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Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2017 16:07:35 +0200
From: Solar Designer <solar@...nwall.com>
To: oss-security@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: accepting new members to (linux-)distros lists

On Sat, Jul 01, 2017 at 01:57:55PM +0200, Mark Hatle wrote:
> We (Wind River) can take a more active role in at least some of the
> administrative tasks..

Thank you!

> However, I can assure you we don't have the time or
> ability to do it ourselves.

No "time or ability" to take care of any one (or preferably more) of the
administrative micro-roles I listed?  This makes no sense to me.  All of
the administrative tasks combined are far less than one full-time job.
With good discipline and focus, they can probably be taken care of with
1 hour of effort per day on average (of course, there will be occasional
busy days, but also many days with no work of this type).  All of them
at once.  I think I know this because of me being the fallback person
for this type of work so far.  OTOH, I do recognize that I listed a few
additional tasks now - such as producing statistics - and the extent of
work on tasks involving monitoring external resources can vary greatly.
So maybe it's more than 1 hour/day on average with those extra tasks and
desired greater extent now.  But not much more.

What I do understand is needing to temporarily transfer responsibility
to another distro if your own team subscribed to the list is small and
many of these people may simultaneously go on vacation.

A reason why I listed so many administrative micro-tasks/roles is that
I'd like to allow for an even (or close to it) distribution of the
effort across the distros, where every one of them bears a tiny portion
of this small total effort of running the list.  This would also serve
to ensure and demonstrate to the rest of us that every distro is still
an active member, without us needing responsiveness tests.

The technical expertise tasks could be worked on to varying extent,
including becoming a full-time job for someone or even for several
people.  There's no decision on the exact extent yet, but it should be
sufficient to almost always avoid things like the recent incomplete fix
in Sudo.

> So the more then one 'actor' on an action would definitely be what I suggest.

That's within consideration, but we got to start by listing at least one
distro per task.  When we eventually have more than one listed for some
task, we or they will need to coordinate their activities, and that
could create extra work.  Perhaps a "primary and backup" arrangement for
two distros sharing a task will work best: will not result in "no one's
responsibility" and will have low coordination overhead.

The first administrative task of getting back to message senders is so
trivial that I think it'd make sense to keep it reserved to the distro
who was last to join, perhaps switching responsibility to them from the
previous distro once the new member has confirmed they're successfully
receiving messages through the list.  The new distro will be "primary"
and the previous will be "backup" for that role.  Always that way,
unless the newly joining distro opts for something less trivial right
away.  (I know some people would be offended by being asked to
participate in this trivial activity.  I think they'd be wrong, but we
can accommodate their egos, no problem.)  This will quickly test each
new distro's responsiveness and get them involved, and hopefully
encourage them to pick up several of the less trivial tasks as well
(they will need to, or otherwise they'd be left without a task once
another distro joins, which would be inappropriate).

> Unfortunately I really don't have a good sense (based on the link to the tasks)
> as to what would be appropriate to volunteer for.  I'm open to suggestions.

It's really anything you feel like doing.  Perhaps see in which areas
you have been helping already, and suggest that you focus on those.

If you really want me to narrow down the list for you, let me know.

This may also start happening on its own, due to other distros picking
up tasks.  Once a task is taken by one or two distros, I will want
further distros to volunteer for other tasks.  So if you want to have
more freedom of choice, hurry up.

OTOH, with distros not volunteering for specific tasks (like we've seen
so far), I might just assign tasks to distros myself.

Alexander

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