Candidacy (Nat Friedman)
- From: Nat Friedman <nat nat org>
- To: foundation-announce gnome org
- Subject: Candidacy (Nat Friedman)
- Date: 08 Nov 2001 04:58:15 -0500
Name: Nat Friedman
Email: nat nat org
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
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.
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.
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.
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
 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) 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.
 Now that I think about it, our friend the methamphetaminic
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.
 We will also accept "lunatic," "spasmodious," and "zany." We
will not accept "cockamamie."
I'm sorry that this mail was so long. Thanks for reading, and
vote for me! :-)
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