Re: A question for all the candidates.

On 16 Oct, Martin Sevior wrote:

> 1." This project is wasting resources. It will be removed from Gnome CVS."
> 2. "This project is wasting resources, we recommend that no distribution
> (especially Helix-Code) include it in their release". 

I'm not sure how you could define "wasting resources" in a meaningful
way that would justify either of these responses. For that matter, it is
one thing for the Board to say GNOME vX.Y.Z consists of these packages
and that distributions which do not include the complete set should not
claim to have GNOME vX.Y.Z, and quite another to attempt to squelch a
project in this way. The former is establishing a standard, the latter
is essentially an attempt censorship. I would not endorse either of
these two stances.

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

I see no problem with "competing" projects--other than how to decide
which, if any, are to be included in an official GNOME release. Free
Software projects come from the desire to create--the Foundation should
not be in the business of stifling that creativity.

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

Wishlists are a good thing--even if they come from "the top". But I'm
more likely to endorse a "Wouldn't it be nice if GNOME had X" or "GNOME
is still lacking Y" type of statement. The idea is to encourage new work
and to suggest avenues that might lead a new hacker to say, "I'd like to
tackle that."

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

Ugh. Aside from the questionable use of GNOME funds this idea raises,
there are the practical issues of what would constitute a "best patch".

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

This is totally, IMHO, outside of the scope of the Foundation. Just as
we don't want the "GNOME Companies" to run the Foundation, these
companies don't want us running their businesses.

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

This *might* be an avenue that I'd support, *if* the project truly was
that "vital" and yet so mundane/tedious/boring that no one really had
any desire to hack on it voluntarily. Even then, it would be something
that I'd want to submit to the members for referendum, simply because I
feel that this would be skating the edge of the Board's mandate.

To me, "providing direction" arises out of defining what constitutes
each official GNOME release and doing whatever is feasible to keep the
communication open between projects. An analogy may help: I envision the
Board as the studio engineer for a jam session. Each hacker adds their
licks, supporting and responding to what others are doing. But the Board
is at the mixer, blending the various components together into what will
become the official release. The engineer doesn't dictate what the
musicians play or how they play it; the engineer blends and balances the
music to produce the "finished product".


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