[GRASS-PSC] Changes to RFC1

Paul Kelly paul-grass at stjohnspoint.co.uk
Fri Dec 15 09:01:43 EST 2006

Hello everyone
As we discussed a few weeks ago I've proposed some modifications to the 
document describing the PSC. In fact I tried to edit it and then realised 
that really, I feel the existing one is totally wrong for us and describes 
a completely different organisation from GRASS. So I decided it was easier 
just to re-write it from scratch. Hope that doesn't offend anybody who 
made edits to the other version. Please let me know what you think. Here's 
the main ideas I've tried to incorporate in this:

  - The PSC as a body doesn't have a role in technical decisions about what 
goes into the codebase. (Of course individual members exercise that 
influence through their roles as developers, but not through their PSC 
roles). This still goes through the developers mailing list. The way the 
PSC can control the codebase in satisfaction of what OSGeo requires, is to 
enforce the submitting guidelines and have ultimate control over who has 
CVS write access. I used Frank's words from an e-mail to this list: 
developers who've been granted CVS write access may make changes "as they 
see fit". I think this is a good way of describing our current set-up, and 
we have to realise that we trust people who have CVS write access to 
discuss thoroughly any major or controversial changes they intend to make.

  - The PSC shares the workload of project management functions (as we've 
been discussing recently in another thread). This was barely mentioned at 
all in the original RFC and I felt it was important to include it, as that 
is an area we need to put plenty of work into.

  - Consensus on decisions is reached through discussion of proposals, 
anybody can call a vote if felt necessary, certain issues must be voted 
on. I think "consensus" can easily be defined as everybody coming round to 
a similar viewpoint, no disagreements - we shouldn't have to go through 
the whole voting process with every proposal but if anybody wants to call 
a vote, that is no problem at all. Read what I wrote below - I think it 
explains it better.

I think we also need to define what the "GRASS project" is exactly.

Really looking forward to having some feedback on this. There's probably 
things that have totally slipped my mind, also it may need fleshed out in 
places, but I feel it describes the GRASS organisation much better than 
the original RFC and hope it is a good basis to move forward towards 
agreement on the PSC's role.



RFC 1: Project Steering Committee Guidelines
Author: GRASS Founding PSC
Status: Proposed

A GRASS Project Steering Committee (PSC) is proposed to formalize control 
over the GRASS codebase and to facilitate GRASS project management issues. 
It is desired to keep the administrational overhead as low as possible.

This document describes how the GRASS Project Steering Committee 
determines membership and makes decisions on GRASS project issues.

"The GRASS Project" is defined as xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

1.0 Terms of Reference

The two primary functions of the PSC are:
1) To enforce control over the GRASS codebase. This can be summarised as:
    a) Enforce mechanisms to ensure quality control.
    b) Ensure compliance with all required legal measures.
2) Project Management and responsibility for the "public face" of GRASS. 
The PSC is expected to be able to speak and act on behalf of the GRASS 

1.1 Codebase Control

1.1.1 Quality Control Mechanisms

The quality control mechanisms, which are the responsibility of the PSC, 
currently include:
  * Maintaining submitter guidelines and making all developers aware of 
  * Granting write access to the source code repository for new developers.
  * Enforcing the submitter guidelines, with the ultimate sanction against 
non-compliance being removal of write access to the source code repository.

In general, once write access has been granted, developers are allowed to 
make changes to the codebase as they see fit. For controversial or 
complicated changes consensus must be obtained on the developers' mailing 
list as far as reasonably practicable. It is recognised that the ultimate 
arbitration on technical issues always lies with consensus on the 
developers' mailing list. Specifically, it is not the role of the PSC to 
impose technical solutions. Its role is limited to enforcing the quality 
control mechanisms outlined above.

1.1.2 Compliance with Legal Measures

Control over the codebase also extends to ensuring that it complies with 
all relevant legal requirements. This includes copyright and licensing 
amongst other issues. The PSC is resonsible for developing rules and 
procedures to cover this. These are outlined in a separate document: "RFC 
2: Legal aspects of code contributions". This document will be updated and 
revised by the PSC as required.

1.2 Project Management

The PSC will share responsibility and make decisions over issues related 
to the management of the overall direction of the GRASS project and 
external visibility, etc. These include, but are not limited to:
  * Release Cycles
  * Project infrastructure
  * Website Maintenance
  * Promotion and Public Relations
  * Other issues as they become relevant

It is the responsibility of the PSC to ensure that issues critical to the 
future of the GRASS project are adequately attended to. This may involve 
delegation to interested helpers.

2.0 Operation of the PSC

A dedicated mailing list exists for the purpose of PSC discussions. When a 
decision is required of the PSC, it will be presented by any member to the 
mailing list in the form of a proposal. A decision will then be achieved 
by discussion of the proposal on the mailing list until a consensus is 
reached. Voting on issues is also permissable and may be used as a means 
to reach a consensus or, only in case of extreme cases of disagreement, to 
force a decision. Any member may call a vote on any proposal. That member 
is then responsible for collating votes and presenting the result to the 
PSC. The voting procedure is outlined in a separate document: XXXXXXX 
(Copy all the +1/0- stuff in there).

The Chair is the ultimate adjudicator in case of deadlock or irretrievable 
break down of decision-making, or in case of disputes over voting.

The following issue(s) *must* have a vote called before a decision is 
  * Granting source code repository write access for new developers
  * Selection of a committee Chair

3.0 Composition of the Committee

Michael Barton, Dylan Beaudette, Hamish Bowman, Massimiliano Cannata, Brad 
Douglas, Paul Kelly, Helena Mitasova, Scott Mitchell, Markus Neteler, and 
Maciej Sieczka are declared to be the founding Project Steering Committee.

Addition and removal of members from the committee, as well as selection 
of a Chair is handled as a proposal to the committee as described above.

The Chair is responsible for keeping track of the membership of the PSC.

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