Re: GNOME Foundation Elections 2007. Let's start the debate!

On Mon, 2007-11-19 at 07:39 -0300, Bruno Boaventura wrote: 
> With the final list of candidates announced, it's time to submit
> questions about the GNOME Foundation and GNOME Project to this years
> prospective Board of Directors.
> The list, a summary of each candidate's statement and a link to each
> candidate's candidacy can be found at:
> Here we'll go:
> [1] How much impact would being a member of the GNOME Foundation Board
> have on your current contributions to GNOME ?

The past year I have been busy with work on the OLPC project and have
not had much time to dedicate to GNOME besides serving on the embedded
advisory board.  Now that my job is shifting from a Development to
Leadership roll I will have more time (less context switches) for
positions such as the GNOME Foundation Board and continuing to represent
GNOME at such meetings such as the Desktop Architects meeting and the
upcoming Desktop Plumbers meetings.  My work on the Release Team will
sadly have to move to another community member.  The good news is this
is a great way to get into the day to day functions of the GNOME

> [2] Online Desktop and Services are being talked about as the next
> large step in GNOME - what is your vision for Online Desktop and
> Services and how would you measure them ?

I'm currently listening to the LUGRadio interview of Havoc Pennington
and Colin Walters ( I've
been lucky enough to see the evolution of the Online Desktop from
Yarrrr, to Mugshot to GNOME Online Desktop.  Things happen in small
steps which only seem large if you tend to only look at the major
milestone within the project.  From the beginning I have been excited
about the prospects of moving GNOME beyond the desktop.  I in fact think
that using the limiting nomenclature of a Desktop Environment has
hamstrung us and we should simply call ourselves GNOME.

I see the GNOME Online push as pulling us into the Wild West of the Web
platform where everyone is staking their claims and there is yet to be
monopolies to stifle innovation.  Sure Google is big but sites like
Facebook and Wikipedia were able to emerge.  The only way to defeat
entrenched adversaries in business is to outflank them with disruptive
technology.  Microsoft did it to IBM with the Desktop, Google did it to
Microsoft with web search and we have the chance to bring in integrated
Open Source web applications to the mix and even define a new era of
Open Services.  

My vision is bringing a whole connected platform which is open, one
small step at a time.  How do we measure that? By knowing that the
quality of what we produce will be better than what proprietary
technology can produce.  That in turn is measured in how we grow GNOME
and grow the platform.  

That being said I believe the Boards mission in this is to not set
direction but grease the wheels so that those who want to move in this
direction find it easy to do so.  This could included procuring hardware
for applications to run on or facilitating talks between the different
interested groups.

> [3] What are the SMART goals that you desire to set for yourself
> should you be elected to the Board ?

1) Increase participation in GNOME from within and without
   - (S)pecificly - identify areas where we need help and would be fun
for other to participate - even the smallest of tasks can get people
more active in the community
   - (M)easurable - The question to ask is are we meeting our various
project goals, if not go back to the first S
   - (A)ttainable - if I leave office with one more person working as
part of GNOME it will be a success, more and I will be dancing with joy
   - (R)ealistic - GNOME grows with the strength of our leadership and
we have had strong leaders throughout the years.  That is as real as it
is going to get.
   - (T)imely - this goal can be attained with fairly quick changes as
outlined in my next few goals

Ok I'm going to forgo the rather dull SMART format for now

2) Find out the bottle necks within the board and work to getting others
in the community to take on responsibility.  The board is a fairly small
group of people who need to learn how to delegate and include the rest
of the community.  It is not an ivory tower of cabal leaders.  Giving
small consumable tasks to foundation members involves them and lessens
the burden on our part time board members.

3) Make sure the next Boston Summit kicks ass.  This years was a bit of
a letdown though good work still got done.  It is an important meeting
to grow membership as well as set direction.  Being a Boston resident I
organized the Beer Summit, given about a week.  I think I can organize
the whole Boston Summit as a board member next year.

> [4] If you were part of the GNOME Board last year and a candidate
> again, what would you like to put as your achievements as a Board
> member ?
> Or,
> [4] If you are a candidate for the first time, what are the areas that
> you think you can do better ?

I was a candidate last year but lost a seat by 4 votes :)  For one I
think I can organize the Boston Summit a bit better but I think the real
asset would be in being more vocal about the foundation's activities
through my blog and just talking to people.   

> [5] Do you think it is important to mentor and coach potential leaders
> in the GNOME community ? If yes, what do you think the role of the
> Board be in this task ? If no, what are your thoughts on this ?

Yes I think it is hugely important.  There is always some guru like JRB
I go to to figure out the inner-workings of GNOME.  It would be a shame
if the next say Federico came along and said "this is not for me" simply
because there wasn't enough guidance.  

The roll of the board should be in facilitating this.  We should be
training the next batch of board members or any members by simply
talking to them.  I know Jeff always e-mails me where there is a post
that he thinks I would be great filling.  That is sometimes all it
takes.  We all lead busy lives but the way I see it, the more people we
get helping out the more the work is spread amongst us.  GNOME is people
and only survives on the quality of those people.   

> [6] Some of the tasks of a Board Member are mundane administrative
> tasks, are you comfortable taking on such tasks as opposed to being
> always involved in strategic and visionary thinking ?

There always needs to be balance.  The boards job is to get a lot of the
administrative tasks out of the way so the exciting things can happen.
I am happy to do such tasks on the condition that they directly or
indirectly effect the success of the cool stuff.

> [7] What or which according to you, is the one "tipping point" move
> for GNOME in the coming year ?

GNOME members understanding and accepting the Online Desktop push will
be the defining move for 2008 and finally competing on our own terms,
not others.  Questions to ask at the end of the year:

- Have we catalyzed people into writing GNOME apps accessible on the
- Have we come up with an acceptable Open Service definition? 
- Have we made Open Service apps compelling to those outside the

> [8] What do you think is the most important item on the Board's agenda
> right now ? What will you do more or better than the previous boards
> in that aspect ?

Organization of talent so that tasks are fulfilled in a timely manner.
I tend to think too much burden is put on individual board members and
that they should be delegating more.  I'm making it a goal to get more
people involved so that important things like the Boston Summit do not
fall by the wayside. 

> [9] What is your positioning with respect to the issue of OOXML?

This is a loaded question.  My opinion is that I believe the board
should take which is very little of a position.  I believe individuals,
groups and the market should figure this out.  The only policy we should
put on it is, is it free and open - does it have patent dangers?  If the
answers to these questions are not satisfactory then we should reject it
otherwise I see no point in endorsing it as developers will do what they
feel is right. In the end the real power lies in the community who will
praise or vilify these decisions. 

Recently at a GNOME Embedded meeting the issue concerning the GPL3 came
up because some consumers of GNOME technologies disliked a couple of the
clauses.  I took a similar stance to OOXML in saying I did not think it
was in the working group's or board's interest or power to make any
decision on the license. I said that the board should leave it up to
individuals to investigate on a case by case basis.  It is up to the
developers to argue the technical merits.

> [10] Why do you think we need a GNOME Foundation ?

We need a GNOME Foundation first of all to make sure we have the
resources to do things such as GUADEC and the Boston Summit efficiently.
We have done these things in the past without the foundation but as we
grow up having an entity like the Foundation is indispensable.  There
job is to be like good manager and get all of the roadblocks out of the
way so GNOME developers can do what they do best and develop free

> We hope a very good debate!
> GNOME Foundation Membership Committee
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-list mailing list
> foundation-list gnome org

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