Rust Project Reveals New ‘Constitution’ in Wake of Crisis – Slashdot

“The Rust open source project, which handles standards for the language, released a new governance plan Thursday,” reports The New Stack, “the cumulation of six months of intense work.”

Released as a request for comment on GitHub, it will now undergo a comment period. It requires ratification by team leaders before it’s accepted.

The Rust project interacts with, but is separate from, the Rust Foundation, which primarily handles the financial assets of Rust. Two years ago, the project had a very public blowup after its entire mod team resigned and publicly posted a scathing account of the core team, which the mod team called “unaccountable to anyone but themselves.” It even suggested the core team was not to be trusted, although the team later recanted and apologized for that.

[Rust core team developer] Josh Triplett understandably didn’t want to dwell on the kerfuffle that lead to this action. He focused instead on the underlying structural issues that lead to the leadership crisis. “As a result of that, there was widespread agreement within the project that we needed to create a better formal governance structure that removed some of those ambiguities and conflicts, and had mechanisms for dealing with this without ever having a similar crisis,” Triplett told The New Stack. “We don’t want to ever to have things get to that point again….”

The original Rust project governance structure evolved out of Mozilla, where Rust began and was nurtured for years. Around 2016 or 2017, a request for comment came out that established the Rust project’s governance, Triplett said. It created approximately six teams, including the core, language, mod, library and cargo teams. Among the problems with the old model was that the core team became responsible for not just overseeing problems that arose, but solving them as well, Triplett said. That led to burnout and problems, said JT Turner, one of the co-authors on the new model and a member of the Rust core team…. Ultimately, the old governance model was “not a very precise document,” Triplett added.

“It was just, ‘Hey, here’s the rough divisions of power,’ and because that document was very rough and informal, it didn’t scale to today,” he said. “That’s one of the things that led to the governance crisis.”

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