting approach to a community-based
     economy, maybe we should look at that too.  see my second issue
     with donations.

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