GNOME Foundation elections!

Hi everyone,

Previously, I proposed that we hold elections after we complete the
incorporation of the foundation, but for a number of reasons detailed at
the bottom of this email, I now propose that we decouple incorporation
from the elections and adopt the following timeline for elections:
- October 2 (Monday): Announce the elections on Gnotices, invite people
to register to vote, invite people to submit slates.
- October 16 (Monday): Deadline for submitting slates for the
elections.  Deadline for making changes to the charter.
- October 18 (Wednesday): Slates are posted on Gnotices.
- October 23 (Monday): Deadline to register to vote.
- October 30 (Monday): Elections begin.
- November 6 (Monday): Elections end.
- November 7 (Tuesday): Election results announced.

Please let me know if you agree with this proposal and chime in on the
following (and other) open issues.

Some open issues:
1.  Modifying the charter.
A draft of the charter is posted at  Let's continue to discuss changes
that we may want to make but then put a stop on that around October 16
so people have a stable document to refer to.  Few changes have been
made since early August, so I'm assuming that there's rough consensus
about the document.

2.  Signing up enough member / people who are registered to vote.
As of right now, 204 people have registered themselves as members of the
GNOME Foundation.  In other words, 204 members are registered to vote.
I have posted a snapshot of the CVS document at (I'll update it periodically
unless Havoc's script gets used instead).  So I think we already have
critical mass of people who want to vote, and I'm sure after we announce
the elections, more people will sign up.  It is particularly encouraging
to see that the vast majority of the people who signed up are not
affiliated with any of the 'usual suspects' companies.

3.  Process for adding additional members.
The Steering Committee has created a membership subcommittee that's
keeping an eye on the membership list and where people can send email to
add themselves to the membership list.  They may ask Willian H. Gates
III (sic) to clarify his past contributions to GNOME.

4.  Putting together slates.
As outlined in the charter, registered voters will elect a slate of
board members and there is a process by which members can submit
slates.  Hopefully there'll be a number of slates from which
GNOME hackers can choose. I believe that the GNOME Steering Committee
will also submit a slate for the board.  Hopefully, slates will be
submitted with a note explaining why the proposed board composition will
best meet our needs.

5.  Election mechanics.
There are 2 ways to have the elections:
- "the basics": we set up a mailman list, auto-subscribe all the
registered voters to the list, limit posts to the list to members of the
list, and then ask everybody to send email to the list address (let's
call it vote gnome org) with a slate number as the subject field.  When
the election is closed, we can then do a quick check to make people
didn't double-vote, and tally the results.  This is very simple, very
open (anyone can inspect the ballots), and no machinery is required;
- "the fancy way": people have expressed the desire to have a voting
process where one could vote for more than one slate, with a first and
second preference.  To explain this: take the US presidential
elections.  Wouldn't it be great if people could vote for Ralph Nader
(or whoever) and, if Nader doesn't get enough votes, then your vote goes
to Gore or Bush.  This encourages people to state their real voting
preferences as opposed to voting 'strategically', but it requires more
complicated machinery. If someone wants to take the lead to identify
software that can help with this, or come up with a manageable way of
tallying the votes under such a system, then we can go this route.
Otherwise, I recommend sticking with the basics for this election
cycle.   We would need to make a decision on this over the next week or
so, since it might affect what kind of slates are put together.

So rather than having a heated debate about this, if someone is really
excited about going the fancy way, please find software or propose a
concrete way to do this within the proposed timeline.

6.  Drafting the announcement.
To be done, but it would include links to the archives of this list, the
foundation charter, the Foundation FAQ document and the membership
list.   It would explain the purpose of the foundation, the timeline,
and how to submit a slate.

7.  Why elections before incorporation?
We have previously discussed the order of elections vs incorporation,
and I most recently proposed that we first incorporate the
GNOME Foundation and then hold elections, but I propose that we separate
out the elections from incorporation and start organizing elections for
the Board of Directors of the foundation.

There's a couple of reasons for this, but most important among them is
that it might take us a while longer (at least until November 1 is the
current estimate) until we incorporate the foundation and, in the mean
time, there's not really a governing model for GNOME.  A number of the
members of the current Steering Committee are concerned that they have
no legitimate power to make decisions on behalf of GNOME, and so there
are a number of issues that could have been easily resolved that are
taking up a fair amount of cycles (example: where to have GUADEC II).

The chief argument to have elections after the foundation is
incorporated is that we will then have by-laws and articles of
incorporation, so it'll be more clear what the foundation is supposed to
do.  The counter-argument to that is the charter of the GNOME Foundation
has been fairly stable for a while now, and there is rough consensus on
the mission of the foundation.  The process for elections is clearly
spelled out in the draft charter.  If we go ahead and elect a board of
directors for the foundation now, then that gives all the hackers an
opportunity to elect a group of people that they will feel comfortably
will make sure that the by-laws of the Foundation will properly
represent their desires.

8.  I'm-out-of-steam-but-I'm-sure-there's-more-stuff-to-be-discussed.


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