Res: Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

Henrique Junior henriquecsj at
Mon May 3 02:02:23 UTC 2010

what I have seen over time is that Fedora is changing to something that
worries me and that is getting less fun to contribute. I remember the time when I liked to say that fedora was the "voice of the community".
Henrique "LonelySpooky" Junior

De: Sir Gallantmon (ニール・ゴンパ) <ngompa13 at>
Para: Development discussions related to Fedora <devel at>
Enviadas: Domingo, 2 de Maio de 2010 22:11:21
Assunto: Re: Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

On Sun, May 2, 2010 at 7:20 PM, Kevin Kofler <kevin.kofler at> wrote:

>>You will have noticed by now that my FESCo term is about to expire, that the
>>nomination period for FESCo just closed and that my name does not show up on the
>>list of candidates. No, this is not an accident or negligence, the decision not
>>to run for another term was intentional, for several reasons:
>>* When I ran for election a year ago, one of my reasons for running, and also
>>  something I made part of my campaign, was that it shouldn't always be the same
>>  people who are sitting on FESCo. We have a much higher number of active
>>  contributors than FESCo seats, so it makes sense to see some turnover
>>  happening. So it would be very hypocritical from me to attempt to sit another
>>  year on FESCo myself, now that I'm myself a FESCo "veteran".
>>* I have never been a committee person and have always hated sitting on
>>  meetings. I have done it anyway for a year because I believed it to be
>>  important for the good of the project. But I'm really fed up of those meetings
>>  (I'm feeling burned out) and prefer focusing on more practical, less political
>>  areas of Fedora. The fact that I don't feel my presence in those meetings
>>  being of much if any use (more on that later) doesn't help either.
>>* When looking back at what happened over the year I've been in office, I have a
>>  feeling that I have been able to acheive basically nothing:
>>  - The vast majority of votes were either unanimous or 8-1 against me. In both
>>    cases, my vote was entirely redundant. Even for more contested votes, my
>>    vote hardly ever mattered.
>>  - Any attempts to discuss those issues where everyone was against me went
>>    nowhere. In most cases, people rushed out a vote without even considering
>>    the real issue at hand and then shot down any discussion with "we already
>>    voted, we want to move on". In those few cases where there actually was a
>>    discussion, my position was always dismissed as being ridiculous and not
>>    even worth considering, my arguments, no matter how strong, were entirely
>>    ignored.
>>  - Basically any proposal I filed was systematically shot down. Even things
>>    which should be obvious such as:
>>    . calling GNOME by its name rather than the generic "Desktop" or
>>    . eliminating the useless bureaucratic red tape of FESCo ratification for
>>      FPC guidelines which just wastes everyone's time and constitutes pure
>>      process inefficiency
>>    got only incomprehension.
>>  I have come to the conclusion that it is just plain impossible for a single
>>  person to change FESCo's ways and that therefore I am just wasting my time
>>  there.
>>* I am very unhappy about FESCo's recent (and not so recent, which were what
>>  made me run in the first place) directions. The trend is steady towards
>>  bureaucracy and centralization:
>>  - Maintainers are continuously being distrusted. It all started with the
>>    provenpackager policy, where every single provenpackager has to be voted in
>>    by a FESCo majority vote, as opposed to letting any sponsor approve people
>>    as provenpackagers as originally planned, or just opening all our packages
>>    to everyone as was the case in the old Extras. From there, things pretty
>>    much degenerated and we're now at a point where FESCo no longer trusts
>>    maintainers to know when an update to the packages they maintain is stable,
>>    instead insisting on automatically-enforced bureaucracy which will never be
>>    as reliable and effective as a human. The fact that we trust our maintainers
>>    used to be one of the core values of the Fedora community. It has been
>>    replaced by control-freakiness and paranoia.
>>  - All the power in Fedora is being centralized into 2 major committees: the
>>    Board and FESCo. FESCo is responsible for a lot of things all taking up
>>    meeting time, leading to lengthy meetings and little time for discussion.
>>    Many of those things could be handled better in a more decentralized way.
>>    Power should be delegated to SIGs and technical committees wherever
>>    possible, FESCo should only handle issues where no reponsible subcommittee
>>    can be found or where there is disagreement among affected committees. In
>>    particular, I suggest that:
>>    . FPC guidelines should be passed directly by FPC, only concrete objections
>>      should get escalated to FESCo.
>>    . membership in packager-sponsors and provenpackager should be handled by
>>      the sponsors, with a process to be defined by them (my suggestion:
>>      provenpackager should take 1 sponsor to approve and no possibility to
>>      object or veto, sponsor should take 3 sponsors to approve and objections
>>      can be escalated to FESCo).
>>    . features should get approved by the responsible SIG or committee (e.g.
>>      FPC for RPM features, KDE SIG for KDE features etc.). The feature wrangler
>>      should decide on a SIG to hand the feature to for approval, or even accept
>>      features filed directly into "approved" by the responsible SIG, and FESCo
>>      would be responsible only where there is no clearly responsible SIG, or
>>      to arbitrate when a SIG is trying to make a change which affects other
>>      SIGs without their consent.
>>    Unfortunately, these suggestions are falling on deaf ears, in fact I filed
>>    the first suggestion as an official proposal (as it looked very obvious to
>>    me, the ratification process is pure bureaucracy) and it was shot down (also
>>    due to the FPC chair claiming FPC doesn't want this, despite at least 2 FPC
>>    members having spoken out rather favorably). I think a more decentralized
>>    approach (in general, not just for FPC guidelines) would be more efficient,
>>    more democratic, less bureaucratic and less corporate and would increase
>>    overall maintainer happiness by reducing the impression of the "diktat from
>>    above".
>>  - The prevailing opinion of the electorate of Fedora contributors keeps
>>    getting ignored. Feedback on the Fedora devel mailing list is never seen as
>>    in any way binding, it's often dismissed as noise or "trolling". The
>>    predominant opinion in FESCo is "you voted for us, now we get to do whatever
>>    we want", which is flawed in many ways:
>>    . It assumes there were true alternatives to vote for instead. This
>>      assumption does not look true to me.
>>    . It assumes the voters were aware of the positions of all the candidates.
>>      I'm fairly sure this was not the case. While I appreciate what has been
>>      done in an attempt to solve this issue (questionnaire, townhalls), this
>>      has proven by far insufficient to build an opinion on the candidates. I
>>      think there's a reason representative democracies normally work with
>>      parties/factions and I think something like that might help a lot,
>>      depending on what kind of factions would show up.
>>    . It assumes representative democracy is a well-working model in the first
>>      place, especially in its most hardcore form ("now we get to do whatever we
>>      want"). I believe elected representatives should really REPRESENT the
>>      people who voted them. I realize politicians aren't doing that, but are
>>      they really a good model to follow?
>>    I believe listening more to the feedback on the devel ML and taking it into
>>    account during decision-making would reduce frustration with FESCo a lot.
>>  - The prevailing opinion of Fedora users keeps getting ignored. See e.g. Adam
>>    Williamson's poll about the kind of updates users expect from Fedora, its
>>    clearcut majoritarian result, and FESCo and the Board both planning to do
>>    the exact opposite.
>>  - Common sense is just generally lacking, see e.g. the decision that the GNOME
>>    spin should continue being called "Desktop Spin", despite evidence that this
>>    is confusing many users, both the ones actively looking for GNOME and the
>>    ones who want some other desktop. And that's just one such nonsensical
>>    decision, the one I remember best because this is an issue I care much
>>    about.
>>  I do not wish to stand for such a committee anymore (in fact I probably should
>>  have resigned much earlier, as I've just been frustrated and burned out for
>>  more than half of the term, but I didn't because my feeling of responsibility
>>  was too strong) and, as pointed out before, I feel powerless to change
>>  anything.
>>Therefore, I will stay in office until the end of my term, but I will not be
>>available for reelection. I would like to thank the people who voted for me last
>>year for their support and apologize to those who would have liked to vote for
>>me this time for not giving them this opportunity. If you would like a KDE SIG
>>person in FESCo, vote for Steven M. Parrish (and vote for Rex Dieter for the
>>Board). But if you want to see the kind of change to FESCo I'd like to see,
>>it'll take a faction of at least 5 people to make it happen.
>>        Kevin Kofler

That's too bad. I hadn't realized the political situation within Fedora had gotten so bad, though. I always liked Fedora's policy of trusting its people.... And it seems to be going away.

Though, there are some instances where the prevailing opinion should be ignored, when there is no solid evidence to back it up, e.g. Mono and the like.

Meh, sorry to see you felt so unsatisfied though. 
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