Re: What is GNOME? (meetings, politics, voting, and mailing lists).

Yes, politics occur in person, in private mail, and on mailing lists...

Part of why the IETF does not "vote" at a meeting is to make sure that
those who can only participate via mailing lists are not disenfranchised.
To do almost anything in the IETF you have to have an archived public
mailing list.

The only "straw polls" taken at IETF meetings (or in other IETF related 
meetings) MUST be confirmed on the mailing lists, and in-person meetings 
that are IETF related have requirements on publication of the meetings, 
etc.  In general, as I've said before, voting ends up being avoided as 
much as possible in the IETF; it becomes very problematical to organize 
any sort of voting scheme in large, anyone can join, situations that do 
not have serious problems both socially and legally.

The reason for all of these requirements is anti-trust law as well as 
(I argue more importantly) the transparency required for people to trust 
that there are no shenanigans going on: requiring that rough consenus 
can only take place by archived mailing lists ensures that everything 
must take place in public, rather than in back-room deals between vendors.  
This avoids most cabals, and satisfies legal requirements.

While these sorts of requirements are not a problem today with Gnome, 
if Gnome succeeds, it will very rapidly become an absolute necessity for 
people who work for companies to be able to participate.  You are about 
to have companies bet large sums of money on the Gnome project, and these 
legal niceties (though I argue the social niceties that resulte are equally 
important) are not just fluff, but actually essential for large companies
to bet their business on.  People do not like spending time in front
of Judge Jackson...

			- Jim

> Sender:
> From: Martin Baulig <>
> Date: 14 Jul 2000 02:24:15 +0200
> To: Alan Cox <>
> Cc: (Havoc Pennington), (Miguel de Icaza),
> (George),
> Subject: Re: What is GNOME?
> -----
> Alan Cox <> writes:
> > >  - if you want to be a member, you just ask, and the steering
> > >committee rubber-stamp approves it if they see any evidence of
> > >participation in GNOME - if you want to be a member you have to have
> > >work included in a GNOME release
> >
> > Suggestion #3,
> > 	Have a list for the discussion of the foundations
> > matters. Anyone who has been active[1] on that list for 2 of the last
> > 3 months gets to vote.  I figure if you arent on that list you arent
> > qualified to judge the situation.
> I don't like this idea very much. Compare it to normal political elections,
> for instance.
> Politics does not always happen on mailing lists and a person can be very
> well informed about the political situation and also "active" (for instance
> by talking with friends, in family, etc.) in politics without being active
> on such a mailing list.
> So basically you'd deny all people who prefer to get informed by some other
> means than this list about foundation politics of their voting rights.

Jim Gettys
Technology and Corporate Development
Compaq Computer Corporation

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