Re: The role of LWE San Jose

Robert Humphreys <> writes:

> Hi Martin, yes, the current plan is to have a press conference @ LWE
> where we will formally announce the formation of the Gnome Foundation.
> Bart and I had also planned on setting up a meeting prior to the press
> conference for all the folks on this list to discuss all the issues that
> we need to gain consensus on, etc.

I think if we want to announce the actual formation at LWE, we need to
get consensus on key issues _before_ LWE and go through some sort of
ratification process (pick initial membership and have them vote to
ratify for instance). Otherwise, at best we could announce a vague
intention to form the foundation.

This is a very aggressive schedule, so I think we need to get some
straw man proposals on the table really soon so we can decide which
one to flesh out. There have been a couple of significantly different
models proposed.

I think the two leading models right now are: 

Model #1

* GNOME Foundation incorporated in the US

* Board of the GNOME Foundation is a group of primarily hackers,
  elected as a slate by the membership, and provides the same kind of
  technical oversight as the current steering committee.

* A corporate advisory board allows corporations to be represented and
  have their say.

* Other regional foundations are associated with the main foundation.

Model #2

* GNOME Foundation US incorporated in the US

* Board of the GNOME Foundation US is a mix of hackers and corporate
  representatives and possibly other sorts of people, and essentially
  appoints itself.

* The Steering Committee is elected, and makes technical decisions,
  but has no real legal existance.

* Other regional fundations have a mostly independent existence.

Though I personally favor model 1, both have their advantages and
disadvantages. Maybe we could see these better with a rough sketch for
how things could work under each model.

It's interesting to note that both models have two different
committees/boards, one technical, and one at least partly corporate in
composition. The key difference is which one is nominally legally in
charge of running the foundation. Personally, although there are many
potential flaws with this, I like having the technical people
officially hierarchically in charge better.

The reason I favor this is best explained with an analogy. Consider a
software development group that has both a technical lead and a
manager who are not the same person (the manager is in charge of
people management/project management/etc). Although both are in some
sense in charge, to people outside the group, it makes a very big
difference whose name is in the top box on the org chart - that's the
person they will think gives the orders and speaks with an
authoritative voice. So if we want GNOME to appear to the outside
world as though the hackers are ultimately in charge, it must be
officially structured that way. I think only model 1 provides this.

If anyone has a reason to favor model 2 despite this, I'd love to hear
it. Note that to some this could be seen as an advantage, not a
drawback - the technical people are kept doing technical stuff and
making technical decisions, and the more management-type tasks are
done by, well, management types.

 - Maciej

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