[Dev] Some doubts about Parabola's donations

Stig Roar Wangberg srw at openmailbox.org
Mon Apr 10 14:22:58 GMT 2017

ma., 10.04.2017 kl. 01.07 -0400, skrev Luke Shumaker:
> Sunday   : <fauno> i have the feeling this will get ugly
> Wednesday: *it gets ugly*
> ... well shit.
> From: fauno <fauno at endefensadelsl.org>
> Message-Id: <87y3vdjufz.fsf at endefensadelsl.org>
> > all of this made me lose sleep over a week, not knowing what kind
> > of
> > mess i would find every morning, 
> I was worried about it for you, and what you would have to deal with
> in the morning.  I know on IRC you queried me and asked me to weigh
> in.  You are a stronger man than I, because I saw the mess, and was
> like "I don't have the will to deal with this", and buried myself in
> code.  (I've also been traveling and availability of my email has
> been
> sporadic).  I apologize, to fauno especially, that I didn't really
> contribute to the discussion until after the dust had somewhat
> settled.
> This is one mega-email that responds to a bunch of things that have
> been said.
> ----
> The server purchasing decisions were being had by only 2 members of
> the Parabola community (gaming4jc and emulatorman), plus fauno and
> Tiberiu on the receiving end of the requests.
>   https://share.riseup.net/#bZqxbeJ5xair5HlVOk-Afw
> While I understand, and am a fan of, the "you don't need to ask for
> permission to get things done" aspect of Adhocracy, given the size of
> Parabola's developer community, and that the costs of the server were
> a fairly substantial part of Parabola's funds, it absolutely was a
> mistake to not have this discussion with more members of the
> community.
> It is debatable whether it should have been totally public on dev@,
> but it should have happened in view of more than 3 people with
> @parabola.nu emails.
> To be clear, I 100% DO NOT blame Ceata or Tiberiu for this; the
> members of the Parabola developer community who engaged in this
> discussion are to blame.  Our charter with Ceata specifies a single
> community delegate to interface with, and that is what they did.
> Responsibility for proper involvement of the community falls on the
> delegate's side of that contract.
> I suppose that means that fauno shares a part of the blame, for not
> saying "hey, we should be having this conversation with more people,"
> but that is a very, *very*, small part of the blame; those trying to
> use the community's funds without first discussing it with the entire
> community are the ones truly to blame.
> Beyond a vague awareness that a build server was being acquired, I
> had
> no knowledge of the details of it; and I believe that this was true
> for most of the Parabola developer community.  We should not have
> been
> kept in the dark.  If I were Emulatorman, this is where I would
> condescendingly link to the "cliques" section of the Adhocracy
> article.
> From: André Silva <emulatorman at riseup.net>
> Message-Id: <b0d4491b-a233-85c5-be85-17d242f3ed26 at riseup.net>
> > If it isn't possible, then we should open a legal entity (eg.
> > offshore)
> (to pick one sentence to quote)
> Look, handing money to someone is easy.  But then governments get
> involved because taxes, and everything gets complicated.  Even if it
> "should" be simple.
> Half of the things you've suggested are "probably technically tax
> fraud (ask a lawyer!), but you'd probably get away with it."  When
> dealing with governments and taxes and non-profit/not-for-profit
> status, shit gets painful.  That's just a fact of life.
> When companies do crazy shit like setting up wholly owned
> subsidiaries
> in off-shore tax havens and whatnot, it's made possible/legal by a
> high-powered, high-paid, lawyer (or, more likely, a team of them!),
> whose salary is less than the crazy-large amount of money being
> saved.
> They essentially get an economy of scale.  Unless we somehow find
> ourselves in a situation where we are overflowing with enough money
> to
> retain a lawyer, then going down this path is going down the path of
> "accidentally committing tax fraud, and hoping we get away with it."
> I volunteer with a local high-school robotics team.  They build a
> robot every year, and take it to competitions.  When there's a part
> that we indisputably need, has an established and accepted price, and
> an universally agreed upon vendor, we STILL have to go through a
> process.
> What I saw of the records of emails that I've been shown, the process
> with Ceata was NOTHING unusual.
> From: Isaac David <isacdaavid at isacdaavid.info>
> Message-Id: <1491599607.2564.0 at plebeian.isacdaavid.info>
> > Le jeu. 6 avril 2017 à 12:51, fauno a écrit :
> > > then i'm invited to a tox channel where i read some people
> > > basically
> > > think ceata and tct are keeping the money for themselves and
> > > their
> > > task is to recover it, given their "unwillingness" to make
> > > expenses on
> > > our behalf, which i found ridiculous. i mention it looks like a
> > > coup,
> > > since it's a secret meeting to form a consensus out of reach from
> > > the
> > > whole community.
> > 
> > did anyone mention FUD? Beware the sarcasm in my reply...
> > 
> > so they wanted to form a consensus that wasn't a real consensus,
> > how would that even work fauno?
> > 
> > on what universe does a coup consist of organizing around making
> > Parabola development more lively and sustainable for more
> > developers,
> In the same universe where a discussion among 3 members of the
> community on various private forums forces the entire community to
> have severed relations with their fiscal sponsor.
> Beside the pad, there were various other private communications to
> various other members of the community, that are perhaps best
> described as "indented, at least in part, to plant the seeds of doubt
> and mistrust toward Ceata, and toward fauno."
> > then writing a pad whereby interested hackers brainstorm their
> > ideas
> > to be posted for public opinion? perhaps Mr. Adhocracy wanted us to
> > ask him for his blessing before we got into a pad. also, this
> > wouldn't
> > have been the first time things are put together in "private" group
> > conversations and collaboration pads before they reach the mailing
> > lists, but whatever, welcome to coup #437 everybody!
> Yeah, 'cause those start on IRC, and if not, are quickly opened to
> the
> entire community.  Most of the community didn't even know that the
> pad
> existed, or that there was *any* issue or concerns regarding funds
> and
> Ceata until after §7 had been invoked.
> That's a coup.
> From: Isaac David <isacdaavid at isacdaavid.info>
> Message-Id: <1491673595.1506.0 at plebeian.isacdaavid.info>
> > I truly suspect fauno gave you [Tiberiu] his lopsided rundown in
> > private before you replied to this thread,
> Tiberiu was witnessed much more of this "first hand" than I did, but
> the "rundown" that fauno gave me was not a rundown at all--he pretty
> transparently gave me (overwhelmed me) with complete transcripts.
> Isaac, I suspect you are more the victim of a lopsided rundown than
> Tiberiu is.  I don't know which things you saw, but there was much
> more communication than what you witnessed on the pad.
> From: Isaac David <isacdaavid at isacdaavid.info>
> Message-Id: <1491605908.2564.1 at plebeian.isacdaavid.info>
> > I hope you aren't implying that some of our most active
> > contributors are selfish brats for the sin of wanting to
> > actually benefit from donations. that would be on a whole new
> > level of nonsense.
> Ah yes, because being a prolific developer makes one's behavior
> beyond
> reproach.  If he were on the other side of the issue, this is where I
> believe that Emulatorman would link to the "Overview" of the
> Adhocracy
> article, mostly intending to the invoke the bit about the difference
> between Adhocracy and Meritocracy.
> Maybe moving away from Ceata is the right decision.  I don't think it
> is, but I don't know.  It should have been discussed by the
> community.
> It was really shitty of Emulatorman, g4jc, et al. to have forced the
> issue the way they did.
> From: André Silva <emulatorman at riseup.net>
> Message-Id: <6f664041-8d5a-24d6-018d-fe02599b88cc at riseup.net>
> > i would say that **the community is its pillar** and not a single
> > person because AFAIK Parabola isn't based on **Meritocracy**, but
> > **Adhocracy**.
> No. Shut up.  fauno is a pillar of the community.  This is a fact.
> https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pillar_of_the_community
> > Noun
> >  pillar of the community (plural pillars of the community)
> > 
> >   1. A prominent member or supporter of a particular community.
> From: André Silva <emulatorman at riseup.net>
> Message-Id: <6f664041-8d5a-24d6-018d-fe02599b88cc at riseup.net>
> > I suggest read "Overview" in Adhocracy article for further details
> > [0]
> > 
> > [0]:https://wiki.parabola.nu/Adhocracy#Overview
> I suggest you re-read the section on cliques.  While I support many
> of
> the purchasing decisions that I've tried to use the Ceata-held funds
> for (now that I know about them), these were being made out of view
> of
> the community.  Not being blessed with getting Cc'ed on your emails
> meant to everyone else "that their participation is not welcome".
> Discussions happening away from public spaces mean that "what is
> happening in the group is a partial assessment does not include those
> that are not."
> From: Luke <g4jc at openmailbox.org>
> Message-ID: <5ebb8582-565c-26aa-1f3d-928908e0d72c at openmailbox.org>
> > On 04/07/2017 09:37 PM, hellekin wrote:
> > > I had a conversation with fauno.  I'm very disappointed at how
> > > things
> > > were (mis)handled and I am quite upset.
> > 
> > It's also nice that you had a conversation with fauno without
> > discussing it publicly.  If the community wants to split, so be it.
> I assume that hellekin's private communication with fauno began much
> the same as mine did:
>   <lukeshu> hey
>   <fauno>   hey
>   <lukeshu> So I guess I've been oblivious to some drama about access
>             to donations?
>   <fauno>   yes
>   <fauno>   what have you heard?
> That is: It happened in response to other private communication.
> ----
> Even if everything with the build server does work out, and we get
> the
> server worked out in Uruguay; Ceata generously offered to allow us to
> co-locate a server in their datacenter for free (and the server would
> be acquired much more cost-effectively than shipping one to Uruguay).
> Remember how the build-server plan I posted on the 31st involved 2
> servers?  Beside the all of the community and relationships stuff,
> I'm
> pissed that the behavior of members of our community screwed us out
> of
> a 2nd bare-metal server.  Shit, even before they pushed Ceata to walk
> away, they rejected the offer for the co-located server.  That was a
> great offer!  Why did only 2 members of the community get to weigh in
> on it!?
> ----
> Of the things I've gotten upset about with Parabola in the recent
> past, it has all been because of lack of communication/documentation.
> Adhocracy means that you can just do things, and don't have to waste
> time discussing it first.  However, for the community to survive,
> things need to be discussable; when you do something, you need to
> write down why you did it, and make it visible for critique, and
> correction.
> For decisions involving how to use the community's funds, maybe that
> means pasting a transcript of an IRC conversation to the
> mailing list, or a wiki page.
> Just about every time you run 'sudo' on one of the servers, that
> should probably be an email.
> We need to be more aggressive about documenting and making public
> what
> we do.

I'm just a newbie. I only used Parabola for a few weeks now, but I've
been following this first-hand from the beginning and it makes me sad
to see how overly over-complicated some people are making this. I can
only speak for myself. But all this started out in the spirit of hope.
How to make life easier for the full-time devs. How to get a build-
server that is not in the hands of 'random people' somewhere (for
security reasons) which I myself find very senseable. No one but the
devs should have access to something that important as a build-server.
That's just my opinion. When I look at the list over kernel-building, I
do not find it strange at all that the person(s) in question want to
make both life and the kernel-building easier for himself/themselves.
Likewise I do not find it at all that strange that a brainstorming
starts somewhere, or among those in question. In this brainstorming the
flow of money were mentioned; if there could be some easier way to use
the donations; if one could somehow start a shop, selling t-shirts,
cups, stickers, give support and other services. In my perseption all
this was in the good spirit of hope and for the purpose of Parabola and
free software. I have not exprerienced any ungratefulness towards any
persons, nor towards Ceata. I don't understand those who's taking the
personal turn here. It's not about persons at all. Asking questions
about how to do things differently is neither critique nor a coup (per
def. a sudden, violent and illegal seizure of power). A coup requires a
king, a pope or some other body of exclusive authority (which I thought
Parabola didn't have). But it seems like I'm wrong about that. And it's
a great pleassure being proved wrong. It makes it easier to choose.

When I came to Parabola I was welcomed with open arms, and I've never
met so much support, understanding and help using any other distro. My
learning curve has gone through the roof after starting with Parabola.
To that I'm extremely grateful. And for me, as a donator, I myself was
very curious to how to donate so that I could be sure that the donation
came directly into the hands of the devs (without too much
bureaucracy), and if Parabola needs a build-server, how can I
contribute to make that happen? It was also natural for me to think
that if Emulatorman is doing most of the building ATM, perhaps I should
donate directly to him so that the build-server could be in his hands?
I don't find that particularly peculiar at all. 

If Ceata isn't the ultimate choice for efficiency and flow of
donations, one must be allowed to ask questions without people getting
hurt or feel their toes stepped upon (or conspiried against behind
their backs). From what I can see (and I've been following this from
the very beginning), there were only some serious questions asked, and
I find that very natural when it comes to donations, raising money,
promoting Parabola, and making life and development easier for those in

I think it would be a huge loss for Parabola and the community if
Emulatorman and others leaves Parabola because they didn't find mercy
at the king's feet (why else use words like 'coupe' and 'secret
meetings'?). If the brainstorming and the looking for answers by
youngsters is too revolutionary and looked upon as a coup, then someone
is has grown too proud and too old. I'm discussed by the personal
attacks in here when it in fact should be about ideas, development,
safety, security and how new forces can contribute in the best way
possible - to make Parabola even greater than it already is, whether
it's money, donations, efficiency, devices, servers and what else is
needed. And as far as I can see, no decisions were made on behalf of
the community as a whole. It was all ideas, a brainstorm, except
perhaps that Emulatorman would ease his life and work with a build-
server - which he should be applauded for taking the initiative for. 

We all make mistakes and perhaps use words and terms we might regret,
but moving Parabola forward, looking for easier ways to both donate,
handle donations, promote and build Parabola is not a mistake. Perhaps
it's time for peace and to role up our sleeves and contribute to make
Parabola the best distro in history! Together. 

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