Linux Unplugged Podcast #364: Linux Arm Wrestling

Discussion with @philm about recent events.

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Thank you, I wanted to hear the other side of the coin.

From Change in manjaro team composition :

From https://opencollective.com/manjaro/expenses/22477 :

Comments for this expense are private. You must be signed in as an admin or the expense submitter to view them.

By Vitor Lopes
Updated on July 29, 2020
Expense approved

Slow clap for the new and much improved transparent process, much obliged!

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wow the feeeees

It was a team decision to reimburse our most productive maintainer for his purchase. Kudos @schinfo!

We should have waited until the announcement of our spending policy.

Comments are private but you the expense is visible.


BTW and off-topic: I hope other distros learn from our mistakes, too.

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Yes you should have. Frankly, it makes all promises of more transparency seem extremely disingenuous if you are not even able to follow the process for the very expense that sparked the whole debate. Do you really think the community has the attention span of a fly?

I would really hope this distribution would learn from its own mistakes to begin with, and currently it does not seem like it.

so do not use it, free to come free to leave KISS

When it comes to money. Kiss the KISS system out the window!!!

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Quoting @philm verbatim from the podcast, starting at 00:05:40:

Well, um, the laptop is for a community developer who is, uh, mostly based in Germany, and he is, uh, presenting Manjaro at several trade shows [...]

That kind of statement is worrying, since it shows that there is no sufficient distinction between community and company funds: if this laptop is indeed used to represent Manjaro the company at trade shows to secure more hardware deals, like they have done in the past, this is certainly not (solely) a community expense because it benefits the company as well.

To be fair, the official justification for the laptop is "Notebook for Package Building and Testing", which is completely fine of course, but entanglements like these show that there needs to be a process in place that is lead by somebody with a neutral standpoint to ensure there is no conflict of interest. The fact that the people involved cannot even seem to wait until such a process is in place (once again) is extremely disappointing.

Hopefully this thread will be as free of departure announcements and negativity as possible. We did that last thread.

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With trade shows he meant conventions like FOSDEM.

I personally am very bad in learning from my mistakes. It takes so much mental work or proper spanking.

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From what I heard the process was limiting the flexibility of the team to develop for Manjaro. So, the mistake was that it was decided for the process to be essentially bypassed on this occasion and by that I mean @philm stepped in to provide the developer with the necessary equipment. Furthermore, the whole team was agreeing on the purchase of the laptop, someone just happened to disagree with the extra configuration. Am I understanding the events correctly?

@schinfo is not employed by the Manjaro company. He represents the Manjaro community, not the company. Manjaro GmBH was founded to support Manjaro distro, so everything that benefits the distro automatically benefits the company as well. Some entanglement is therefore inevitable, but the community funds have not been used to fund the company.

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There was no bypass, schinfo simply chose the wrong order and took jonathon by surprise. After a discussion everybody agreed that the laptop was OK for the purpose (heaviest compiling and testing payloads).
And I won't write any personal stuff, but you can imagine what humans are like.

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The laptop and the extra configuration were entirely trivial to the conflict. The process was not bypassed. It was actually being followed. But the process didn't feel functional, which started a conflict after the decision had been made according to the process.

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Oh wow, so there never was a problem. Ok thank you very much for finally clearing things up for me. What happened essentially was that jonathon just decided to come out and accuse the team of something that was in reality in total compliance with the rules. The process was just decided to be changed cause it was problematic.

I don't see any mistakes then form you guys, someone just didn't like a particular take on a matter. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this kind of behavior and see users leave and ignore your hard work on an amazing piece of technology. I wish you the best and I'll definitely be recommending Manjaro in the future. Wish you all the best! :smiley:

Maybe ask Jonathon for his interpretation. You can also search for his posts on the forum and understand his view.

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The biggest problem with the policy was that it was too vague, so everyone kinda avoided asking for anything. This is the whole process described in the OC:

Expenses should be discussed on the forum and/or Telegram and nominally approved, and normally prior to any purchases being made, before being submitted to the Collective.

So, having a more defined process will be good. That's what I think what Jonathon wanted too.

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... which too often almost always led to exhausting discussions ...

Firstly, this is nothing to do with whether a specific laptop is suitable for package building; focussing on that is a gross oversimplification. It might be easier to understand ("Is €2000 a lot of money?") but that really isn't the point.


Incorrect. My position has already been outlined and, to date, no part of that has been shown to be based on anything but the truth. No statement has been made to the contrary.

If processes have since been changed then I won't know about that.

If that means there is a proper and independent financial governance structure in place for the Community donations - which is not unduly influenced or directed by Company goals - then great.


Mainly rhetorical rather than a direct reply:

If you can't clearly justify why you want money for something, maybe you don't need money for something?

When I independently and openly raised funds for my current laptop, I was using a server at work to build packages for Manjaro and manjaro32. The laptop (with its desktop Ryzen 1700 CPU) enabled me to effectively build packages when the server was repurposed. I also paid ~65% of the cost of said laptop, as well as covering the cost of other upgrades, because I knew I would use it for things other than just project work.

I'll let others decide whether my approach and justification was reasonable.


This is the other issue. While one specific laptop might not fall into this category, others potentially do, hence the potential conflict of interest (especially when those laptops are supplied by companies with whom the company has a commercial agreement). The other potential conflict is what exactly is being represented at trade shows and funded via community funds for marketing and travel expenses etc.

That is, is it "Manjaro" the community project, or "Manjaro" the company? And, most importantly, how do you know?

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