Re: Questions To Answer

On Mon, 10 Jul 2000, Bart Decrem wrote:

> I think we need to see if we can find ways to not have the power (such as
> it is) of the foundation lay with a US legal entity.  Perhaps the way Alan
> suggests is the right way to go and we should take another look at a model
> where Gnome Foundations are legal entities that promote, market and are
> meeting spaces for Gnome in specific regions.  The boards of those
> foundations could be appointed as apposed to elected.  And then there could
> be a steering committee that is not attached to a legal entity, and that is
> elected by all the members of the Gnome community and that is worldwide in
> composition and influence.  So the steering committee would then do release
> coordination etc.

I agree that we should have a two-body system.  I like the way that the
steering committee is put together now - it is comprised of the real
developers, leaders, and decision makers of GNOME and it is free of
external burdens such as voting, open public scrutiny, direct corporate
obligations, lots of legal issues, etc.  Is there a reason to change this?  
IMO, the tasks which the GNOME Foundation is meant to take on are
different. It is basically for public relations (media and conferences)
and corporate relations(legal formality to protect discussions, meeting
place for private discussions).  The one fuzzy area is how corporations
actually try to convince the GNOME developers (ie. steering committee) to
make certain decisions.  Perhaps this should be done by having the
corporations work within the realm of the GNOME Foundation and then they
can pass on "suggestions" which they have to the steering committee, which
can do with them whatever they please.  This preserves the steering
committee as a small, efficient body composed of the main developers
representing each of the various aspects of GNOME which guides GNOME
development on short times (creating release timetables/roadmaps and 
making sure everything gets done right and on time).  It also means that
the GNOME Foundation, which is mainly concerned with things most
developers don't care about (PR, conferences, legalities, etc.), can be
populated by non-developers and corporate representatives as appropriate. 

As for whether the GNOME Foundation should be a US company or not, I think
the GNOME Foundation is primarily an international group of people with
representatives from any interested country (just like GNOME).  The fact
that it may be necessary to form an actual company in some countries is,
to me, more of a legality.  At any rate, in this picture the GNOME
Foundation has no real power over GNOME - it only gives "suggestions" and
does the PR work.

I am not completely clear how the corporate interests would actually
participate here.  I expect that any company that joins the GNOME
Foundation or works with it would want to keep many of their discussions
under NDA.  This would mean that the part of the GNOME Foundation which
the companies communicate in would have to be a small group of people in
private discussions.  Is this true?  Presumably this would take form as a
GNOME Foundation Board of Directors, which consists of representatives of
GNOME and various corporations involved in GNOME, but not necessarily all
of the steering committee.

This would leave the rest of the GNOME Foundation open to everybody who
wants to join (as is GNOME) and which would do all the important work
which is not tied directly to private companies or the development
releases - ie. conferences, media, education, and advocacy.

Membership/elections - I think the steering committee should not
be voted on, rather it should be comprised, as it is now, of the top
developers/representatives of various portions of GNOME.  (This would stay
private and informal, as it is now.)  The GNOME Foundation Board of
Directors may need a formal election process.


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