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Contents

Introduction

Warning: Please use the forum or maybe better the "discussions or bugs" page to discuss things first as I would like to present here a clean and as most to the facts description of the problems (I am a lot more open about the possible fixes to the problems). And PLEASE use words that offend as less as possible to make your point - my experience shows a lot more readers will consider things that don't offend them more then it needs to be. For some it is hard enough to even consider that there favorite distribution could have problems at all!

Why I(Slalomsk8er) Started This Wiki Page

Let me put it this way: the current event of revoking the charter of the Gentoo Foundation by the state of New Mexico, showed me that I need to do more then just whine and AllenJB's post showed me that we are "stupid" and uninformed as single parts of the community (yes he has a valid point with this) but I hope we are not a dumb mob as a whole but a little bit more then our parts combined.

So I started this page at this community tool to list things that go wrong in the eyes of the community and what we think could be done by our leaders to fix this. It shall not be a way of pushing someones agenda but to show what is going on in the negative for those that want to open their eyes and look.

What This Page is All About

The Ideas and "problems" that are listed here are not to be considered authoritative, just representative of views of the small portion of the userbase that reads and contributes to this site and how some persons think that it would be able to fix them.

Resources and Recommended Reads

The Problems

Too many users reading ill-founded nonsense and providing inane opinions

Why this problem exists

Possible fixes for the problem:


Devs, Timelines, Communication or Gentoo management

thanks to bmichaelsen This I (Slalomsk8er) believe is a meta problem child problems are:

why the problem exists:

Gentoo's leadership is lead by devs selected by devs. Those leader tend to have great technical merit but often lack in organisational skills (timelines, priorities). This sometimes results in taking no (visible) action until a near perfect solution is produced. This is a good for the long therm design of systems, but sometimes a using a "good enough" solution is better than none or a near perfect solution.

There's no alternative to the current Gentoo -- seesaw

proposed solution:

File: drobbins http://blog.funtoo.org/2007_07_01_archive.html
 
This new Sabayon base install is an opportunity to innovate and fix some things that you may not like about Gentoo - both the technology and community.
With sufficient user involvement, it can and will reach critical mass.
  
File: http://www.kybernetik.ch/en/fs_methmod2.html
 
No human network can operate faster or better

In three to four days, Team Syntegrity® will create the widest possible understanding and interconnection
within a large heterogeneous group to enable a complex, difficult and/or conflict-ridden problem to be solved.
  

Developers are retiring faster than they respawn

Why this problem exists:

File: Nerdanel http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-4722707.html#4722707
 
Gentoo devs appear a secretive group that looks down on Gentoo's (often highly computer literate,
to the point of being devs themselves elsewhere)
normal users instead of being welcoming and tolerant of newbie errors.
This makes potential devs feel that they are not wanted and/or would not belong.

That's the appearance from the outside anyway and not meant to refer to any particular person.
At one point a couple of years ago I entertained for a short while a thought
that I might become a Gentoo dev but decided against it.
Now I'm committed to a completely different project.
  
File: Ibn al-Hazardous http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-4722299.html#4722299
 
Explanation: During the last three weeks only two new devs have joined.
During the same time 19 devs have retired.
That's an outflow of 17 devs, and if it continues at this rate, it's pretty alarming.
  

(according to this bugzilla search for the time period, I counted only the FIXED bugs)

File: vonr http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-4722887.html#4722887
 
Ehm, have a look at the bugs you posted: most of them are being retired due to inactivity.
Every once in a while a bunch of inactive devs is being retired, nothing unusual about that.
I still remember the 'mass-exodus' of devs a while back; this is nothing of the sort.

FIXME: find more info about the "mass-exodus" vonr mentioned.

Proposed solution:

FIXME: More suggestions needed.



Too many ebuilds marked unstable, or no ebuilds at all

Thanks to Beetle B. his original post can be found here

Description of the Problem:

Somehow, Gentoo got behind on providing ebuilds. I've seen cases of fairly popular packages having their latest versions marked ~x86 even though a year has passed since their releases.

Worse, a number of fairly popular packages (or their latest versions) aren't even in Portage - not even masked or keyworded. Again, this is often months (if not over a year) after they've been released.

I really wish I had concrete examples to give you, but haven't been noting them down.

When I installed Gentoo back in 2003, it was known for providing ebuilds very soon after a package's latest release. If you couldn't wait, you just put it in package.keywords (OK - that system wasn't available then - but regardless, you could install it). For me, it's scary how often over the past year I've had to go to an overlay to get a much desired package.

This could be a related problem to 2.3 Developers are retiring faster than they respawn in the sense of: we need more developers for the maintenance of ebuilds.

Why this problem exists:

I don't know. I'm hoping someone here can tell me. I've thought of a number of possibilities:

1. Fewer (or the same number of) devs available to provide stable ebuilds. 2. Linux has really grown since 2003, and it's hard to keep up with all the packages out there. 3. Something else (you tell me). 4. Developers are slowly starting to actually test things before marking them stable. The move away from maintainers stabling to arch teams stabling, and the introduction of an x86 arch team, means more testing gets done so the frequency of broken things being marked stable has decreased somewhat. 5. Users simultaneously expect KDE 4 to be stable right now and to have stable actually work. 6. The increased complexity and modularity of upstream packages does not work well with the ebuild format or with Portage.

Option 2 scares me if true. Most of the complaints have been on issues involving organization, the Foundation, etc. This would be a tough technical issue to handle. Will Gentoo at one point just provide ebuilds for the basic packages and leave everything else to overlays?

It would be really nice if the devs can explain the lack of ebuilds. I don't mean this to be a complaint, and nor am I considering leaving Gentoo. It may have lagged behind on providing packages, but it still excels in other things - it's a darn good system.

File: NeddySeagoon http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-4723709.html#4723709
 
Beetle B,

The concept and reputation of overlays has changed over recent years. They have become more respectable. (Thats not the right word but it will do)

Many herds to their development work in overlays with the result that packages get added to the tree and go to ~arch without being hard masked for development.
I see this as mixed blessing. On the positive side, it makes it easier for users to participate in testing. No more put the ebuild into your own overlay and keyword it. Just fetch the overlay with layman and use it like a part of the portage tree.
On the downside, testing packages take longer to reach the 'official' tree.

Its just a different, possibly more flexible way of working.

I'm sure you can find some examples of what you cite by looking at bugs assigned to maintainer-wanted in bugzilla be the reason is self explainatory there.
  
FIXME: Missing examples of important/popular packages lacking ebuilds and unstable packages, which should have been stabilized.

Possible fixes for the problem:

File: Jokey_ http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-4729865.html#4729865
 
Maybe you know this project, we call it "Sunrise".
There you can make your own steps to get a feeling of what it requires to properly maintain an app with gentoo (including getting bug reports,
suggestions from other people,...) without the need of being through the recruitment process.
Currently we have around 170 committers, ~90 who came back more than once and made 8 pretty active devs out of it.
There are around 400 ebuilds in there, some come in, some move over to portage tree, so it's a pretty constant flow.
As you see, a bunch of people seemed to have thought about it and now got involved to help out. 
  

The Bad Shape of Portage

http://planet.sabayonlinux.org/?p=105#comments <RANT ON>

       * Most of the Gentoo ebuilds don’t have the two lists split (when it is needed) causing A LOT of issues for binary packagers (which also makes Portage/Gentoo to look bad)
       * Sometimes, when they have it, they are wrong
       * There are less than a lot but more than a few ebuilds whose dependecies are really, _really_ incomplete or horribly listed/fscked up
       * There are TOO MANY USE flags while instead packages SHOULD BE split
       * Localizations should be split too, having to recompile the whole openoffice just to add one more language is quite RIDICULOUS
       * Even if I found a lot of these bugs daily (2-3 new, every day), there’s nothing I can do to fix them without wasting a lot of time on bugs.gentoo.org trying to convince developer X to fix it.

</RANT OFF>

I am not joking nor I am happy to say that. But to me, the situation is quite dramatic. Sorry, but after 7 years of Gentoo, I am quite pissed off. What I am asking Gentoo Foundation is, let me fix them. There’s too much bureaucracy, really. Will they ack. me? I don’t know.


not yet written out problems

fixed problems

Gentoo Foundation's Charter Revoked

Why this problem exists:

The Gentoo Foundation no longer exists because the trustees didn't do their job of filing some paperwork the state of New Mexico requires to be done from every non profit foundation (on a regular basis?)

Mostly this is because of New Mexico's residency requirements, and the lack of people in New Mexico.

File: Gentoo Foundation Status Update http://www.gentoo.org/news/20080112-foundation-status.xml
 
It recently lapsed, however, since required paperwork and fees were not filed on time.
  

NMSCC 2463313 has 2 public instruments

FIXME: Which exact paperwork was not filled?

It appears that the paperwork was for 501(c)(6) status. -- Nerdanel

File: http://www.nmprc.state.nm.us/cgi-bin/prcdtl.cgi?2463313
 
SCC Number: 	2463313
Tax & Revenue Number: 	
Incorporation Date: 	MAY 28, 2004, in NEW MEXICO
Corporation Type: 	DOMESTIC NONPROFIT
Corporation Status: 	LICENSE WAS REVOKED...NAME UNAVAILABLE
  
File: Gentoo Linux Projects -- Adopt a Developer http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/userrel/adopt-a-dev/#doc_chap11
 
Gentoo is not a 501(c)(3) organization but is applying for 501(c)(6) status instead.
Therefore, donations are not and will not be tax-deductible in the U.S. In other countries,
the laws will differ -- please check with your lawyer.
  

Wikipedia about 501(c)(6)

It seams as if the trustees were not able to decide what to do out of 3 option.

File: Possible scenario for '07/'08 Trustees http://archives.gentoo.org/gentoo-nfp/msg_01238.xml
 
OK.  As I see it, we don't even have enough people *running* to be a
trustee.  So, what should we do, instead?

Well, how about this?  First, hold an election with a few items:
- Join the SFC
- Become a 501(c)(3) in DE
- Become a 501(c)(6) in DE
  

And finally, the last one who cared but never got an answer

File: William L. Thomson Jr. http://archives.gentoo.org/gentoo-nfp/msg_01256.xml
 
> We filed back in July/August.  No clue what's come of it, since.

Where in New Mexico? Most public records like that are online. Believe
it or not most states at least in my experience are very efficient on
processing that paper work. I would imagine it would be on file by now
no? If not almost immediately after being filed.

Not trying to gripe, bitch, blame or etc. I think follow through is a
better way to express my interest. Just curious if it's done, not that
it's my place or etc.
  
Trustees
File: Gentoo Linux Documentation -- Gentoo Foundation Charter http://www.gentoo.org/foundation/en/#doc_chap4
 
4.  The Board of Trustees

Current Interim Board Members

(alphabetical order by last name)

    * Michael Cummings, mcummings
    * Chris Gianelloni, wolf31o2
    * Grant Goodyear, g2boojum
    * Renat Lumpau, rl03
    * Paul de Vrieze, pauldv
  
Michael Cummings
File: http://www.datanode.net/?p=360
 
Trustee duties remain, at least until the next election,
but I let the perl team folks know earlier this week that I was going to be going offline for a little while.
Bah. Just sharing in case anyone has any burning /msg’s waiting to fire at me the second I hop on irc :)
  
File: http://www.datanode.net/?p=362
 
So I once again, and this time with finality, bid Gentoo a farewell.
It’s been a fun ride, and I hope to still be able to talk to the folks that have become my friends over the years,
but I just don’t have the time and will to keep it going.
  
File: http://www.datanode.net/?p=399
 
But when they cut me off from being able to retrieve trustee news/mail/info
(despite technically being a member of the trustees until replaced),
I didn’t put up a fuss but happily got on with my life.
Now it looks like the conservancy deal was never finished,
which would indeed leave Gentoo in the state that Daniel asserts.
  
Chris Gianelloni
File: http://groups.google.com/group/linux.gentoo.dev/msg/bd68dd647e409d0c
 
Trustees: I retired as a Trustee since there's not much point without a
Foundation to run, leaving us with one (or possibly two) trustees. 
  
Grant Goodyear
Renat Lumpau
Paul de Vrieze

Last thing heard of him in the mailing list about the issue.

File: http://archives.gentoo.org/gentoo-nfp/msg_01248.xml
 
It is indeed a problem. I might clarify my position a bit. Basically I'd be 
happy to watch things going along and giving advice (more like an advisory 
board), but I don't really have the time to do the paperwork kinds of things. 
Those are also very hard if you're not in the US. In some way it is also a 
bit of knowing where to start.

I don't think it is urgent that I'm replaced, I'll still be around although 
I'll probably not be able to always reply the same day. It is just that I 
think others could do it better than I do.

Paul
  

Why this problem is largely irrelevant:

The Foundation has nothing to do with GWN, releases, keywording, technical management, running Gentoo or indeed anything relevant to the end user.

The Foundation has two purposes. First, to handle the money. This is irrelevant since almost everything useful is run off donated hardware rather than donations being used to pay for hardware, hosting etc. Secondly, to sue anybody who violates the Foundation-held copyrights. This is irrelevant since there's no way that's ever going to happen.

Sources:

http://blog.funtoo.org/2008/01/and-it-gets-worse.html http://blog.funtoo.org/2008/01/here-my-offer.html http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-4721450.html ARTICLE 8 Nonprofit Corporations

FIXME: We need some historical evidence from mailing lists and other sources.

Some Information about the Foundation: from http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-4721786.html#4721786

Gentoo Foundation Charter ( http://www.gentoo.org/foundation/en/ ) Social Contract ( http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/contract.xml ) Proposed Bylaws of the Gentoo Foundation, Inc ( http://www.gentoo.org/foundation/en/bylaws.xml ) Gentoo Foundation Funding and Expenditures ( http://www.gentoo.org/foundation/en/funds.xml ) Gentoo Foundation Inc. Articles of Incorporation ( http://www.gentoo.org/foundation/en/articles.xml )

GENTOO FOUNDATION, INC. ( http://www.nmprc.state.nm.us/cgi-bin/prcdtl.cgi?2463313+GENTOO+FOUNDATION+INC ) --> " LICENSE WAS REVOKED...NAME UNAVAILABLE" http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/01/12/0152208

Consequences

File: Doug Klima http://article.gmane.org/gmane.linux.gentoo.devel/54066
 
US Copyright law would say some stuff is Daniel Robbins' and some stuff
is now Public Domain.
  

You get things like this:

File: L4in http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-4730369.html#4730369
 
How many gentoo developers does it take to change a light bulb? :?
  
File: Nerdanel http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-4730528.html#4730528
 
Answer:

Unknown. It was estimated that a five-member committee of lightbulb maintenance would be the right number.
However two of the members resigned and were replaced with two others.
After that other members resigned and were not replaced. The remaining group pondered which wattage should be chosen for the replacement lightbulb
or if they should outsource lightbulb maintenance to an even bigger group of people who would probably have some knowledge of electric engineering and shopping among them.
In the end, nobody bought a new lightbulb even though they promised the matter of darkness would be solved within a few days.
One member of committee justified this by him living on another continent where lightbulbs adhere to an incompatible standard.
Half a year later when the lightbulb was still out most of the committee had went AWOL except for one resigned member who sincerely said he was sorry
for his inability to fulfil or make any progress towards his grand plan for the lightbulb.

So five (or seven) was not it. Other numbers will be tried shortly after the committee of building maintenance comes to a decision.
  

Possible fixes for the problem:

FIXME: We need more good alternatives.

Current Status

[1] on Fri, 18 Jan 2008 14:15:17 -0600

File: From: Ferris McCormick Subject: Corporate Status, Bylaws Fri, 21 Mar 2008 17:31:32 +0000 http://archives.gentoo.org/gentoo-nfp/msg_6abaaf7795bdd4cde975665c7f309781.xml
 
This is a brief status update.  As the trustees know, we are currently
working with the attorney in New Mexico (Wayne G. Chew, Esq) who filed
the original paperwork for the Foundation.  He does not see any problems
getting us reinstated (always subject to change once he gets into it).
  


File:
 
Instrument 3 of 3:  	2463313 - Reinstatement
Filing Date: 	05/12/2008
Record Added: 	05/13/08 at 08:21:14
Microfilm Roll-Frame: 	0000-0000
Last action: 	Added by AMP on 05/13/08
Comments:	REINSTATED BASED ON FILING OF ALL REPORTS AND PAYMENT OF ALL FEES
  

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