On the role of the board (in response to Mueth and Meeks).

Michael Meeks:
>         Even if the board makes no significant technical decisions,
> which I remain extremely unconvinced about, I maintain that hackers[1]
> better represent the Gnome community than any other.


The board can try to gently influence the technical direction, but it
can not direct it expect for very specialized cases. I know this from
successes and failures in the Debian organization. Volunteers will respond
to technical argument and, to a lesser degree, to a respected technical
leader like Miguel because they trust his _technical_ judgement. They
won't be told how to program by a business manager or a committee,
they will rise up in rebellion if you try.

In contrast, if the foundation has money to spend on implementation done
by paid employees, it can say more about how the work is done. However,
even in that case the volunteer developers should be the ones designing
the specification if it's at all possible, or they will feel they are
losing control of the project and are likely to walk off. Also, even
paid employees don't like having a business manager or committee tell
them what to do except in the most broad terms, because they are almost
always closer to the project and know better what to do.

However, I _do_ think we need a hacker ethos on the board, and particularly,
a Free Software hacker ethos. A person with that sort of ethos will best
represent the GNOME project. However, the fact that people on the board
manifest a Free Software hacker ethos does not necessarily mean that they
are immersed in GNOME development. That, with some people, could even be
a disadvantage because they would be tempted to use their board positions
to micromanage GNOME technical decisions.

Thus, I think we need hackers, but they should be hackers concerning
themselves with administrative, financial, business, and relationship
aspects of the GNOME when they are acting on the behalf of the board,
and they should resist the temptation to usurp from the developers the
technical leadership.

>         So in summary; I think the people best equipped to represent
> and lead the Gnome team are the technical[2] people who have so far 
> created what we have.

Yes and no. The technical experience is important but I would not want that
to keep a Bart Decrem off of the board - he's in sync with the ethos even
if he's not a big code contributor, _plus_ he has the sort of aptitudes that
the board needs. You could be the world's greatest coder and have no stomach
for the administrative side of the equation: we'd want you on the project but
you would probably not be comfortable on the board.

From: Dan Mueth <d-mueth uchicago edu>
> The GF sits on yet another side doing several things which
> no other part of GNOME does: working with the media, organizing conference
> participation, working with corporations who want to use/contribute to
> GNOME, outreach and education, addressing legal issues, generally acting
> as the "voice of GNOME".

Yes, and coordinating the defense of GNOME in patent lawsuits (we're getting
so popular that we'd better be ready for this), writing grants, funding
projects, and in general doing things that the typical hacker probably won't
want to be involved in.

In general I agree with Dan's argument, not quoted in its entirety here.



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