My resignation

Jeremy Utley jeremy at
Mon Jul 12 15:35:04 PDT 2004

Matthew Burgess wrote:

>On Mon, 12 Jul 2004 16:41:43 -0400
>Jeremy Huntwork <jhuntwork at> wrote:
>>On Monday 12 July 2004 04:35 pm, Zack Winkles wrote:
>>>Long story short: I give up.  I'm tired of the fighting, the
>>>flaming, the personality conflicts, all of it.  I quit.
>>Where did this come from?  Why have we been losing so many good 
>>people? :(
><warning>Long post below</warning>
>Because I've been ineffective as a "people person".  There have been a
>lot of personality conflicts which have remained off-list (and rightly
>so, IMO).  I've been unable to resolve them, hoping almost that they'd
>somehow magically resolve themselves.  If truth be told, I too was
>nearing the point of resigning, although have managed to fight that
>feeling off for the time being.
>I've been told off-list, by several people, that I'm "too nice" - i.e. I
>don't tell people to behave/shut-up/etc.  To that I'd respond that until
>recently I really didn't think the project needed policing like that. 
>When I was asked by Gerard to take on a more "coordinator" like role, I
>had all the best intentions of setting/clarifying policies and/or
>ground-rules in order to try and get everyone (editors and lfs-dev
>followers alike) "singing from the same hymn sheet".  Alas I never got
>around to producing any official docs on that, and I'm not sure they
>would have helped much anyway.
>Additionally, after the last fall-out we lost a few editors, so I
>basically took on the first people that volunteered to perform editing
>tasks.  Whilst *everyone's* work is appreciated, I'm not sure that those
>that volunteered knew the direction of the LFS book (did it/does it even
>have a direction?) and neither did I 'vet' any of the volunteers to
>determine whether what they wanted to contribute to the book would be
>in-keeping with where the book should be going. It was an attempt at
>damage limitation - i.e. simply have enough hands on the pumps to keep
>the project moving, but it appears to have backfired badly, creating
>animosity betweeen a number of people on this list.
>So, what does all that mean?  Well, I'd like to be able to stay on, for
>the time being at least.  More importantly, I really think it's time
>that the LFS Book had a clear statement of direction - exactly what does
>it intend to achieve, and what methods will be used in order to achieve
>it.  To this end I believe that
> (which
>will make it into the book shortly as part of bug #791) will go at least
>some way to resolving this problem.  The way I see it, we need to ensure
>that a) volunteers know what they're volunteering for and b) The project
>takes on those volunteers best suited to helping it reach its goals.
>Without those goals being explicitly stated and easily accessible then I
>don't think we can ever expect to reduce the turnover of staff we've
>experienced recently. Personal agendas will simply get in the way of any
>progress if those goals are not known.
>Anyway, just some food for thought!
<warning>More long notes below</warning>

I wanted to expand on what Matt has said a little more.  Although it's 
not "official", in many circles I seem to be acknoledged as somewhat of 
a leader in the LFS community myself.  I will not attempt to debate the 
validity of that opinion in this E-mail.  But, as a long time member of 
the LFS community, I believe I can speak from a position of authority on 
this subject.

The core problem is the LFS community has become fragmented into 2 
different camps.  For want of a better description, I'll use 2 examples, 
and please noone take offense at how I describe this!

1) The Jeroen/Archaic camp - Slower developement, making sure that 
things are always stable, even if we're not leading the pack in 
incorporating new things
2) The BE-LFS camp - Fast development, working with bleeding edge (Beta 
releases, sometimes CVS code).

This fragmentation is what was supposed to be resolved by the 3-tier 
development model, but the frustration still remains from previous.  
BE-LFS was a good idea that perhaps should have been handled 
differently, IMHO.  I just never anticipated the bad feelings and dare I 
say it, hatred, directed at myself and the others involved with BE-LFS.  
After all, LFS has always been "Your Distro, Your Rules", and the 
feelings we got from others was "Why didn't you ask us before you did 

All the arguing in the project is fragmenting the project.  Notice all 
the people who have left in the last few weeks - Alexander, Jim Gifford, 
Zack.  I myself told Matt on IRC that I was resigning from all duties 
with the project other than the assistance I provide in helping maintain 
Belgarath, I just never publicly posted on the list that I was doing 
so.  After talking at length with Matt, I have decided to take a wait 
and see attitude.

LFS has potential, but the community needs to come back together again.  
Everyone needs to remember that each individual person wants something 
different from LFS.  If someone wants to do something a little 
different, and wants to post their build documentation for that (like we 
did with BE-LFS), there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.  They're 
NOT trying to fork from the LFS project, they're simply doing something 
a little different.  They can be encouraged to write hints, or whatever, 
but if they don't want to do that, that's their choice.  Hints, IMHO, 
are a poor solution for modifying the LFS build to any large degree - 
it's too easy to forget something and end up with a broken build - I did 
this myself quite a few times trying to apply the NPTL hint.

Simply, the community needs to come back together, and work together, as 
a team.  Drop personal agendas, and work for the betterment of LFS as a 

Just some food for thought...


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