Re: 11 Questions to answer

<quote who="Ghee Seng Teo"/>

> 1) Why are you running for Board of Directors?

I'm passionate about GNOME's future, and I believe I can make a difference.
I think my skills and interests lend themselves to board participation, and
my contributions to date have been along similar lines.

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

I have been the President of the Sydney Linux Users Group since March 2001
and was a general committee member for two years prior to that. I was on the
organising team for 2001, which revitalised Australia's most
rocking roaming hacker's conference. Since 2001, I've been the GNOME release
co-ordinator... and those are just the Free Software bits. :-)

> 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?

Deeply familiar with day-to-day happenings of GNOME (an absolute requirement
to be an effective release team member), and on way too many GNOME lists for
my own good, participating in many.

> 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?

Sure. I think that the release team dealt with these issues throughout the
2.0 development process, and they're a large part of my day-to-day work too.
I, um, actually find this stuff fun, so, hmm. :-)

> 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?

The three issues with GNOME that I'd most like to address this year (from a
board position or not):

  - lowering the bar for new contributors
  - building community-run outreach and marketing project
  - wrangling and improving our sometimes haphazard infrastructure

> 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?

Yes. Please see my answers to questions 2 and 4.

> 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.

Please see my answer to question 5.

> 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. A large degree of diplomacy, or at the very least, polite patience, has
been necessary to achieve my contributions to date. ;-)

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


> 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 Free Software 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 ]

An intriguing question. Before answering, I'd point out that the question
links Foundation membership and active contribution and assumes that they
are one and the same. They're not, and that makes it hard to answer:

  - active contributors may not choose to participate in the Foundation. I
    think that's a bummer, but it's totally up to them.

  - under the latest Foundation membership guidelines, past contributors who
    may no longer be deeply involved in the project are eligible to become
    members and vote.

  - new contributors may not be eligible to join the Foundation until they
    have 'contributed to a non-trivial improvement of the GNOME Project'.
    Thus, these contributors do not immediately raise the number of
    Foundation members.

So, Foundation membership is not necessarily a good benchmark for the number
of 'committed and dedicated' contributors we have (which is what I think the
question is primarily addressing). However, I do think both sets are
important, and have split my answer up into two sections:

  - I think this year's Foundation Board will need to have 'building our
    contributor base' as a major goal. Some easy solutions (Fifth Toe has
    been great encouragement for hackers historically, looks like Will and
    Bastien will keep that rocking hard for the next release), some tough
    solutions that will require a lot of work (documentation, improved info
    and access to it, stronger infrastructure, etc). Big stuff, must be
    dealt with this year.

  - Whilst I'm loathe to bring up the subject of membership policies again,
    I think my earlier suggestion (which received no response from the
    current board) of two membership groups, voting contributors and
    non-voting supporters, would increase the numbers and relevance of the
    Foundation. I'm not sure that quantity of Foundation members is (or
    should be) a major goal.

Thanks. Good questions, keen to hear other candidates answers,

- Jeff

   "The aim of the release process is to finish software, not to develop    
                         it..." - Havoc Pennington                          

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