Re: 11 Questions to answer
- From: Miguel de Icaza <miguel ximian com>
- To: Ghee Seng Teo <Ghee Teo sun com>
- Cc: msevior physics unimelb edu au, rms gnu org, bill haneman sun com, mike gtnorthern demon co uk, glynn foster sun com, hadess hadess net, malcolm commsecure com au, michael ximian com, veillard redhat com, james daa com au, jdub perkypants org, Jim Gettys hp com, lesproctor yahoo com, Nat Friedman <nat ximian com>, jrb gnome org, Jody Goldberg <jody gnome org>, Tim Ney <ten gnome org>, louie ximian com, amy zoned net, Martin Baulig <martin gnome org>, sri aracnet com, Federico Mena Quintero <federico ximian com>, foundation-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: 11 Questions to answer
- Date: 15 Nov 2002 00:38:32 -0500
> 1) Why are you running for Board of Directors?
I see Gnome as the most important project to make Linux succeed on the
desktop, which has been a personal goal and a passion of mine for many
I want to run for the board to continue to be in a place where I can
help Gnome have the most impact and represent the project in an official
way to other groups.
During the past couple of years, besides working for Ximian in multiple
projects involving Gnome, I have also been doing a fair amount of
promotional work to governments, groups of users and corporations to
help them adopt free software and help them address their needs.
Some of this involves teaching people how to become active Gnome
citizens and contributors, and sometimes how to work with existing
> 2) Do you have leadership and committee experience? If so, please explain.
I have some, but I have learned more every year. I have served on the
board of the Gnome foundation since its inception, and helped launched
both Gnome and the Gnome foundation.
> 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 track most of the development mailing lists, but I do not engage in
the debate there too often, as people which have their hands into the
code are already doing a great job.
Today I am mostly involved in a project called Mono, which I believe
strongly will bring us a set of very powerful development tools to
produce better applications, and allow them to happen in a shorter
period of time.
In the Mono world, am active in the binding community that is producing
the bindings to the various class libraries that are used by Gnome (and
wrote a nice photo management application using mono and Gtk#).
> 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 believe I do, and acting as a liaison with other communities is
probably going to be one of my strengths.
For instance, this past year I went on a trip to promote Gnome in South
America, the first time I have done an only-promotional trip to
non-computer related shows. Detail about the trip can be found on my
home page at http://primates.ximian.com/~miguel/sur.html
> 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
I believe that free software is developed in an organic way and that
change in the team will happen outside from the board. The board is
used sometimes to make decisions that can not be reached easily by
involving everyone in the community, or when it is required to have a
vote in a quick way (which in the end, thats why people are electing us
to the board).
Our web presence is the one lacking the most polishing, probably due to
the fact that we always have coped with the content in the web site in a
very centralized way. Gnotices is a good example: we tried to provide
as a group a solution that would have served our community, but we did
this using our members that were already very overloaded with work.
By allowing new people to contribute and give them the visibility they
need Gnome is serving its user base in a better way. Now we have
Gnomedesktop.org which is a very well ran site for news involving the
I do not have a magical answer for updating the Gnome site, I only wish
I could help, and wish the work from the team that prototyped the new
content could be reused.
> 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 believe I do.
> 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.
I think that the issues this year are very much the same issues that we
are discussing today:
* The need for promoting Gnome as a serious replacement
for a Windows desktop: this will require conferences focused
on this particular need.
* The need for raising money to organize conferences, to send
contributors and speakers to conferences outside the free
software conference circuit.
* Continue organizing by-yearly conferences of Gnome developers.
I have been actively involved in making the three Guadec
conferences happen, and want to continue offering my help to
make them happen.
For a long time we had wanted to have the equivalent to Guadec
in the US, and have things happen not only every year, but
every half-year, and Nat was the one to put together the
Gnome Boston Summit, which was quite successful in bringing
people from different suburbs of the Gnome world to work
I did not have a lot to do with the Summit, but its important
to point out that Nat crystallized this vision that we all
> 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, I do. I am often a spokesperson for Gnome, Ximian and the Mono
project. I interact often with reporters.
> 9) Will you represent the interests of GNOME and the GNOME Foundation over
> all other personal or corporate interests you may represent?
When speaking as a Gnome board member, I will. But I usually wear
different hats. I have always kept things clear about what my stance is
in a particular situation (for example the long reply in the
gnome-hackers mailing list about Mono and its relation to Gnome).
> 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 ]
Gnome as every other successful open source/free software project needs
to grow and nurture a community. Sometimes this means that we have to
be more accommodating to the needs of contributors and third parties. I
believe we all agree that the ultimate goal is to make Gnome succeed as
a desktop replacement, but we disagree at the tactical level on how to
This year for instance, I worked to clarify and loosen up the
restrictions to be a foundation member, because I felt that we owed it
to those developers that had made Gnome happen to be part of the
But this is an interesting and scary number that you present, and we
certainly should look into this, as it looks like a problem.
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