Re: gnome foundation: some key issues to discuss.

I think it is very dangerous to restrict membership: it is easy
to disenfranchise people even when you don't mean to.  An unintended
consequence of membership in the X consortium was that there ended up being
"insiders" and "outsiders" (not intended, but this was the effect): this
was poisonous to X in the long term.  Gnome should avoid this mistake.
We might have gotten here 5 or more years earlier under other circumstances.

The IETF also tries to insist people are present as individuals, rather
than representatives of organizations: if you institutionalize organizations,
then you definately get voting by organization.  If you follow the IETF
model, then you certainly don't get any worse a situation, and arguably
a better one, where most people in fact try to "do the right thing". Of
course, some people toe their companies lines closer than others, but
one approach guarantees organizational voting, and the other allows more
altruistic behavior at least some of the time.

Again, voting is a mistake: the IETF koan is "Rough consensus and
running code", by which is meant that unanimity is not required (though
people like to get agreement by most people), and that running code
speaks volumes for a technology.

There are mechanisms for electing decision making bodies from an open 
membership organization: the IETF nominating committee mechanism comes
to mind.

Anyone can be a member of the IETF, just by joining a mailing list, or
showing up at a meeting: there is no approval required.

Despite this, it is able to come to decisions, sometimes quite strong 
ones (even in opposition to U.S. government policy, for example): we can 
argue about its timelyness: but there running code is often the deciding
vote, something I heartily approve of.

As in all IETF things, the description of the nominating process for
the decision making bodies is an RFC.
So it is written up in gory detail at:

This is a model of how to deal with electing people for decision making
even in a fully open organization (where you literally can't exclude anyone,
even if they are being a pain-in-the-a**).  In general, the process described
seems to get a consensus behind the people making decisions.
				- Jim

Jim Gettys
Technology and Corporate Development
Compaq Computer Corporation

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