Candidacy (Havoc Pennington)


I got started in free software by contributing to Debian, writing a
short book called the Debian Tutorial. I've been working on GNOME
since the early days, first as a student, then at EMC Capital
Management for a year, then at Red Hat for the past year. My first
GNOME contribution was GnomeDialog. I've worked on all sorts of stuff
over time; gnome-libs, gnome-utils, gnome-apt, gnome--, Guppi, GLib,
GTK+, GConf, etc. Also I spend time packaging GNOME and fixing bugs in
it for Red Hat Linux. While at EMC Capital Management I wrote the book
GTK+/Gnome Application Development and made it available under a free
license. At the moment I'm on the interim steering committee and
involved in setting up the GNOME Foundation.

The exceptional thing about my GNOME involvement is the range of hats
I've worn; I've worked on GNOME as an independent volunteer, then at a
small non-computer-related company, then at Red Hat.  I've worked in
the Debian Project and on a commercial distribution. I've written
documentation, hacked on language bindings, and built RPMs. I've
hacked on applications and hacked on libraries. Also I do a lot of
developer tech support, trying to help new developers get started and
keep people informed about future plans for the libraries.

This range of experience is one of the most important qualifications
I'd bring to the board of directors. In my view one of the most
important jobs of the board should be to make sure that communication
happens where it needs to happen: between hackers, between companies,
with the press, with new developers, etc. I do that a lot on my own
already, and I'd like to continue to do so on the board.

The reason I work on GNOME is that I want free software to be as
widespread as possible and meet as many user needs as possible. GNOME
helps to do that. Free software isn't yet a viable desktop
alternative. It can be, and that's what I'm working toward.

With all the interest in supporting GNOME from various companies, I'd
like to see a focus on making GNOME into a "programming systems
product" as Brooks calls it in The Mythical Man-Month. Meaning: better
documentation; better communication with users and developers;
enhanced bug tracking and bug responsiveness; QA; testing; better
error reporting than g_warning("blah"); accessibility; i18n; stable
releases; and clean designs for core components and libraries. Solid
infrastructure and sound engineering principles will make GNOME as
great as it can be.

Other than that I'd like to see GNOME get bigger, more fun, and remain
focused on technical innovation and excellence as it always has
been. IMHO the board should be a relatively informal, low-bureacracy
entity that tries to stay out of the way when it isn't needed, while
providing leadership and organization as required on issues that
affect the whole project.


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