Having spent over a decade on the ESC and had the great privilege of minuting and trying to organize most of its meetings over its first many years - I would like to offer some words of profound thanks both to past, existing, and future members as I step down.
I think it is worth reflecting that the ESC is (to my mind) one of the best-functioning and most collegial bodies of TDF. While other bodies have intermittently consumed themselves with in-fighting and personal attacks - the ESC has continued to be a place where developers (including of course QA, design, l10n, docs, hackers etc.) respect each other's contribution, and good intentions. They listen carefully to input from everyone. The ESC has forged deeply enduring consensus on many hundreds of emotive topics - with remarkably few (under a handful) of actual contested votes. That enduring culture of excellence should be an inspiration.
Meanwhile the team represented there has delivered some frankly outstanding engineering: rehabilitating a decrepit code-base into an exciting technological platform for people to build on, and deliver great new functionality on top of it.
I read the page of present and past luminaries:
and I see a list of friends, any of whom are welcome to drop in and stay any time they are passing Cambridge UK, and all of whom I'd enjoy time catching up with around the details of whatever it is they are doing these days.
If the ESC is so great - why am I leaving? It's obvious. For many reasons my contributions to LibreOffice are largely outside the core code these days, and I believe it is vital that the ESC represents the people -actually-doing-the-work- Indeed I think this essence: called "meritocracy" in our statutes (or do-ers decide) is (to my mind) what has protected the ESC all of these years, and long may it do so. It is also why I have not ranked any proposals in the ESC for some years.
Meritocracy means that people can have arbitrarily exotic ideas around priorities, product features etc. and demand them passionately - but at the end of the day: "show me the code".
As an aside - we've been blessed as a project with a rather clear set of goal-posts, and always less resource than we'd like - making technical infighting an expensive luxury. We've also been blessed by great language skills - making it possible to have first telephone calls and then Jitsi calls - to hear each other as human beings - instead of the norm of E-mail flame-wars on contentious topics.
In my experience of quite a large number of FLOSS projects, and even of big-corporate management - the level of goodness and unanimity in the ESC has been unusually encouraging - fun people indeed.
I'd like to thank the leavers in order of appearance: Lionel for his invaluable contributions to base, Andras for his long history of tooling, build, license maintenance & translation work, Olivier for bringing documentation to life in an impressive way, Sophie for her care for the l10n community and Bubli for her excellent contributions all over the code-base (which defy easy explanation =) Thank you all for your advice and oversight on the ESC. I really hope you'll all continue contributing - and of course ESC meetings continue to be open to everyone (even me) I hope. We even traditionally let anyone that turns up regularly and contributes positively to rank ideas for funding - though I won't be taking that up myself.
I wish all the very best to the new members - may you weigh carefully the responsibility to listen to others, to treat them and their views with respect and keep creating innovative technical solutions to problems.
For those staying the course - I salute you and your contribution too! In some ways I wish I had a role that let me stick around and work alongside you =) it's bitter-sweet.
I trust the new ESC will do a great job; these look to me like the right people, in the right place to make sensible decisions. Please ignore anyone telling you that your voice should not be heard, or that there is something wrong with you or your contribution that disqualifies you.
And finally - I've heard people portray the ESC as some sort of power-broking command and control body. That makes it easy to blame for anything that doesn't get done in the project. Amusingly - for those that ever bothered to attend an ESC meeting - something I'd encourage people to do.
We need to keep explaining the reality: that the ESC can at best only try to gently persuade even its own members nevermind the rest of the community to do something sensible. Its influence is built on the tradition of mutual goodwill and respect I outlined - this is a fragile thing, and well worth preserving.
May God bless you in your mission & may all your key-strokes fall in pleasant places.
With warmest regards,
PS. couldn't quite resist a culturally jarring top-post =)
> 2. Discuss & vote: Update ESC composition (Kendy, 5 mins)
> The ESC has agreed to update its current composition: