Re: 10 Questions for All Candidates

Hey guys,

On Mon, 2001-11-12 at 23:26, Dan Mueth wrote:
> 10 Questions for all candidates:
> 1) Why are you running for Board of Directors?

As I said in my candidacy statement, I think that in many cases the
board could be doing a better job than it has done of injecting momentum
into the GNOME project, and I think that I could help the board do
this.  I don't fault the people who are on the board currently, but I
have sometimes felt frustrated with the progress that's been made over
the last year in terms of making GNOME a more coherent beast, and I
would like to be in a position to more directly help with this.  

Some of the specific things I'd like to help make happen include more
in-person get-togethers, a lot more focus on the small, incremental
improvements that make the desktop experience that much smoother, and a
coordinated GNOME office.

I'm good at getting people motivated and organized, so I think I can
help to implement these ideas.

> 2) Do you have leadership and committee experience? If so, please explain.

Yeah, as mentioned before, I was CEO of Ximian for 18+ months and now
I'm in charge of all our product development teams, which is some 40 odd
people.  I'm also on Ximian's executive committee and board of
directors, so I have some non-trivial amount of committee/compromise
experience from that.

> 3) How familiar are you with the day-to-day happenings of GNOME?  How much
> do you follow and participate in the main GNOME mailing lists?

Well, I don't code anymore so a lot of my familiarity comes from
higher-level coordination work I do with the hackers at Ximian.  I also
read g-h and the other lists almost every day.  I haven't participated
much in those lists because I think that most of the time the only
really useful participation comes from the people doing the actual work;
i.e. armchair comments from the sidelines are often not that helpful

> 4) One of the primary tasks of the Board of Directors is to act as a
> liason between the GNOME Foundation and other organizations and companies
> to find out how the two groups can work together to their mutual benefit.
> Do you feel you would be good at understanding other people and companies
> and finding ways that GNOME can collaborate with other companies and
> organizations to benefit both groups and their users?

Yeah, this was sort of my job for quite a while.

> 5) One of the responsibilities and powers of the Board of Directors is to
> identify organizational weaknesses and needs of GNOME and to create
> committees, appoint coordinators of these committess, and act as liasons
> with them.  What do you believe are the current weak points of GNOME as an
> organization, and if you were able to, how would you change the GNOME
> organization?

The underlying weakness, thematically, is less unity than there could
be.  I think I've already talked about these weaknesses in other places
a few times.  A couple things that bear repeating:

    * I don't think the GNOME foundation should be meddling in
    maintainer's work.
    * I do think that the GNOME foundation should be helping to
    coordinate some of the disparate and separate projects that make up
    GNOME. In particular, I think that GNOME is not widely recognized as
    providing as complete a desktop solution as we do.  KDE does a good
    job of this, with coordinated KOffice releases; I think we could
    learn some things there.
    A lot of this is not code-related; it has to do with things like
    creating central web resources for GNOME, the desktop, the office
    apps, documentation, tutorials, screenshots, etc.
    * One major weakness that I see is not enough focus on the details
    of desktop usability.  We have a lot of energy going into the
    developer platform -- though certain things like documentation are
    still weak -- but not enough user-oriented focus.  Sun has done some
    fantastic work in usability testing, and I think it would be great
    to feed this input more directly into the individual projects.
I wouldn't recommend massive organizational changes to remedy this
stuff.  The board could help by finding some people to help with this
less-sexy coordination and administrative work. 

> 6) The board meets for one hour every two weeks to discuss a handful of
> issues.  Thus, it is very important that the board can very quickly and
> concisely discuss each topic and come to concensus on each item for
> discussion. Are you good at working with others, who sometimes have very
> differing opinions than you do, to reach concensus and agree on actions?

Yeah, my opinions aren't strongly held or religious.  As Dale Carnegie
said, "If I were right even 51% of the time, I could make a killing in
the stock market." (or words to that effect)

> 7) Often Directors have to draft policies, form committees, find
> weaknesses or approaching problems of GNOME and work on solutions, and act
> as liason with various groups (both within and outside GNOME) and
> companies.  Please name three or more areas which you feel are important
> for the Board to address over the next year and which you would enjoy
> contributing some of your time to help get things started and possibly act
> as a liason between the Board and any other committees, groups, or
> companies if relevant.

1. There should be regular GNOME hackfests: frequent, small local
gatherings of developers, and less frequent (twice annually?) core
hacker retreats.  The board could help to organize these and, in some
cases, to pay for them.

2. GNOME Desktop Usability.  I think there are a few things that can be
done here: (i) a "desktop usability bughunt," in the spirit of the
October GNOME bughunt and informed by the Sun usability research (ii)
coordinated usability testing between the companies that can afford to
pay for it so that we're using our corporate resources as efficiently as
possible (iii) trying to instill individual projects with a sense of the
importance of this stuff; e.g. usability quirks should be opened as bugs
in bugzilla (iv) we need high-quality, free fonts.

3. GNOME Office.  It needs a real web page, coordinated releases, and
better integration.  Oh, yes, and we need to define what's in it :-).  I
recognize the difficulty of this project but I think that the benefits
are worth the effort.

> 8) Do you consider yourself diplomatic?  Would you make a good
> representative for the GNOME Foundation to the Membership, media, public,
> and organizations and corporations the GNOME Foundation works with?

Yeah, I can press the oily palm with the best of them. :-)

> 9) Will you represent the interests of GNOME and the GNOME Foundation over
> all other personal or corporate interests you may represent?

Absolutely and without compromise.

> 10) Will you be willing and have the available time to take on and
> complete various tasks that the Board needs accomplished?

Yes, this work is very important to me; I will explicitly set aside time
in my schedule for the GNOME foundation.


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