Candidacy (Nat Friedman)

Name:        Nat Friedman 
Email:       nat nat org
Affiliation: Ximian

75-Word Overview

    The foundation could be doing more to help GNOME be more unified,
    move faster, and have more visibility.  Things I would like to see
    include more focus on the desktop itself, more in-person events
    and a coordinated GNOME Office.

    I've been contributing to GNOME since 1998 and co-maintained
    Bonobo for a while.  I wrote the first draft of the foundation's
    charter.  I cofounded Ximian, and these days, I'm in charge of our
    product development.

Opinions and Position

    I'm going to try to give an abbreviated description of my opinions
    and positions about GNOME and the foundation (my mails always end
    up too long anyway).  Please prefix the following with "IMHO."

    * Desktop First

        I think that GNOME is first and foremost a desktop, that we as
        developers needs to be focused first on creating a usable,
        robust and attractive desktop environment.  There is a lot of
        work to be done on things like dialogs, menus, fonts and
        Nautilus which I think should be the highest priority for
        GNOME.  No matter what other work we do, we will be judged on
        the quality of our desktop.

    * GNOME Office

        I think that GNOME needs a more coherent "productivity
        application" story, and I think that the best way to do this
        is to deepen the "GNOME Office" effort a bit.  GNOME Office
        should make coordinated releases with version numbers; I
        believe that this would increase the visibility and momentum
        of all our applications.

    * Unity

        I think that, in many areas, GNOME could do with more unity.
        We need one UI standard; we need one configuration mechanism
        (and it should be GConf); we need one menu system.

    * Events

        The GNOME project would benefit from more events where we all
        get together to talk and hack.  The foundation should be
        organizing more hackfests at conferences and other events.

    I think that the foundation can help to start some of these things
    along -- though I do agree, as Havoc said, that a hands-off
    approach is best, once coordinators have stepped up to the plate
    and things are underway.  I do not think that the foundation
    should exert direct control over the hacking that takes place;
    this won't work.

    I also think that I'm well-positioned to help bridge some of these
    gaps; I'm pretty diplomatic (toot toot) and I have good
    relationships with a lot of people.


    Though I am affiliated with Ximian, my interest as a member of the
    foundation's board of directors would be *solely* to assist and
    advance the GNOME project: my Ximian hat would be off completely,
    locked away on the top shelf of a closet somewhere.

    Please remember that the main reason I co-founded Ximian was to
    help and advance the GNOME project.  Since that time, Ximian has
    contributed about 1 million lines of code to the GNOME project.
    The project has, at times, been subject to some tension as we've
    all adjusted to having companies contributing, but overall I think
    there has been a lot of benefit.

    GNOME Hacking
    	I've been contributing to GNOME since 1998.  In the pre-1.0
    	days, I did some work to make GNOME's UI a bit more consistent
    	(anyone remember suggestions.txt?) and hacked on various small
    	things all over the desktop.  I was co-maintainer of Bonobo
    	for about 9 months in 1999 and 2000, and I did all the intial
    	work for the Evolution addressbook.
    	Much to my dismay, I haven't done much GNOME hacking in the
    	last two years, though I did do some work with Joe Shaw to add
    	IM support to Evolution a couple weekends ago (we're not done,
    	and Joe did most of the work).
    	You can see all my commits to the GNOME CVS here:
    	I do wish I had more time for hacking, but I've found that I
    	can be helpful to the project in other ways.
    The GNOME Foundation
    	At the first GUADEC in Paris, I assembled and ran the meeting
    	that created the GNOME steering committee.  Later, when we
    	were first getting the foundation together, I brought IBM and
    	a few other companies on board, and wrote the first draft of
    	the foundation's charter and bylaws.
    Ximian, or, Can a Monkey Wear a Suit?
    	Since May of 1999, I've been pretty occupied creating and
    	running Ximian (formerly "Helix Code," formerly "International
    	GNOME Support" -- wait till you see what we've got in store
    	for next year!).
    	For the first 18 months or so, I was CEO, and had a ton of
    	far-flung responsibilities; too many to list here.  A few of
    	the highlights included raising approximately $18 million in
    	two rounds of financing, negotiating and securing all our
    	business relationships, putting our corporate infrastructure
    	in place (insurance, office, payroll, etc), writing most of
    	the text for our web pages and marketing materials, hiring the
    	majority of our employees, and convincing Miguel to move to
    	During that period, I spent most of my time on the phone, in
    	lawyers' offices, on airplanes, and sleeping under my desk or
    	in my car.
    	Earlier this year, we hired a CEO to take over many of those
    	duties and nowadays I'm in charge of all our product
    	development efforts, including Evolution, Red Carpet and
    	Ximian GNOME.  Roughly 40 people report into my organization.
    	It's more fun now; I don't have to travel as much and I get to
    	spend a lot more time working with (if not directly on) our
    	software projects.
    [1] Using a cadre of actors and props in a Truman Show-esque
        illusion, I tricked him into thinking that he's actually
        living in Barcelona.  Please, don't tell.

    Admissions of Guilt with Regards to Various Somewhat Embarrassing
    Things of Dubious Merit, Questionable Motives and No Real Value
    	* I am responsible for introducing the words "dude" (by way of
    	  Miguel[1]) and "dingus" (by way of rxvt) into the GNOME
    	* The original GNOME component model was named "Baboon" after a
    	  lengthy and humiliating ordeal in which I revealed myself
    	  for the idiot I am during a customer service call with PC
    	  Warehouse.  Let's just say that the conversation ended with
    	  the customer service rep yelling "Who's the baboon *now*,
    	  sir?!" as I hurriedly hung up the phone.
    	  Luckily for me, Baboon was soon replaced by Bonobo, and I no
    	  longer have to endure Miguel telling that story over and
    	  over again in every talk.
    	* I do have code in gmenu.
    [1] Now that I think about it, our friend the methamphetaminic[2]
    	Mexican Maharajah probably got this from The Big Lebowski, an
    	excellent and time-tested classic from the brothers Coen.  In
    	any case, I do say "dude" a lot.
    [2] We will also accept "lunatic," "spasmodious," and "zany."  We
        will not accept "cockamamie."

The End

    I'm sorry that this mail was so long.  Thanks for reading, and
    vote for me! :-)


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