[IAEP] decision panel: waste of time

Daniel Drake dsd at laptop.org
Mon Sep 28 14:20:36 EDT 2009

I've looked at some initial discussion on the "decision panel" (I
don't even have time to read all of it) and I think it's time to go
back to the start.

For each question:
 who's asking?
 is it a reasonable question?
 have we definitely failed to reach community consensus?
 what effects will the answer have?

Sebastian asked the original question: "Is the current SoaS going to
be the primary way Sugar Labs distributes a Sugar-centric GNU/Linux

After communicating with Sebastian by IRC and email (me being
skeptical and curious why this question was even being asked), I
learned that Sebastian is not trying to make his SoaS project be the
king-of-all-distributions (he encourages competition) but simply wants
to know if it is safe to call his project "Sugar on a stick." The
original question doesn't matter to him, or perhaps we can say that
the original question was developed to becoming a simple question of
project naming.

So that leads to what I believe is the only question with any importance:

"Should 'Sugar on a Stick' be a phrase that SL asks its community to
avoid using unless they refer to the SoaS-Fedora distribution?"

Who's asking? Sebastian
Is it a reasonable question? Yes. There has been some confusion about
use of the name:
 - Sugar on a stick has been a concept within the community for a long
time, only recently has it become a solid, mainstream implementation
(and even then, there was still a strong element of concept in the
 - Non-Fedora distros have also started making sugar distros that run
from live USB, and although they haven't been named "Sugar on a
stick," I recall at least a few mentions from people in the community
referring to them that way
 - Another party registered the domain name sugaronastick.com

Have we definitely failed to reach community consensus? Yes, there
seem to be 2 common conflicting viewpoints:
 - Sebastian has done great work, let's give him the name and get any
other projects to use new names
 - No, lets reserve the name as a marketing term, for clarity of
message. (even though Sebastian can use it for now)
It's trivial to find examples of these conflicting viewpoints in the
threads that have emerged so far

What effects will the answer have? Sebastian has indicated that it's
important to him, and a decision here would affect how he names his
work and possibly where he hosts it, and which umbrella organisation
he sees his work underneath.

The other questions all fail the tests in my opinion - nobody is
asking them for any practical purpose, and the results from a decision
panel will not have any effect. For example, the decision panel could
say that SL should focus on being a distro builder, but what does that
even mean? All SL work is volunteer based, that answer isn't going to
magically make people start doing that work where they weren't before.

I also think that any kind of decision delegation should be done by a
small group, in a short time, and with only a small amount of extra
community input (the decision was handed off to a panel precisely
because the community could not reach consensus). Let's finish the
politics quickly and move back to real work... remember our goal:


p.s. I'm still not clear if this decision panel has been formed for
every undecided question that might possibly form in the future, or if
it will be torn down after this particular session?

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