Moving sourceware to the Linux Foundation? No thanks.

Christopher Faylor
Sun Sep 18 19:42:38 GMT 2022

Just a heads up to the people reading this list:

A couple of GNU project affiliated folks have been soliciting the Linux
Foundation to "take over" sourceware.  The talks have been going on in
relative secrecy for more than a year.  The project is officially
mentioned here:

(search for GNU toolchain)

This proposal is for more than the fiscal sponsorship offered by the
SFC, as seen in the overseers mailing list.  The SFC proposal keeps the
current sourceware infrastructure and administration while offering
opportunities for fiscal sponsorship to help fund new sourceware
infrastructure projects.

The LF proposal, on the other hand, is for a wholesale move of the
sourceware domain and services to a system wholly owned and controlled
by Linux Foundation IT.

I can't personally support the LF plan and, if the move happens as it's
being proposed, will no longer be contributing my time to sourceware.

I did endorse this move to the LF when I first heard about it in April
but I've since withdrawn that support and removed myself from the "GTI"
team which you can see at the project page above.  My reasons:

0) It is dubious to me that the organizers have the authority to
represent "sourceware" or even their own communities in any official

1) The non-public, compartmentalized approach employed by the organizers
for gaining what they call "consensus" seemed to be counter to the
way things are usually handled in FOSS projects.

Until very recently, the organizers seemed to be intent on minimizing
public disclosure and discussion of this endeavor until they can make a
big reveal.  To me, that seems wrong for something this important.
Moving sourceware is a huge deal and I think there should be *public*
discussion with as many people as possible.

2) Private email to select individuals seemed to focus on only the "GNU"
people who use sourceware even though project-count-wise GNU/FSF
projects are in the minority here.

Popular projects like Cygwin were not represented in these private
discussions even though the Cygwin project would be severely impacted by
any move.  I guess that makes sense for a "GNU Toolchain Initiative" but
it doesn't make sense when you're talking about moving *all* projects
hosted by to a differently (and more restrictively) run

3) LF IT's proposal for how services would be provided to this new
platform seemed questionable.

IMO, if the move happens, we'd be giving up too much autonomy.
Administrative decisions would require a committee vote, asking LF IT
for a statement of work.  I think that is guaranteed to add frustrating
red tape and delay.

Sourceware could also be forced to use proprietary software for things
like mailing lists - which is something that should be an anathema to
FOSS projects.

I was also not confident that LF IT would be dedicated to a seamless,
minimum-downtime transition.  I think there could be a noticeable impact
on project development during any sourceware transition.


If you're satisfied in the way sourceware has been run and are confident
that the people running it know what they're doing, and have your best
interests at heart, then please speak up.  If you don't really know
what's going on here and don't want to take my word for it that
something smells fishy then *please* listen carefully to to the proposal
if/when this is finally publicly announced.  I would not be surprised if
alarms start going off in your head when you hear what's being proposed
- like they did for me.

For those who don't know, I've been helping keep sourceware running
since I was at Cygnus (and then Red Hat) starting in 1999.  I've
continued to offer my volunteer services since I left Red Hat in 2003.


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