Announcing the 'FreeBSD Community Process'

Allan Jude allanjude at
Thu Jun 15 03:17:40 UTC 2017

On 2017-06-14 22:55, Patrick Kelsey wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 2:53 AM, FreeBSD Core Secretary <
> core-secretary at> wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> Core has just presented their ideas for a new 'FreeBSD Community
>> Process' at BSDCan.  This will provide a more formalized mechanism for
>> proposing and deciding on important or contentious changes within the
>> Project.  The idea is to avoid discussions degenerating into an
>> interminable argument on the mailing lists with ultimately no action
>> being taken.
>> The FCP process is modelled on similar ideas in other projects,
>> particularly the Python Enhancement Process
>> (, the Joyent RFD Process
>> (, and even the
>> venerable IETF RFC Process
>> (
>> In summary, anyone wanting to make a change that will result in a
>> non-trivial effect on the FreeBSD User Base, (or retrospectively anyone
>> having backed out a change after running into contention over something
>> that turned out less trivial than they anticipated), should write down
>> what they propose to change, describing what problem they are trying to
>> solve, how they propose to solve it and what consequential impact this
>> will have.  Contact the fcp-editors@ mailing list for assistance in
>> getting your proposal into releasable state. The document is then added
>> to the FCP index, committed into the FCP repository and published for
>> discussion.  Each FCP proposal is a living document and will be updated
>> to reflect any conclusions resulting during the discussion.
>> Once consensus has been achieved, or the discussion has gone on for
>> enough time, Core will vote on accepting the FCP.  Core will be voting
>> according to the mood of the discussion around the proposal.
>> The current state of -- the document that defines the FCP
>> process -- can be viewed at
>> This is a working document and subject to change.  We will be applying
>> the FCP process as far as possible to fcp-0000 itself: this message
>> counts as the formal announcement on the fcp at mailing list
>> placing fcp-0000 into 'feedback' status.  Your contributions are
>> welcome, by email to the fcp at mailing list, or by submitting
>> issues or pull requests, or by annotating the document text
>> through GitHub.
>> For help with generating a new FCP document and discussion around the
>> FCP process please join the fcp-editors at mailing list.
>>         Cheers,
>>         Matthew
> I'm responding to the above message because I wasn't on the new fcp@ list
> in time to receive the FCP 0 announcement (
> ermail/freebsd-fcp/2017-June/000000.html).  I suspect other developers are
> in a similar situation, so I'll point out that responding to the above
> message invites continued cross-posting between developers@ and the public
> fcp at .
> Here are my comments questions so far:
> FCP github repository - Who has write access to this repo?  If that group
> is different from the group of potential FCP authors, then it should be
> made clear who this group is, as they will be deciding whether to honor
> merge requests for things like FCP number assignment and changes to FCP
> documents.  Also, does this repository only exist on github, or is a mirror
> maintained on project-controlled infrastructure?

Currently those with write access are: bapt, benno, myself. This list
will likely grow, but it is not exactly clear in what way yet. Likely
with those in the fcp-editors group, or maybe we end up with a small
team in the roll of fcp-secretary, like we have for core, portmgr, etc.

> FCP authorship - Who can be an FCP author and who can provide input?
> Anyone, or does at least one author have to be a committer, does it depend
> on topic, etc.

The process is open to anyone.

> Who is fcp-editors@?  Is this some select group, or is it just a mailing
> list via which any interested party can provide 'editorial review'?  Either
> way, how do 'editorial review' discussions not devolve into discussions
> that belong in the post-publication feedback phase?

Currently it is anyone who has volunteered. I think Warner is the only
person who has done so to date. The point of the fcp-editors@ list will
be to provide feedback and improve the draft of the proposal. Technical
discussions should wait until the feedback phase.

> This process seems intended at least in part to be a structured approach to
> marshaling a proposed change to a decision point when there is an
> associated lack of consensus, and/or significant contention, and/or
> outright dispute involved.  On this front, I think there are still some
> significant holes in the approach, or there are unstated assumptions that
> core@ (or perhaps fcp-editors@, if that is something other than just a
> mailing list) will be arbitrating at other points in the process besides
> the vote.
> Let's take the first example from FCP 0 of when an FCP should be written -
> when "A change lacks consensus or is significantly contended."  The process
> as described involves an initial set of authors requesting an FCP number,
> and it is that initial set of authors that will prepare a draft, solicit
> feedback, and incorporate the changes to the document.  In the face of a
> lack of consensus, significant contentions, or disputes (i.e., multiple
> competing viewpoints) regarding a change, who is this set of authors and
> which viewpoint gets drafted?  I don't think we can reasonably say 'a set
> of authors representing all viewpoints' and/or 'somehow one author but all
> viewpoints get included', because then we are just moving the interminable
> argument to another medium, one that is possibly filtered by only one of
> the viewpoints.  Do we wind up with an FCP for each viewpoint?  That is, if
> the change is of the form "We Need Better X" and there is significant
> contention/dispute as to whether it is "Better X by Method A", "Better X by
> Method B", or "Better X by Method C", do we wind up with three competing
> FCPs, one proposing each?

It is the intention of the FCP process that if there are multiple
different solutions, that each would have its own document, and one
would be selected, and other others would be closed as 'rejected in
favor of #B'.

> -Patrick
> _______________________________________________
> freebsd-fcp at mailing list
> To unsubscribe, send any mail to "freebsd-fcp-unsubscribe at"

The process is still quite fluid, we will not know how to best make this
all work until we have put the first few proposals through the process
and seen how it works.

Other groups like OpenDTrace, Joyent, and Python are using similar
processes very successfully, but FreeBSD is a much larger project, so I
am sure it will present its own challenges, but I am sure we'll be able
to overcome them.

Allan Jude

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