Re: 11 Questions to answer

On Wed, 2002-11-06 at 13:48, Ghee Seng Teo wrote:
> 1) Why are you running for Board of Directors?

In a nutshell, because I feel the Board can do a better job of
communicating with hackers, because I feel the Board is the only organ
GNOME has that can do certain things, and because I want to ensure that
the board focuses /only/ on those things for which it is best suited.

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

I've been on the release team for most of the past year, and did much of
the day-to-day management of Ximian's GNOME2 team. Additionally... well,
I was on a lot of BS committees in Student Government. Trust me- you
don't want to know. ;)

> 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?

I'm not Havoc, Jeff, or Ali, but I manage to make my opinions known ;) I
also read and participate in a number of the non-core lists for new
apps, like galeon and rhythmbox, which I think gives me some perspective
on gnome from a non-core-hacker perspective. Finally, of course, I've
been known to read a little bit of bugzilla, which I think gives me as
good a perspective as anyone on where GNOME (the code) actually stands.

> 4) One of the primary tasks of the Board of Directors is to act as a
> liaison 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?

I was a primary manager for Sun and Ximian's work with GNOME2; I think
that taught me a lot about what large corporations need and want from
GNOME. I'd also like to flatter myself by thinking I also did the job
well :)

> 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 committees, and act as liaisons
> 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?

There is a GNOME organization? :) I was key (if a little slow ;) in
creating the first GNOME 'org chart.' I'd like to (as part of the board)
keep that up-to-date and work on facilitating the creation of new teams
(like a marketing team), as well as facilitating communication between
the teams we already have.

> 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 consensus on each item for
> discussion. Are you good at working with others, who sometimes have very
> differing opinions than you do, to reach consensus and agree on actions?

I've been working with the accessibility, usability, and QA teams for
the better part of the last year. There have to date been no deaths, no
open inter-team warfare, and many bugs fixed. So, yes, I feel I'm fairly
good at enabling others to reach consensus or at least the semblance

> 7) Often Directors have to draft policies, form committees, find
> weaknesses or approaching problems of GNOME and work on solutions, and act
> as liaison 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 liaison between the Board and any other committees, groups, or
> companies if relevant.

communication with hackers- Many gnome hackers feel the board is, at
best, irrelevant to 'real gnome work.' Many newcomers to gnome don't
even know there /is/ a board. The board has to figure out why it is
relevant and get that message out.

resource acquisition- the board is the best positioned group in GNOME to
figure out what HW GNOME needs and to acquire it. This ball got rolling
with the new CVS box, but needs to continue, as I expect we'll have new
demands on our services as we continue to expand.

'evolution and maturity'- This is a little abstract, and probably the
most important one, so bear with me :) GNOME is very close to becoming
the shining example for large Free Software projects. No other Free
Software project has the blend of community involvement, corporate
support, and mature process that we do. The challenge for GNOME going
forward is to build on this success. We need to grow our membership-
much of the first generation of GNOME hackers got hired or has moved on;
we need to work on growing and involving that next generation. We need
to mature our organization- the release team has provided great
leadership, but it can't do everything; we need to study what else is
needed [QA and marketing teams, for example] and go do it. We also need
to refine our processes- we're about to come up on our first time-based
release, and we need to understand how that has worked and how it hasn't
worked, and how we can do it better in the future. If we do all these
things (in other words, if we evolve and mature) I strongly believe
GNOME will be _the_ model Free Software project- the one that other
communities and other companies study and say 'we want to be like them.'
The board should provide some of the vision and motivation behind this
maturation process, even if much of the work (and many of the details)
should be hashed out among the regular volunteers.

[Obviously, Mozilla and Open Office are larger, but are completely
driven by one company in each case; the kernel is also larger, but
doesn't have the maturity of process that I believe we've reached during
the 2.0 process. We can and should be /the/ model of organization going

> 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?

Yes, quite. Like I said, I've had to balance many needs as bugmaster-
being nice to bug reporters, begging developers for fixes, moderating
between developers and usability team, etc. If those things don't
require diplomacy and tact I don't know what does. :)

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

Absolutely. I firmly believe that GNOME companies (like Ximian) will
only thrive in the long run if the GNOME community is healthy. If that
means choosing policies that benefit the community while perhaps
frustrating the vendors, then so be it- any companies (including Ximian)
that seek to profit off _and damage_ the community in the short term are
only dooming both themselves and the community to failure in the long
term. [I should note that I don't think any company has done such a
thing yet, despite the occasional temptations, nor do I expect that to
occur. The companies are not stupid. :)

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


> 11) One of the ingredient for success in an Open Source project such as GNOME
> is committed and dedicated memberships. How would you propose to promote new 
> membership, and encourage commitment of existing membership to make the GNOME 
> desktop the desktop of choice? [ Hints: the number of Foundation members have 
> reduced from 460 in 2001 to approximately 300 in 2002 ]

I'm very proud of my involvement in bug days. They aren't the solution
exactly ;) but they're a start. The bugday model is one the rest of
GNOME can follow- we need to proactively announce to our user community
'we need help- here is where to start- come hang out with us, we're cool
and fun'. That's the big-picture solution. The implementation can take
any of 1,000 forms- it can be small, like a better GNOME About box with
links to teams, it can be large, like college/university outreach[1],
and it can be the utterly obvious- like docs. But it's got to be
proactive- we can't just sit around and wait for people to come to us.
Not if we want to reach our goals.

As far as existing membership... the key there is just to make GNOME
fun. We've added a lot of process and procedure to GNOME over the last
year. That's important- it's part of the process of sophistication and
maturity that I wrote about earlier. But it's also unfun- no one (except
me ;) like reading bugs; very few people get excited by GEPs, etc. We
need to be very, very careful that every time we think about adding more
process we also think about making things more rewarding for the people
who are going to have to go through those processes. We haven't done
that very well, and that's not a good sign. I think it's something we
can pretty easily remedy going forward if we're careful, though.

[1]I'm aware of at least two programs which are being studied or which
will shortly be studied by college students looking to improve their

Anyway, that's my $0.11 :)

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