Re: polarization

Andy Tai <atai atai org> writes:
> Hi, even though Bruce Perens was not a significantly direct GNOME
> contributor, given his status in and contribution to Free Software,
> it may be good to have him on the GNOME Foundation board.  Given
> GNOME is in heavy competetion with "the other guy", having Bruce
> Perens directly on the side of GNOME should be valuable and
> contribute to GNOME's position.

I met Bruce a long time ago - just after he left the Debian project in
the midst of an enormous flamewar, when he kindly agreed to let me
interview him for a college newspaper. I remember I mailed and asked
him for the interview about 5 minutes before he sent his "I'm quitting
the Debian project" mail, and I was like "ouch, bad timing."  ;-)
Anyhow, he was nice about doing the interview despite the fact that he
was probably in a foul mood that day.

Bruce was indeed one of the first people to support GNOME. Marc at Red
Hat and some others did as well; there was quite a bit of support from
the traditional GNU and Linux communities that helped GNOME get
started. I guess Miguel and Federico would know better than me.

Nonetheless I didn't have him on my list of people I'm voting for. 
It seems only fair to give my reasoning so people can agree/disagree
and make up their own mind.

For these elections my sense would be that we already have a number of
"talk to the suits" or "strong resume that will impress suits"
candidates that are more heavily involved with GNOME - Bart, Daniel,
Raph, Jim Gettys. These people are directly involved with GNOME,
follow the lists and participate in them, and so on. And keep in mind
that the GNOME companies do a lot of "advocacy to business" as well,
as part of their own business promotion. So I feel like we're
well-covered on the "talk to business and advocate GNOME/free
software" angle.

If we elect some respected hackers and technical people to the board
in addition to these guys, it fills up awfully quickly, even without
Bruce on it.

I think someone suggested that Bruce would be good to stand up for
free software. While that's true, pretty much all the candidates are
strongly committed to free software; I don't see a gap to be filled
there. There's no way GNOME is going to become proprietary or depend
on proprietary software. I would quit, Miguel would quit, pretty much
everyone would quit I guess. ;-)

Basically we have a really good selection of candidates that can do
the kinds of things Bruce suggests he's good at, but they are also
involved with GNOME on a daily basis, know how we run the project,
know the people and email addresses, etc. I just can't come up with a
candidate from my list that I'd like to see dropped from the board in
order to put Bruce on there. Since we can safely predict that
well-known hackers such as Miguel will definitely get on the board, if
Bruce won I'd expect him to be pushing maybe Bart or John Heard off
the board, and I think they would be more valuable additions to the
board than Bruce would. Bart is doing tons of foundation-related work
already, for example, and Jim Gettys has a very long-standing interest
in UNIX desktops and works on GNOME in the context of handheld

Finally, I disagreed with some of the specifics of what Bruce proposed
for his role on the board.  In Bruce's candidacy statement he talks a
lot about acting as a spokesperson, drumming up press coverage, and
that type of thing.  I think Miguel pretty much has our spokesperson
role, the press loves him, so we don't need that gap filled. And I
would not really like to see a lot of "buzz generation" as part of the
board's job; I think we should stick to press releases when something
interesting happens, and let people write about it as they see fit. I
also remember Bruce mentioning applying for government grants or the
like, and I wouldn't be in favor of that either, for the reasons we've
discussed on this list (people felt the foundation shouldn't hire

Anyhow, since Bruce didn't seem on my wavelength with respect to
future directions for GNOME, this strengthened my view that some of
the more directly-involved-with-GNOME candidates such as Bart would be
better. Obviously it's a decision each voter will have to make for
themselves who they agree with on these kinds of issues.

Hopefully this is taken as a productive comment. Sadly choosing 11
people out of 33 involves making some tough decisions between those


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