Re: steering committee vs foundation

Hi Owen,

I understand your concerns.  So I think we have now identified two different
ways to set this up:

1.  One central Gnome foundation with a board of directors elected by the
Gnome hackers and an industry advisory council.  The Foundation would be
incorporated in the US but have an international board of directors.  Both the
technical functions and the marketing functions would be handled through this
entity, although there would presumably be different committees handling the
different functions.  Copyrights would be assigned to the Gnome Foundation.
There could still be regional foundations as well that are affiliated.
- Advantages: fewer bodies = less bureaucracy, less chance for conflict, less
cycles wasted communicating back & forth.  No corporate control.
- Disadvantages: people in Europe may object.

A more detailed description is in your previous email.

2.  A Gnome Steering Committee that has no legal existence and a Gnome
Foundation in the US with a board that includes hackers and corporate reps.
- Advantages: separates technical and marketing functions; resolves the
geography problem
- Disadvantages: the Gnome foundation risks being dominated by corporate
interests.  Would people want to assign copyrights to it?; two different
entities = more bureaucracy.

A more detailed description is in my previous email.

So let's see which of these two alternative sounds the most appealing to the
Gnome community and our corporate partners, and then hopefully we'll get
closer to consensus over the next day or two.


Owen Taylor wrote:

> Bart Decrem <> writes:
> > I understand your concern and I would also prefer it if we could have one
> > entity instead of two.
> >
> > However,
> >
> > 1- there seemed to be consensus in yesterday's discussion that we want to
> > keep the technical and marketing functions separate
> > 2- we need a forum for corporations to get involved and that doesn't
> > really jive with the elections idea.
> [...]
> >
> > The foundation does provide the legal umbrella that our corporate
> > partners require.  Since the corporate members will most likely provide
> > the bulk of the funds, I don't think it's so unreasonable that they would
> > have a say in how those funds get allocated.  But the board would be a
> > balance between hackers and corporate reps.
> I guess it makes me uncomfortable (quite uncomfortable, in fact) to
> think that the legal entity for GNOME (US) would be controlled
> primarily by companies contributing money, and not by the "hacker
> community". I doubt that the planned foundation for Europe is going to
> be organized along these lines.
> Such a body would be unsuitable for carrying on a good number of the
> activities that we might want a legal body to do. For instance,
> for holding copyright on code.
> And I'm not sure such a structure would necessarily assure
> accountability to the contributing corporations - I get the feeling
> that the most of the OpenGroup's corporate members were not happy with
> the way it handled X.
> It seems to me that a body controlled by technical contributors,
> (which would include people from corporations), and with a "corporate
> advisory council", would be a better structure.  But then again, I'm
> only speaking as a hacker, and not even for Red Hat as a company,
> so I can't say what companies require in this regard.
> Since we aren't considering having a body with corporate members
> actually make the decisions, either such a structure (combined with control
> over next year's contributions, and the interest of GNOME hackers in
> getting their code adopted) is sufficient to align GNOME with the
> companies, or we have a problem. It's not likely a company-controlled
> GNOME US is going to solve this problem.
> The less bodies, the less chance for conflicts between them, the
> less chance for confusion, the less chance for mistaken
> impressions. ("When I talked to the GNOME Foundation US, they
> said you were going to release in April, but its now October
> and you still haven't released!")
> Regards,
>                                             Owen
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-list mailing list

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