Why I'm Voting "NO"

Hey everyone,

I've been meaning to write a usefully detailed email about why I'll be
voting "NO" for the current referendum, but with my insane travel schedule
at the moment, I haven't had an opportunity to sit down and write it. A
journalist (who hasn't pushed out an article yet, so I've not identified
them or their publication here) asked me a few questions the other day, so I
thought I'd send them along, as they give part of my opinion on this whole
thing. :-)

Question 3 is probably the most critical one to gain an understanding of my
perspective of the Foundation Board's role. We need to reforge the popular
notion of its role into a representative and purely administrative group. It
is much more important to have a group of people on the board that we trust
to represent the project than it is to have people who "get things done"...
It is not the Board's role to "get things done" - that totally mucks up the
balance of our community. The Board is just there to resolve conflicts, make
administrative decisions, fix major problems, and make sure the community is
well represented so that the organisation's resources are used wisely and

I will be running for the Board again on this platform. Please vote "NO" to
this referendum, and let's fix the Board *properly*, instead of changing the
Board based on a badly conceived notion of what its role should be! :-)

Very happy to answer further questions about this, if you have any (I will
be in Montreal for the next while, so will be able to reply to email more
reliably than in the last few weeks).


- Jeff

> 1. Do you think it's necessary to reduce the number of board members?

While I agreed with this proposal some time ago, I no longer think it's in
the best interests of the GNOME Foundation, which must represent a broad
cross-section of views in our community.

> 2. One of the arguments given by David Neary is that it's hard to get
> things done with 11 board members because "any issue which is slightly
> contentious has an opposition in a board of 11 people." Is that a bad
> thing?

This is a diverse community, so disagreement about highly contentious issues
is to be expected, and is entirely healthy. It is the day-to-day issues that
are most problematic for the Board, which does not have a good structure for
decision making - the buck doesn't stop anywhere. It is not beyond repair,

> 3. Are there any other changes, rather than reducing the number of elected
> board members, that would address some of the problems Neary is raising?

The alternative that I support is a more structured decision making process,
with a standard four member 'executive', consisting of an elected President,
Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. I believe this will greatly improve
the Board's ability to execute, ensure that it represents the broad range of
views in the GNOME community, emphasise its role as an administrative body,
and demand service and responsibility from its executive.

> 4. What do you think of the board's effectiveness overall?

There are particular issues that I wish we had resolved during my two year
tenure that are still unresolved now. However, in general, GNOME has one of
the best community governance models in the FOSS world. It just needs a bit
of spring cleaning!

UbuntuBelowZero in Montreal!          http://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuBelowZero
   "This is the new dividing line in public life. It is not a question of
    Left versus Right, but a struggle between insiders and outsiders." -
                                Mark Latham

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