- From: Havoc Pennington <hp redhat com>
- To: foundation-list gnome org
- Subject: Current status
- Date: 06 Jul 2000 21:16:16 -0400
Here's my summary of what people are thinking right now, and what
needs to be discussed. Please follow up if I left anything out or got
As Bart mentioned on gnome-hackers, at USENIX a number of individuals
and companies met to talk about the issues, and of course the GNOME
steering committee has been working on it as well. This mail basically
summarizes the consensus reached by those who've been involved so
Now we need to get more people involved in discussing the issues, and
try to build a wider consensus. In addition, many details remain to be
decided. So, that's the goal of this mailing list. Nothing mentioned
in this mail is set in stone yet.
Purpose of the foundation
Maciej reported this from the USENIX meeting:
"In brief, it should provide a means of setting overall
technical direction, foster collaboration and communication among
developers (including setting up appropriate resources for this),
help coordinate marketing, manage money and other resources for the
GNOME project, and provide a forum where corporations that want to
get involved can communicate with the GNOME project and with each
This last point may require explanation. Apparently many large
corporations need an official organization within which to cooperate;
otherwise there are legal concerns, such as antitrust
regulations. Thus we must have an organization which is a US legal
entity for these corporations to participate.
Bart Decrem's summary of the goals, just to get another phrasing in:
"We came up with the idea of creating a Gnome Foundation that would have
4 main goals:
1. Providing a forum to determine the overall technical direction of
2. Promoting Gnome
3. Foster collaboration and communication among Gnome developers
4. Manage funds donated to the Gnome project"
The structure is loosely based on the Apache Software Foundation
structure. Some general features of the proposed foundation:
- a board of directors (replacing the current steering committee)
would represent the project in discussions with companies and
that sort of thing. Their only real "power" will be to say
which modules are part of GNOME.
- the group will be membership-based, where members vote on
the board of directors and also vote on major issues.
We will need some way to select the initial membership;
additional members will be added by a vote of the current members.
- each module (such as gnome-core, or Evolution) will have an
"official contact maintainer" that is responsible for communicating
with the GNOME Foundation
- each module is self-governing and figures out its own internal
- corporations can't be members, but some members may represent the
interests of corporations. In effect this means that if
corporations fund major contributors to GNOME, they'll get a
voice in the foundation via those contributors.
- we incorporate the foundation in the US, for legal reasons
mentioned above. However, the membership and board of directors
will be international, and we'll have associated foundations
in other countries for tax purposes, if people want to set those
One of the big issues is how to select the initial membership and set
of modules. Also, the voting process has to be worked out.
Notable non-features of the foundation:
- it is not an industry consortium
- it will not hire developers, though it may have administrative
We would like to have a meeting at LinuxWorld in mid-August to hash
out the final few details and "ratify" the foundation. This means we
need to get all the major details discussed this month, so we have
time before LWE to do paperwork and organization tasks.
The various GNOME companies are hiring collab.net as consultants to
help finish the work involved with the foundation. They will be
helping develop the bylaws, help do the legal paperwork, provide
advice if asked, and in general be active participants in getting this
The Collab.net guys are already on this mailing list, and will be
participating as appropriate.
There are several specific issues that need to be hashed out on this
list. I'll try to start separate threads for each issue, and give a
brief summary of that issue, to get discussion started.
Some of the issues are:
- how we select the initial membership
- how we run votes
- how the board of directors is selected (nomination process,
whether we vote on individuals or the whole board as a unit,
- what constitutes a "module" and how modules are important
in the organization
Later on in the process, we'll probably have drafts of the bylaws for
discussion. Collab.net will help us write those drafts, if we want.
So, feel free to follow up with any comments, flames, etc. on this
overview, and then we need to buckle down and start working out the
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