On Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 9:08 PM Mark Wielaard <mjw(a)gnu.org> wrote:
The GNU Assembly was first proposed after the GNU Hacker's
Paris (2011). Even though there was broad consensus at the time that
the GNU project would be healthier and more effective if GNU members
had the ability to act more collectively and publicly, it took till now
to actually set it up. gnu.tools is what we hope will be that GNU
The GNU Assembly is a public community of GNU project members who
want to transparently and collectively produce technical and
organizational recommendations for GNU packages following the GNU
Social Contract <https://wiki.gnu.tools/gnu:social-contract>
recommendations will aim to actively defend user freedoms, create a
consistent GNU System, collaborate with the broader Free Software
community, and through mentoring and apprenticeship, make GNU a
project that welcomes contributions from all and everyone.
This is a great definition.
The current members of the GNU Assembly are those who, as GNU
maintainers, FSF stewards or GNU package developers have endorsed the
GNU Social Contract:
This gives us all a common set of goals for using to reach consensus.
During the GNU Social Contract discussions we contacted all the GNU
maintainers as listed in the maintainers file on fencepost twice. There
are ~400 GNU maintainers listed, but the first time ~50 addresses
bounced, and the second time ~30. We don't have exact numbers for the
number of maintainers who gave feedback, but it was less than 50. There
were 3 people who said they would personally endorse, but not as GNU
maintainer. There were 4 people who said they were a maintainer, just
not registered in the maintainers file. There were 3 people who said
their project is (no longer) GNU. In the end 23 people sent in their
endorsement, there were no maintainers who explicitly didn't want to
endorse the GNU Social Contract.
So ~50% of the maintainer who actually responded continued on to
endorse the contract.
~400 -> ~350 -> ~50 -> ~25 or ~6%
There are only ~20-40 active releases a year based on Andy's gathered data:
So it doesn't surprise me that the feedback rate is ~50 developers (since
most projects are one lead developer).
In that case the assembly is ~50% of the active projects (for some definition
of active). That's a substantive group, and a good indication that there is a
mandate to do things differently.
It is not entirely clear how to interpret these numbers. It might be
interesting to know the average number of maintainers per package and
the active number of packages (perhaps take the definition of the last
state of the GNUnion) to see how many of the maintainers should still
be active. But I think it is fair to say that, even if most maintainers
don't seem active anymore, that we currently don't have a majority of
GNU maintainers being part of the GNU Assembly yet.
No we don't have a majority of GNU Maintainers, and that might be
impossible if they are inactive maintainers.
What we probably have is entire packages which are interested in doing
We could as packages decide to adopt recommendations as developed by
the GNU Assembly.
So I think one of the first public discussions we should have is how
expand the GNU Assembly so that it can represent the majority of GNU
members in a way that keeps it focused on the GNU mission and keeps the
That is a good question.
The GNU Assembly currently provides two resources, <
a GNU Mailman based site for public
discussions, and <https://wiki.gnu.tools/>
a git backed wiki for
storing discussion documents.
Use of any gnu.tools resources is covered by the Contributor Covenant
Code of Conduct <https://wiki.gnu.tools/wiki:code-of-conduct>
current administrators can be found at <
;. These are simply the people who put
in the work till now. But others are certainly welcome to join.
We have setup the most requested resources, a public wiki and a public,
but members only, mailinglist. But we would like to provide others that
the GNU community needs. Personally I would like to make sure we have
the resources to hold virtual conferences, like LibrePlanet 2020 had (a
mumble, etherpad, jitsi and icecast server). Given that the GNU Tools
Cauldron has already been postponed and it isn't clear whether the next
GNU Hackers Meeting can be held in person.
All good points.
Does anybody have suggestions for user/account management? It would
nice if all our resources had the same user accounts, so it is easy to
grant access to everybody who registered. I have been looking at
FreeIPA and Keycloak, which should plug into almost anything that has
some kind of user authentication mechanism. But maybe there are simpler
That's all very technical.
Taking a step back: How do you define membership in the GNU Assembly?
What does the governance of the GNU Assembly look like?