Today was the first meeting of the Fedora Server Working Group!
In case you’re not aware, let me provide a bit of background on the group first, and then we’ll go through a summary of how the meeting went.
Stephen Gallagher wrote an excellent background to the working group in his announcement of the group’s formation, so this will be a very brief summary. For more in-depth information please refer to his post.
Matthew Miller and Stephen Gallagher (with a lot of input and help of the Fedora community) put together the Fedora.next proposal which he presented at Flock and on various mailing lists; it’s been discussed within the Fedora community for the past couple of months at least. Part of the proposal involves the creation of working groups, three of which are product working groups – Workstation, Cloud, and Server.
The deliverables the working groups are meant to focus on first are the following:
- A Product Requirements Document due January, 2013.
- A list of necessary changes from existing Fedora procedures needed to release the product.
- To actually tart producing the Fedora Products listed here.
Stephen Gallagher is the Server Working Group’s FESCo coordinator, and he chose a set of self-nominated Fedora community members to serve alongside himself as the nine voting members of the Server Working Group:
- Stephen Gallagher (sgallagh)
- Jim Perrin (Evolution)
- David Strauss (davidstrauss)
- Truong Anh. Tuan (tuanta)
- Máirín Duffy (mizmo)
- Kevin Fenzi (nirik)
- Miloslav Trmač (mitr)
- Simo Sorce (simo)
- Jóhann B. Guðmundsson (Viking-Ice)
Note that anyone is welcome to participate as a non-voting member!
How to Get Involved
Here are the various resources currently affiliated with the Server Working Group that you can use to follow along or participate:
- IRC Channel: #fedora-server on Freenode IRC
- Mailing List: server at lists.fedoraproject.org
- Wiki Page: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Server (I haven’t set this up yet but will hopefully later today)
Here’s a run-down of today’s Server Working Group meeting:
- Meeting frequency and times
- Ticket Tracker/Wiki
- Governance Charter
- Open Floor
Meeting Frequency and Times
First we talked about how frequently we should meet and at what time. This diverged a bit into other topics (how to handle absences and time zone issues.) We agreed on the following points:
- The Server working group will meet on a weekly basis. There wasn’t any dissension about or discussion on this point.
- If there is no agenda posted to the mailing list within 24 hours before a meeting is set to start, the meeting is cancelled and Stephen will send out a cancellation notice to the mailing list. Jóhann suggested the cancellation note just so that it’s clear the meeting is not happening.
- Stephen will send out an email to the voting members to figure out a time that works for everyone on a weekly basis. It was pointed out that the United States is going to go through another time shift this coming weekend, and we’re coming down off a flurry of conference travel with folks travelling across timezones, so we need to set a time that will be sustainable long-term.
- In the case where a voting member can not make a meeting, they can either pre-vote via the mailing list or abstain-by-default. I did raise a concern about unplanned votes taking place due to a disagreement that cropped up during a meeting that an absent member could not forsee to pre-vote on, but we decided keeping things simpler is best, and if that one vote wouldn’t have mattered anyway it is not a big deal. We’ll wait until we run into a situation where the absence becomes a problem to make any policy for it.
- During meetings, silence indicates consent. If people disgaree, then that will bring it to a vote. As Kevin pointed out, “I think we should strive to work on consensus, and only vote on things where it’s clear people aren’t going to be convinced to agree.”
We then moved on to talk about the tools we will use to conduct business – managing and tracking our progress. Some of the asset types that came up as needing to be managed with tools were:
- Working documents (governance doc, PRD)
- Agenda items
- Meeting minutes / summaries
While Stephen suggested initially that we set up a Trac instance to keep track of agenda items and discussions, several members (Jóhann, David, Simo) had concerns about prematurely setting up Trac before we had determined through experience that we needed it. We collectively decided to table any Trac set up and to use the Fedora wiki to trac agenda items, decisions, and discussions until it became too unwieldy. At that point, we would have the experience to fully understand the requirements of the tool we needed and be able to select a tool based on requirements. Again, the overarching concern here, I believe, was simplicity.
I volunteered to start a blog for the group to share meeting minutes and any progress we’ve made (so here you are. 🙂 ) Initially I’m going to make the blog posts here on my personal blog, but I will also set up a group blog for the Server working group on OpenShift and have that subscribed to Planet Fedora. Meeting minutes will also be posted to the server mailing list as well as to the Fedora meeting minutes list.
It was very unanimously agreed that the working documents would be stored on the Fedora project wiki, following the lead of the Cloud working group.
We then moved on to start discussing the governance charter. Jóhann very helpfully put together a Fedora Server working group governance charter draft which we read through and used to direct the discussion.
Jóhann’s draft has four main sections:
- Current Members
- Making Decisions
- Changing These Rules
While there was a lot of agreement about the content of the other three sections, there were some concerns and disagreement about the content of the membership section – enough that the discussion was not conclusive and we decided that we should discuss it further on the mailing list and it should be part of the agenda for next week’s meeting.
The main point of contention about the membership section was that there are certain slots in Jóhann’s proposal meant to be dedicated to specific teams within Fedora. There were several concerns voiced about this team-based slot approach:
- Some teams in Fedora are spread thinly enough that they might not have anyone willing to serve in representation of them. The counter to this concern that Kevin proposed is that the groups would be given ‘first dibs’ at nominating someone to fill their slot, and if they couldn’t then the slot would open up to anybody interested.
- It’s not really clear what advantage having someone from each team would provide the group – it was pointed out by both mitr and mclasen that it is easy to reach out to folks on other teams and get help from them, and being a direct member of the working group isn’t necessary to assit the group.
- Some of the slots are reserved for people who represent the ‘server community,’ but it isn’t clear how someone would be identified as representing the server community or not. What exactly is the server community? Doesn’t everyone on the working group need to represent the server community? How can you discern if someone is qualified to do that?
- Miloslav was concerned about this resulting in the group “having a great planning infrastructure and no one to do the planned work,” and suggested it would be better if the group was made up primarily of ‘do-ers’ who can get things done rather than decision-makers who would need to rely on external volunteers to get the work done.
Hopefully we’ll have some discussion about these points and others and clear up what we think the membership section needs to say.
We only had about 5 minutes left (and went over by 5 more) after determining the main meat of the governance proposal that we had to work on was the membership section. We threw out different ideas for loose threads of discussion and other issues we thought should be considered for the next meeting’s agenda:
- The governance “membership” section – The ‘membership’ section of the Server working group governance draft.
- The use cases for the Server product – discussion of this is already happening on the mailing list. These should help inform the product requirements document the team needs to put together for January.
- Short-term deliverables and PRD – Kevin suggested that we should start discussions on the team’s short term deliverables and initial PRD work.
- General direction of how the product will be made – Simo brought up that we might need to discuss ‘how the sausage gets made,’ e.g., “are we going to suddenly have 4 different rawhides or how to we handle package management.” Jim responded with, “I would hope we’re still working from a common package set, and either putting our changes in the packages or groups.” Simo concluded that, “I’d like we discuss a bit in the agenda what we think is the general direction and the ‘absolutely not’ and the ‘absolutely can’t do without.'”
- Mission statement – Stephen suggested, to follow the Workstation group’s lead, that we put together a mission statement (and potentially a vision statement.) I’m going to draft the initial statements and send them to the list for discussion.
Here is the official meetbot meeting minutes with links to the full raw log: