Re: A question for all the candidates.

Martin Sevior <msevior mccubbin ph unimelb edu au> writes:

> Dear Candidates,
> 	        One of the duties of the Gnome Foundation is to provide
> "Direction" for the project. In a Free Software environment like Gnome it
> is not immediately obvious how this will be achieved. I can imagine
> several ways in which direction can be provided in terms of strength and
> nastiness. Here are some of them:
> 1." This project is wasting resources. It will be removed from Gnome CVS."

I doubt we would do this. The incremental load one project puts on the
CVS server is pretty small. I'd rather see the foundation promote good
projects than kick out ones we don't think are that great. Free
software succeeds because many ideas get a chance to prove themselves.

> 2. "This project is wasting resources, we recommend that no distribution
> (especially Helix-Code) include it in their release". 

I don't think the board should attempt to say what distributions do
and don't distribute it. However, we should promote projects we think
are valuable by putting then in a GNOME release (i.e. GNOME devel
platform plus core desktop), a GNOME extra apps release, or another
type of GNOME release that we might have in the future.

> 3. "Project X and project Y have the same goals. Have you guys considered
> a merger"? 

In my view, we could suggest such mergers and help get the parties
talking together, but we would never ever force them. We could
incentivize the parties by offering to make the merged project part of
a GNOME release if we otherwise would not accept either, but I would
like to see us avoid some pressure tactics.

Actually, the current steering committee has attempted to neogtiate
mergers between a pair of divergent projects in the past. Ultimately
we failed because the maintainers had differing goals, and I think
it's a good thing that we let the projects go their separate ways at
this point.

> 4. "We really think project Y should be supported. Gnomers please hack on 
> it." 

Yes. People already do this on an individual level. For example,
Miguel promoted an initiative to hack on gnome-print a while back and
now it's way improved. Similarly I encouraged people to get gdm up to
par, and Martin's now checked in gdm3 allowing others to look at the
code and hack on it.

> 5. "We will use our money to provide a prize for the best patch of the
> week to project Z".

I think money prizes are a bad motivator. I think once you get money
in the mix, unless it's to pay people a salary, you discourage the
people who hack hard and don't win any prizes.

> 6. "We think this project is so important we strongly suggest that Gnome
> companies consider hiring someone to work full time on it."

I'd like to leave it up to the companies themselves to decide whom to
hire, and for what.

> 7. "We think this project is so important the Gnome Foundation will hire
> someone to work full time on it."

I don't want to see the Gnome Foundation have full time development
staff, largely because I think the community is against it having that
level of overhead.

> So candidates, these are some of my ideas about how direction in Gnome can
> be achieved. (I'm not saying I agree with any  of these methods.) 
> How do you think direction of Gnome should be achieved? 

I listed my comments on your proposals above. I expect things to
happen in mostly two ways:

1) Blessing projects as an official part of a GNOME release, or a
   planned part of a future release. Usually this would happen
   naturally if the community thinks it's the right path.

2) Promoting broad directives like maintaining source and binary
   compatibility between major platform releases, or indicating areas
   we think need work, like an improved sound server.

Basically I want to see the board spend most of it's time using the
carrot and hardly ever even trying to use the stick.

 - Maciej

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