[Dextrose] [Sugar-devel] Sugar UI Dictator

Michael Stone michael at laptop.org
Wed Nov 24 13:04:25 EST 2010

On Wed, 24 Nov 2010 at 10:43:24 -0500, C. Scott wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 1:37 AM, Michael Stone <michael at laptop.org> wrote:
>>> That reduces time commitment without diluting buck-stopping
>>> responsibility.
>> A committee-of-three with people like Gary, Martin, and Walter on it will
>> have adequate buck-stopping capacity, no?
> I think that it is possible that a committee of three will actually
> get less accomplished (and less coherently) than one
> person-who-really-doesn't-have-time.

You're right that it's a risk... but isn't it a lesser risk than the risk of
failing to find an appropriate rock star? 

(...unless you've got someone in mind who I've overlooked?)

> I'm suggesting that you work on reducing the time commitment

And I have been, by doing what I can to prune the responsibilities of the job
and by making sure to leave the committee members free to decide their own ways
and means. 

(That is, if they decide that the right way to do the job is to try a "merge
window" for HIG changes, to delegate to lieutenants, or to _____, then they
Decide to do it and we'll find out whether or not it works.)

> rather than dilute the responsibility.

Relative to the current situation, my proposal greatly concentrates the
responsibility *and* lays the groundwork for a proper dispute-resolution

> I like and respect Gary, Martin, and Walter, and I think I'd have no
> trouble convincing them of any UI change I'd wish to make.

I know a simple way to test. :)

More seriously though, it seems that several of your concerns revolve around
ways in which the system I'm proposing might fail to make good decisions due to
inefficiency, overload, suasion, or other "environmental factors". 

Would it help if we built some kind of "big red button" into the process like
the ones famously installed by Toyota to permit their workers to halt the
assembly line when they find defects?

> Failing a good candidate, I think "do no harm" should be the motto --
> concentrate on the (many!) design-related tasks which *don't* involve
> making design decisions.  

Unfortunately, failing to make the decisions that need to be made *is* doing
harm. That's why Bernie asked for a dictator.

> I think a self-appointed Design Dictator Committee 

Not self-appointed -- appointed by the Oversight Board. 

(You and I are just discussing candidates who we like, trying to convince
ourselves that success is possible.)

> composed entirely of developers

Gary and Walter are not primarily developers. Nor are Eben and Christian, who I
would expect to provide regular "expert testimony".

> some who may well have written portions of the patches under review, can
> easily do more harm than good.

See above about the "big red button" idea. Would it help here?

> I'd rather see an all-developer "Designer Enablement Committee" whose
> job was to maintain design docs, collect issues for review, and
> generally make it possible to have a productive one-hour once-a-month
> design review meeting with the best *designers* we could get to do it.
> (Or once-a-release-cycle, as Christoph would have it.)

The two ideas aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Do you know people who
want to do the job?

> If the problem is that the good designers don't have enough time, I
> don't think the solution is to use whoever we can find who has the
> time.

Agreed -- but Gary, Martin, and Walter aren't "whoever" and they're aren't
being suggested because they're rolling in free time -- they haven't got it
either. What they do have (I think!) is the *collective* design skills, the
good-will, and *enough* free time to get the community unstuck and to do more
good than harm in the process.



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