On Sun, Apr 04, 2021 at 08:21:56AM -0600, Mark Galassi wrote:
The disarray in the FSF gets worse. The zdnet article seemed to me
to be well written:
With a lot of staff quitting, one thing that might happen is that
the smaller GNU projects might have to deal with deteriorating
infrastructure. Imagine what would happen if savannah and the
mailing list servers were to go down. The ftp/web server that links
to our projects and documentation might also not be well-maintained.
Although I think that article describes the situation correctly and it
is true that the management team has said they will resign I don't
think the situation is critical at this time. The FSF financials have
taken a hit, but they have enough money left to keep running for a
couple of years. And the management team will stay on till the
transition is completed, so they will be around for a couple of
months. There are also volunteers that help with the website,
mailinglists and savannah. But it is indeed not clear how long they
will stick around.
Not saying it isn't a good idea to investigate different hosting for
some of the project resources, but I don't think this is something
that will break down in the next couple of weeks/months.
This is a practical rather than a foundational aspect of the matter
at hand. The foundational matters are also very important: what
happens to stewardship of the GPL and to projects that have "GPL
v or later as published by the FSF" in their license statement?
That's for a separate thread. Same goes for fiscal sponsorship.
Although that is right, I do think they are related and as important,
if not more, than the practical hosting issues. Having a good grasp on
the foundational aspects and having a strong fiscal sponsor really
helps focus which solutions are best for the project.
On the practical side:
The business of running an IT shop for GNU projects is non-trivial.
Some projects have their own (like the project that kindly donates
this list), but that's less ambitious than a turn-key system for
many loosely connected projects.
My collaborator Allison mentioned some possible replacements for
project s/w infrastructure, and I'll copy that info here just to get
some talk going.
Thanks, I didn't know about opendev. I have a little experience with
osuosl and they are great, but the resources you get are pretty bare
bones (but that also makes things really flexible).
> One quick and easy option for the infrastructure is:
> They only do infrastructure for free software, and nothing else. I
> suspect the GNU maintainers will feel at home with their mission
> statement "Free software needs free tools", OpenDev is dedicated to
> running only free software. All the infrastructure services are free,
> and it's automated so they can spin up a git repo or mailing list in
> minutes, instead of a long tedious manual process. Some of the team who
> runs OpenDev used to work for me, so I'm happy to make introductions if
> any GNU projects want to explore this as a backup plan.
> Another free infrastructure option is Oregon State University's Open
> Source Lab. Again, they only do infrastructure, and wouldn't have any
> involvement in project or technical governance. It's largely staffed by
> student interns to the department, so not as experienced as the OpenDev
> folks, and there have been some issues. But, still more reliable than
> FSF's infrastructure.
> There are some other general free software umbrella organizations that
> have a little more of an infrastructure focus. Software in the Public
> Interest (who host Debian and X.org) comes to mind. But, they are
> primarily a fiscal umbrella rather than infrastructure, and would likely
> have a more lengthy human review process. (With OpenDev, I have
> literally reached out over IRC about a new project, and had a mailing
> list up within an hour.)
> Feel free to share this info with any GNU maintainers.
> Oh, one more slightly more unusual option is a small free software
> foundation that's been operating in the US since 2018, and just
> established a new entity in Belgium: Nordix Association (nordix.org
> doesn't actually host projects in the Conservancy sense, but it does
> host mailing lists and git repos for projects. Fair warning, though, I
> personally admin the mailing lists (all GNU Mailman), which is good in
> the sense that I can set up new ones very quickly, but it does mean that
> I don't have the capacity to do spam review for a large number of new
> mailing lists, so they'd have to do that part themselves. Nordix doesn't
> host its own git repos, so that would be GitLab. I wouldn't rate this as
> their best option, but having a place they can move to quickly may end
> up being important, depending on how things go.