Re: Formalising the release naming process [Was: GNOME Development Release 2.5.3]

<quote who="Tom Lamm">

> I don't chime in often but.... Let's not throw the baby out with the
> bathwater.

I think in this case, we're really not throwing anything out at all:

  * Obviously, quite a lot of people believe that even development release
    announcements are representative of GNOME as a project (and potentially
    the Foundation as an organisation). I didn't really think this was the
    case, but it is a point that has been made quite noisily, and it seems
    most of the people who have objected to the current development release
    name have done so on "representative" grounds of offensiveness, not
    personal grounds. [1]

  * Release names are not important. They don't actually mean anything.
    They're just a bit of random fun. During 2.5, the release naming theme
    has been quotes from The Big Lebowski, which is a "sacred text" within
    the GNOME project. Random, wacky, off-topic, etc. Not important. :-)

  * The aggregate releases - such as the Desktop and Developer Platform -
    represent everyone who contributed, so a release name selection may or
    may not appeal to (or even offend) a proportion of those people. Totally
    disregarding issues of representation, 

  * Finding or making up release names can actually be a non-trivial amount
    of work, and as noted above, they're unimportant. Imagine trying to turn
    this into "a process" or "democratising" it... Insane. We have enough
    work to do as it is on stuff that is actually important.

  * There are so many points of cultural failure here. At one stage, we were
    flamed for putting up an 'themed' GNOME logo for a Muslim celebration. I
    was actually flamed for being disrespectful to Astrid Lindgren during
    the pre-2.0 releases because referenced (in Swedish) Pippi Longstocking
    and her friends! I mean, it was almost an in memoriam (she had recently
    passed away)! Insane. So, even when we're being funny or nice, there's a
    chunk of our audience who may see it differently, even if they're a
    lunatic fringe (which I don't think is the case this time).

Now, given all of this, I think the right solution is to simply not name the
cross-project aggregate releases - stable or development - at all. Module
maintainers will still do whatever they want, and be flamed individually as
appropriate. We all look forward to Iain and George's release announcements,
don't we? [2] Anyway, I think this is the Right Thing to do. It's easy and
hopefully uncontroversial in itself (disappointment is not controversial).

But then, I thought that was also the case with the flags. :-)

So, while I didn't believe the release name was that objectionable in
context, I understand that quite a few people see it differently, and this
is how I'd like to avoid the problem in future.


- Jeff

[1] Which at least makes me somewhat happier that we're not suddenly veering
off into an icy, middle-age, social conservativism. What a horrible thought.

[2] Except, perhaps, all those people who flamed them for being informed
about the war in Iraq, and other highly political and offensive issues like
that. But then, maybe they like to flame.

GVADEC 2004: Kristiansand, Norway          
   "We are peaking sexually when they are peaking. And two peaks makes a
                        hell of a good mount." - SMH

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