General management guidelines

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This document sets out general guidelines for how the Libreboot project is governed, managed and who constitutes the core leadership of the project.

All project members must act according to the Guidelines for Good Conduct in the Libreboot community.

Democratic governance of the Libreboot project

Previously, the Libreboot leadership was a BDFL (Benevolent Dictator For Life) arrangement, with the project’s founder (Leah Rowe) having exclusive control over the project, delegating tasks (by her own exclusive discretion) to others. This style was very similar to the leadership structure of the Linux kernel project via Linus Torvalds and, while initially effective, was found to be ineffective and counter-productive in the long term.

The old leadership structure has been abandoned, and Leah is no longer leader of the Libreboot project. This decision was made democratically and collectively, by the same overall standards set out in this document, with Leah’s direct approval and participation, in the best long-term interests of the Libreboot project, where she agreed to stand down as project leader.

In principle and in practise, Libreboot is now a collectively and democratically governed project. Any individual member of the community, regardless of their current standing or reputation, can propose changes to the project (this includes code/documentation contributions, project management decisions and so on). The proposal can be absolutely anything, within reason where it is relevant to Libreboot and could be beneficial.

All proposals are subject to review and approval by the community. In the case of code patches, any member of the public can also voice their opinions on a contribution; the patch will also be reviewed by one of the core maintainers of the project. In the case of general project decisions, such as general policies of the project and management roles (such as, removing a core member who starts acting out of line with and/or in violation of project policies), the decision will also be polled by the community, to assess public support for such a decision. With public approval, and agreement among the core maintainers, the decision would then be enacted, and it falls on them to implement the mandate that was set, whatever that mandate might be.

Actual places to poll members of the public, shall be decided on by the core maintainers. Examples could include the IRC channel, the subreddit r/libreboot, the mailing list (if one exists), and any other place deemed appropriate.

Those who are part of the core maintainers and core management team, can be appointed and removed at the behest of popular public demand, with approval from the current core maintainers and/or management team within the Libreboot project.

Generally, the project should not have a single leader, but if such a role is required in the future, it will be a rotating leadership, to be changed after a certain period, subject to approval by the core maintainers and by popular public demand. Exact infrastructure for how to cast such votes and make such appointments will be decided at that time, when it becomes necessary for the Libreboot project.

Information about Libreboot’s code review and code management guidelines can be found on the Git section of the website.

Information about core team members, responsible for the Libreboot project

All of the people above are moderators in the Libreboot IRC channel, and form the basis of the project’s collective inner leadership, responsible as trustees for the project in ensuring the projects long-term success and for general management of the project.

All core members have push access to the Git repository for Libreboot. Additionally, Alyssa and Leah have SSH access (including root) to the main server for libreboot.org (this list will expand, if Alyssa and Leah both agree and if it is appropriate, e.g. if more System Administrators join the project).

Any member of the public can join this list, if they make substantial contributions and the core team members agree to it. Libreboot’s leadership is open to the public.

Other team members (IRC operators) who also have influence:

Additionally, Libreboot has a separate set of operators on the subreddit r/libreboot. Check Reddit for more information. Actions taken by moderators there are also subject to these management guidelines.

GNU project oversight (pending Libreboot’s potential GNU membership)

Libreboot has applied to become a member of the GNU project, per agreement by the core maintainers, plus widespread public support. This is being handled by Alyssa. It is not yet known whether GNU will accept Libreboot, and we (the core maintainers) are awaiting their response.

If Libreboot is accepted as a GNU member, then the GNU project will also form as part of Libreboot’s core leadership, overseeing the project. This will include Richard Stallman. GNU’s own leadership is separate from that of the Libreboot project (and vice versa), at present, but they would merge on Libreboot’s side if a union does occur.

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