5. Developer hierarchy


5.a. Introduction

This section aims to explain the Gentoo development hierarchy and gives developers an insight to how Gentoo Linux development management is structured.

5.b. A short history of Gentoo's management structure

The first attempt to come up with a management structure to solve problems with coordination and communication issues was made in 2003 with the structure described in GLEP 4. As Gentoo grew larger over the time, some problems with the management structure were discovered and a new one was needed to solve these issues. GLEP 39 describes both the reasons behind this as well as the outcome of the discussion.

5.c. Current Management structure according to GLEP 39

A project is a group of developers working towards a goal (or a set of goals).

Global issues will be decided by an elected Gentoo council.

5.d. Consequences of Gentoo's management structure

As a consequence of the new management structure, global decisions will be made by the elected council. This should give Gentoo a general direction - smaller issues affecting only a project or two should be decided inside the projects involved, probably with input from other developers. The council should be a fair representation of the developer base as every developer is able to vote, so interests should be represented in a fair way. If the council does a bad job and the developer base is unhappy with its work, the council can be voted out.

Decisions within a project can be made by the people inside the project itself, of course coordination between the projects is necessary. The (sub-)project leads are usually responsible for doing this.

Most projects have an Operational and Strategic lead, but basically it is up to the project what positions are created and how they are called - this also applies to sub-projects.

Some projects appoint a contact person for communication to another project e.g. a developer within the forums project who is responsible for communication with the infrastracture project.

All in all, the current structure has no clear list of responsibilities the project leads are supposed to satisfy. They are chosen by the members of the project, the practical responsibility of a lead is "whatever the members require", and if that isn't satisfied, the members can get a new lead (if they can find somebody to take the job!).