Re: Some comments

> Sender:
> From: "Almer S. Tigelaar" <>
> Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2000 21:57:28 +0200
> To: Jim Gettys <>
> Cc: Havoc Pennington <>,
> Subject: Re: Some comments
> -----
> Hello,
> Jim Gettys wrote:
> >
> > So a vendor would like to keep it secret until announcement, but also need
> > comments for their press release.  Right now, this means that at best there
> > are approaches to individuals, which I think is a much worse situation
> > than to a board (which may involved.
> >
> > Solution: limited confidentiality...
> >
> > This kind of thing has come up again and again over the history of X (there
> > were large donations by various vendors, including the X11 sample server
> > in the first place by Digital), and will with Gnome, and is coming up
> > with Apache.
> Hmmm, I am curious : How did this work out with X? Did they have
> some guidelines there on this sort of confidentiality issues?

I did not personally deal with this with the X Consortium (my work on X
was mostly done about the time it was founded, with the exception of XSYNC).
Before the X Consortium, Bob Scheifler and I respected the secrets we
were imparted with...  If you can't talk reasonably freely at times, it
is difficult to make progress.

In the Web consortium (which I was part of for quite a while), there were 
occasional times when staff (and I presume W3C advisory committees) had 
confidential information, though the expectation was always that this, 
presuming a vendor went ahead, would lapse eventually (when things went 
public, typically the submission of a proposal, which vendors would want 
review on before going public with the proposal).  When such information 
was made available, it was certainly the exceptional case, and staff were 
asked to respect the confidential nature of the information (until things
went public, presuming they moved forward).

I did not perceive any particular problems.

> > So there are times confidentiality is needed, and I'm skeptical of how
> > far in advance you can forsee the circumstances.
> Well, you don't have to specify very restrictive limits, but there
> should
> probably be some predefined limits and some way for foundation members
> to request insight into confidential notes in extreme cases I think.

I think the extreme case is to fire the board if it abuses what should
be a limited thing, rather than too much prescription in advance of what
they can or cannot do.  My opinion is that beyond saying that it be
kept to a minimum nothing should go in the basic documents: I think this
is a situation for case law, rather than constitution.

There is the issue that anyone on the board should be expected to keep 
confidentiality (or at least leave the discussions if they come up) in 
matters brought to the board that way.  This is SOP in various organizations 
(or how could you have confidential discussions in the first place).
				- Jim

Jim Gettys
Technology and Corporate Development
Compaq Computer Corporation

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