On Monday, 9 January 2017 11:32:23 GMT Michal Kubecek wrote:
On Monday, 9 January 2017 10:40 Richard Brown wrote:
We've seen this for years Coolo, and it leads to serious problems; Paralysis while willing contributors wait for a decision that may never come; Potential contributors scared away from contributing because they think they need to ask permission or gather a broad consensus from lots of scary established contributors like us; These are not problems we can afford to ignore.
I'm afraid the problem of openSUSE is exactly the opposite these days. People pushing controversial changes without asking anyone and in fact even encouraged to do so as anyone opposing the change is labeled an enemy of the progress and silenced with "those who do, decide".
There is a responsibility (you could call it a duty) on the person making the change to consider the impact of the change, and whether the cost (including the effect on others) is worth the benefit. Politically motivated changes (and this is a politically motivated change - there's no technical, functional or usability benefit) should both be discussed and only made if there is general support.
But the mindset that consensus must come first is toxic to the long term health of a project like openSUSE.
I don't agree. That mindset is what would be necessary to avoid the chaos and constant breaking of things in the name of "progress". Not every change is good and not every change is progress.
For contentious changes there should be consensus. That's not all changes, and the change maker usually knows.
Someone "doing" and then someone else "undoing" is, by definition, contributors pushing in two different directions. In such cases, yes, I agree with you. Consensus is important and discussion is absolutely necessary.
That doesn't really happen. Under current project mindset, "undoing" would be automatically (with exception of fixes for obvious regressions) seen as going against the evolution and frown upon. Most often, people don't even dare to revert the changes as they see it as futile in the environment we ended up with and mindset you helped to establish (the one you advocate for here).
Wikipedia was an excellent example of ungoverned change which had to be controlled as the flood of change and counter-change was overwhelming parts of the system.
We need people to feel they are empowered to contribute, and do so with as few barriers in the way. Getting broad support for their change is one such barrier, and most of the time other people don't care about the new contributors change anyway. As a mature project we have enough checks and balances to ensure it doesn't decend into anarchy.
I wanted to write this in response to your previous mail but then I discarded the mail instead to avoid another flame. Now I feel it needs to be said even if it contradicts current openSUSE development doctrine: when changing important things, first question should always be "if", not "when", "how" or "who".
There's no need for broad support for most changes, just that people know and are sensitive to the difference between the different drivers of change. If it's political (or philosophical or ethical or ideological) then they should ask first. If it's technical or usability or features driven, then just do it.
Trying to define precisely the different categories is an exercise in futility, as most people have an understanding of this by the time they're adult, and the people who don't are either philosophers, ideologues or sociopaths.
Security is a potentially contentious area, as some security fixes are clearly programming defects, but others are more subtle. This change could be categorised as security (we don't know exactly what non-OSS software does so we don't know if it's "safe") but that decision is about individual judgments of risk rather than being globally valid.
Some people take an extreme position on security, and maybe their personality, experience or person position justifies that, but most take a balanced view.
Can I make a suggestion to try and close this. Would it be possible to write 2 paragraphs (200 words or so) on why a "normal person" would want to include the non-OSS repos in their install, and another 2 on why they shouldn't? Include this in help text at the relevant point, and let the person directly affected decide.
The text would need to be fact based rather than emotive, and would be better if it referenced the relevant supporting information in the internet (although this can't be accessed during an install). If this were also in the openSUSE wiki, it may help some people to a greater understanding of the various groups who, in one way or another, are either using their information for harmful purposes or are actively preventing them from freely accessing whatever information they want.
This probably needs discussion :-) as some of these statements (or the referenced texts) will be viewed as criticism or as unacceptable by some regimes around the world, and so could lead to access to the openSUSE site being restricted.