.NET Foundation boss apologizes for pull request that sparked community row

Community not happy with justification for actions taken without consultation or recent engagement


Updated .NET Foundation executive director Claire Novotny has apologized for her actions after its members objected to her intervention on one of its projects – and a board member resigned over the organization's direction.

"I made a mistake this last week when I made a PR and merged it to a project without discussion," Novotny wrote, probably referring to this merge in which she added support for reproducible builds to the open-source .NET Foundation project ReactiveUI.

As the GitHub comments on that merge spell out, Novotny's decision did not go down well. Others who work on ReactiveUI felt she was not close to the project and had not consulted those who are.

Rodney Littles II, core maintainer of ReactiveUI and former foundation board member, soon weighed in with a reminder about the foundation's Code of Conduct.

We covered Littles earlier this week, noting that after he ran for the board on a platform of making it more responsive to developers' needs – rather than Microsoft's. He later quit because, according to a post, "I didn't have the energy to put into an organization that doesn't share my views and stance on what I think the community needs, Sustainable Open Source Software."

Littles's post doesn't mention Novotny's actions.

But yesterday a new thread, titled "DNF and its relationship with member projects," appeared and continued the criticism of the foundation's board over issues including the below.

Novotny's apology adds that she "overstepped" with her decision on ReactiveUI. Her post also addresses the use of GitHub Enterprise mentioned in the tweet above, by explaining that service gives developers "more control over their projects."

"That said, the fact that multiple people were surprised and upset means that the use of GitHub Enterprise as a tool to support projects was poorly communicated," she added. New documents are forthcoming to clarify matters.

The apology suggests foundation members' ire may be due to their own limited knowledge of how the organization operates.

"It is also clear that the .NET Foundation project governance model is not well understood," she wrote. "Project maintainers sign an agreement that either assigns or contributes their project to the .NET Foundation. That's the point at which project ownership changes. We'll post another document on that this week as well."

The foundation plans to distribute those documents in short order, and "hold a listening tour/town hall/something" soon. The foundation board will also "hold a TMA (tell me anything) open call next week," the apology reveals.

The first comment on the apology described it as "a total non-apology" – a sentiment repeated in other comments. The conversation also features some discussion of how to withdraw projects from the foundation.

The Register suspects the foundation may soon need some new volunteers. Brave new volunteers. ®

Updated to add

On Friday, Claire Novotny announced she has resigned from the .NET Foundation though will remain at Microsoft:

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