Re: A question to candidates


Lucas Rocha wrote:
>> After two years without a full-time employee, the foundation's finances
>> are in a decent state, with $150K cash and $50K receivables [2].


> I think the best way to spend this money in 2008/2009 is:
> - To support (presential) activities that will facilitate contributors
> to move the desktop and platform forward.
> - To support activities that will streghten the local user groups
> around the world.

It's worth noting that this is our money in the bank - the foundation
will have revenue again next year from the advisory board, GUADEC,
perhaps a little merchandising and other fundraising.

In the past, it's been difficult to spend this money for a few reasons -
people tend to not ask, or ask late, for funding, which makes it hard to
budget and give a prompt response to requests, but also because not
having an executive employee, the board tends to be a roadblock.

For example, the board has included in the published budget a grant for
a GTK+ summit, which GTK+ developers have never requested. Perhaps
people expect the board to organise the thing as well as spend the
money? Similarly, there are grants for an ISD meeting, an Accessibility
summit. There are many more of these - but of $18000 budgeted for small
team meetings, we haven't spent any.

We also don't have big capital needs - we don't pay for bandwidth,
hardware or hosting (thanks to the sponsorship of RedHat, Canonical, OSU
OSL, Sun Microsystems, Intel, HP and others who contribute material and
infrastructure). Our travel budget, outside GUADEC, is in the region of
$20,000 per year.

Just pointing out that on current trends, this kind of supporting
activities and funding miniconfs isn't going to happen on its own.

> About the hiring, it really depends. At first sight, I would prefer to
> hire an executive director because it would have more impact on GNOME
> Foundation actions (marketing, business partnerships, conferences,
> etc). However, if we can't find a really good person for the position,
> I would prefer to hire a sysadmin. Of course, one thing doesn't
> necessarely exclude the other.

I no longer believe that the board will be able to find and hire a
satisfactory candidate (at our price point) on its own. I believe the
next board should consider funding a head-hunter to get us pre-interview

> - We could be more pro-active on proposing actions to the community.
> You solve this by proposing actions. :-P I'm planning to propose some
> small developers summits to some maintainers.

Sometimes little things like this are all that's needed - good idea.


Dave Neary
dneary free fr

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