[arch-dev-public] RFC: Rename the Trusted User role

Allan McRae allan at archlinux.org
Sat Oct 9 12:03:55 UTC 2021

On 8/10/21 10:20 pm, Konstantin Gizdov via arch-dev-public wrote:
> A new RFC (request for comment) has been opened here:
> https://gitlab.archlinux.org/archlinux/rfcs/-/merge_requests/7
> Please visit the above link for discussion.
> Summary:
> It is shown in some cases that the Trusted User role naming leads to
> some confusion and misunderstanding in broader contexts outside Arch
> Linux. It is furthermore recently been discussed that it also led to
> similar confusion among members of Arch Linux as well internally. This
> RFC aims to remedy that with a better suited term to reflect more
> accurately upon TUs' roles and responsibilities as well as their
> position in the Arch Linux Organisation.

This is an interesting quote:

"It suggests Trusted Users are not full members of the project but
external actors purely related by a trust-only relationship to the rest
of the staff."

Here is my understanding of the history of Arch Linux Trusted Users. I
was not around at the very start, and some of this happened more than a
decade ago so my memory may be foggy.

Trusted Users started as purely external actors.  The maintained their
own infrastructure, and made decisions independent of the developers of
the distribution.

At some stage (2009ish) it was decided that the [community] repository
was an integral part of the distribution, and should be hosted with the
rest of the Arch repos.  At this point, the main Arch repos were hosted
in SVN, while the community repo was in CVS!

Merging infrastructure involved a decent amount of discussion.  One of
the key points was that the TUs would remain an independent entity and
be self governing according to the TU bylaws.  This independence was
seen as critical.  Thus the Trusted Users determined they were not full
members of the project in order to keep independence.

Over the years, the Trusted Users became more integrated.  Access was
given to (some) developer only mailing lists. It was agreed that the
Arch Linux Master Keys should sign Trusted User keys (discussion did
occur whether this was acceptable given the independence of TUs).  TUs
were given voting rights when determining the project leader (though a
veto is held by the developers).  However, TUs never gave up their

So the suggestion that Trusted Users are not full members of the project
is technically correct!  In fact, according to the Trusted User Bylaws,
I'm not sure the Project Leader or Arch Developers technically have the
ability to make decisions affecting Trusted Users. That makes this RFC
interesting!  I assume at a minimum, the TUs would need to vote for
amendment to their bylaws if the RFC is accepted.

FWIW, I do not think this RFC goes far enough.  There is effectively no
distinction between people who package for [extra] and people who
package for [community].  In fact, the distinction between those repos
is moot.  I'd suggest removing this distinction completely, and formally
integrating TUs into the Arch team in the same role as those who only
package for the [extra].  Though this does leave the role of who should
handle AUR maintenance to be determined.  And how the
[extra]/[community] split should be defined moving forward.  And what
happens to the TU bylaws.  And ...

There is potential you already discussed this on the private mailing
list but I do not have access to the email archives that are linked in
the RFC.  Nor do community members who are encouraged to comment on
RFCs.  The fact changes like this are discussed in private is a
detriment to a community orientated distribution.


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