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


Le lundi 19 novembre 2007, à 07:39 -0300, Bruno Boaventura a écrit :
> [1] How much impact would being a member of the GNOME Foundation Board
> have on your current contributions to GNOME ?

Well, since being a member of the Board is currently one of my
contributions to GNOME, I don't think this will change anything :-)

However, I can talk about how it changed my contributions in the past
two years. I've probably been hacking a bit less, but it hasn't been a
change as big as I thought it could be. I actually became much more
involved within the project in this timeframe.

Other events in my life have a much bigger impact on my contributions.
For example, the past few months have seen nearly no commits from me
because of the end of my studies.

So what will have an impact will be the job I'll start next year, but I
have no idea of the job, so no idea of the impact.

> [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 not sure it's a good question for a board candidate, since the board
shouldn't be involved in technical discussion, IMHO.

My feeling is that online services should be well-integrated in our
software and it should be easy for developers to do so in their

Also, I'd love to see free (as in libre) services available, and this is
something that is quite new. Luis has had some quite interesting
thoughts on this topic. Here, the Foundation might be able by
contributing to the definition of free services and maybe (blue sky
dream) providing some infrastructure... We're not there yet, though. It
needs work.

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

* Hire a sysadmin that will help maintain the GNOME and the infrastructures. I would have loved to see this done
  before the end of this year, but it's becoming unlikely now.
  This will also probably involve getting some additional funding.

* Find a way to better track what the board is currently dealing with,
  so nothing gets forgotten. I've tried doing this only with mails and
  some notes here and there, but without success. It should be done in a
  much stricter way. I'm starting to believe this should be the (main)
  job of one of the directors (it's a bit different from being a
  secretary, because it implies pinging, pinging, pinging, pinging). I'd
  volunteer to do this. (Note that I've started thinking about it only a
  few weeks ago, so I hope I'll be able to start this before the end of
  this term)

* The previous item will probably make this possible: have in one place
  a list of all the people/events/etc. we helped with sponsoring, and
  also have sponsored people send a quick summary to foundation-list.

* Have 2 or 3 hackfests/meetings for small groups, so they can make good
  progress on a specific topic.

I'm sure there are other things I'd love to do, but they're less
clearly defined.

> [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 ?

Hard question :-)

I honestly have no feeling of having done something extremly cool or
great or whatever. I'm probably good at replying to requests, following
up issues, pushing hard in some directions for some topics, having some
common sense, etc. I didn't track what specific topics I worked on this
year, though.

But really, if you want to know if I was good or not, go and ask other
board members. I'd love them to tell you what they really think of my
work, either publicly or privately. Even in the case where it would turn
out that I've been a disaster, it'll be useful information for you :-)

> [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 ?

It depends on what you mean with "mentor" and "coach". It's of course
important, but it's not about having someone teach something else. It's
more about encouraging people to continue to do what they're doing or to
explore new things. And sometimes, of course, they need to be pushed so
they do a bit more ;-)

I honestly don't think it's the role of the board: it's more the role of
the current leaders. (I must admit I'm not fond of the "leader" term, I
very much prefer the notion of "core contributor")

> [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 ?

I'm bad at visionary thinking, so yes :-)
(and I think everybody running for the board knows that there are
administrative tasks and is ready to do this)

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

Hrm. Again, not sure it's a good question for a board candidate. I mean,
there are many exciting projects being done within or around GNOME right
now, but I don't think this is directly related to the Foundation
(except where the Foundation can help, of course).

I certainly see a trend, and I hope it's true, that some people are
starting to come (or come back) upstream, which should help the
development. This is important to me. Not really possible to know if it
will be the tipping point, but I hope it's going to happen and that it
will help make a difference.

> [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 ?

Right now? Well, for me, it's helping our infrastructure team, and so
hiring someone is the way I want to go. But it's important to me because
I'm working on it, so I'm clearly biased :-)

Delegation is still, after all those years, a hot topic. I'm hoping the
new human-based tracking system can help here, since one difficult thing
with the delegation is that we need to remember what's happening and
make sure it's happening. I've also understood that just proposing a
task on a mailing list doesn't work. Privately asking someone does. So
this is what should be done in the future.

(so no real huge item, and it's quite possible that I'm forgetting

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

The question is a bit vague, because there's not only one "issue" when
it comes to OOXML.

About the GNOME Foundation being part of the OOXML ECMA committee: I've
supported this decision and I still do. If we can have someone asking
for clarifications and maybe even have the ability to improve the
format, it'd be wrong to not do it and just complain about the format.
We want our users to read their files, and some will have OOXML files.
This means I'll want our applications to be able to read such files, and
therefore that a better documentation of the format is good.

About supporting OOXML/ODF as in "is ODF better than OOXML?" (or the
opposite question): I have no technical opinion on this. Most people
arguing for one format over the other don't do this for technical
reasons, though. (I'm not saying "all people", but "most people"). When
it comes down to my non-technical opinion: what's important to me is
open formats. As far as I know, both have an open specification. In the
end I will prefer to use ODF, because it has been developed for the
right reasons. (and that's why I'm happy that the GNOME Foundation is
part of the ODF Alliance)

About ISO standardisation of OOXML: I don't like the fact that there was
a try with the fast-track process. But the issue, to me, here is not
about OOXML but about how standardisation work. I'm not involved in this
area so I'm not able to say what's broken and what's not and I don't
have time for this. If it really comes down to the "should OOXML become
an ISO standard?" question, I have no hard feeling. Having two standards
for one thing is suboptimal, but it sometimes happens and also it might
be something we want in some cases because the first standard was just
completely bad or patented or whatever.

(sadly, when I read about this topic on the internet, I often see people
being against OOXML only because it comes from MS, which is really not a
good enough reason to me)

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

To make the life of the community easier so that it mostly doesn't
have to care about some boring stuff. The Foundation also helps the
community do important things, like events. Or t-shirts! ;-)

To represent GNOME when someone needs to talk to an "official" person.
This might be useful to help collect more funds, or promote GNOME in
places where it wouldn't be possible, etc.

But really, it's mainly about making life of the community easier to me.

If you read all this reply (and I mean, all the words), then really, you
should get a reward. Go grab some ice cream or orange juice!


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