Re: Current status

Okay, before I start in on Havoc's points, I want to make an observation
of the steering committee.

First off, they deserve to be applauded for the excellent work they did
with the 1.2 release and the leadership has been good, but I think that
many of the members have a conflict of interest.

Most of the members are employed by one of the 3 big GNOME companies (Red
Hat, Helix Code, or Eazel). The people on the steering committee are
supposed to represent certain modules. Unfortunately, I don't think this
has been followed very faithfully and that those members have been more
representative of their company than of the modules they represent. This
causes a real conflict of interest. Now, I don't expect people not to
represent the company they work for, but people who work for the same
company will likely vote together. If members still represent modules,
then whomever has the most modules will then be able to dictate policy,
and I that is a very bad idea. Therefore, I think representation for that
sort of thing should be done by company. The principle downside to this is
that it becomes difficult (and unfair) to the individuals who work on and
are as responsible for building GNOME as the rest of us. How can we
represent them in a fair manner to both them and the companies?

>  - 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.

Just to clarify: these are two seperate entities, right? (well, obviously
the people on the board will be members) How many people are we talking
about for membership? 10? 20? 50? Are we talking hackers here, or others
as well?

>  - 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.

Hmm. If we do have corporations as members, it might help alleviate my
fear that the corporations will order the members to vote based on
corporate agendas rather than on their own beliefs for the GNOME
community. I mean, I would hope I would be a member, and hopefully if
Helix Code has its own corporate representation, I wouldn't feel pressured
to vote along with the company if I personally don't agree with its

However, if we don't allow corporations (which is okay too), then we again
have to be careful about how we give out memberships so that while one
company can't solely dictate policy, that it is fairly represented by the
number of people in the GNOME community that it employs.

> 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,
>    etc.)
>  - what constitutes a "module" and how modules are important 
>    in the organization

Hmm. Yes, very big issues. This email is already long; I'll stew on these
a bit.


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