[llvm-dev] [PITCH] Improvements to LLVM Decision Making

Chris Lattner via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Jan 15 22:44:51 PST 2020

> On Jan 15, 2020, at 3:40 AM, David Chisnall via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
> On 15/01/2020 10:04, Doerfert, Johannes via llvm-dev wrote:
>>> "It isn't clear how to propose some changes in the first place, and it
>>> is often unclear who the decision makers are."
>> I feel that patches and RFCs are well established*and documented*  [1,2]
>> ways to propose changes. In addition, the *-dev lists, IRC, etc. do
>> provide ways to clear uncertainties. Adding more documentation on this
>> can obviously be helpful. Also, we are already improving the existing
>> documentation [0].
> This came up at the WICT workshop (which still doesn't have a writeup on the LLVM web site) and has previously come up in Cambridge and Paris LLVM socials that I've attended and at EuroLLVM:
> There is no formal definition of 'the LLVM community' and therefore anything that requires consensus of the community is difficult to define.  I have spoken to several people who have believed based on mailing list discussions that consensus on an issue is one thing, but then the decision has been taken to do the other option, often with the justification that this was the consensus of the people at a BoF at the San Jose dev meeting.

Yes, I agree.  The model I have seen work in the Swift community is that there is no formal voting or other pre-structured way a decision is made.  Instead, the community provides input to the core team, and the core team (in practice) always goes with the community if there is consensus.  If there isn’t consensus or if the core team believes that an important point has come up but hasn’t gotten enough discussion, then it kicks the discussion back to another round with guidance to focus on specific topics etc.  It is sort of a managed discussion process in practice.

> There is no formal leadership of the LLVM community.  The LLVM Foundation leadership is self-selected and not necessarily representative, so cannot fill the 'buck stops here' role of someone who has to make the call and justify their decisions when they come up for reelection.

I agree that this is the hardest part of getting a structure in place, as well as your concerns with the foundation board.  What do you suggest?  Do you have other ideas, recommendations, or a preferred approach?


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