Re: A question to candidates

On Thu, 2007-11-22 at 18:11 +0100, Dave Neary wrote:
> Hi,
> I did send these to the membership committee, but voting's nearly open,
> and I think they're important, so I guess I'll just ask...
> The foundation's role is essentially to facilitate the enthusiasm of the
> GNOME project, as Andrew Cowie blogged earlier [1]. This consists of two
> major elements - managing/improving the finances that the foundation
> has, and identifying areas where those finances can help remove
> roadblocks or encourage productive contribution.
> After two years without a full-time employee, the foundation's finances
> are in a decent state, with $150K cash and $50K receivables [2].
> What do you see as the best way to spend this money? In terms of hiring,
> do you prefer hiring a sysadmin, or an executive director? What other
> priorities do you have for expenditure this year, outside of our usual
> cost centers (GUADEC + salaries + travel sponsorship)?

This money should be used for micro meeting of not just GNOME specific
events but also industry wide events such as the upcoming Desktop
Plumbers meeting or KDE/GNOME face to faces.  Many of these events sets
the tone for uptake of base infrastructure which are key to the building
blocks of GNOME.  In many cases we can get funding from the organizers
themselves for a few key people but having a larger presence makes these
meeting more productive.

It also should be used to foster conferences in areas such Asia both by
direct funding and by funding leaders within those communities to travel
to conferences such as Linux World, GUADEC and the Boston Summit so that
they can learn how to run their own events.

As for hiring I think we need an executive director first to get our
ship in order.  Then we can think about using or securing funding for
other full time jobs we may need doing.

The last thing I would say the funding could be used for is spicing up
the GNOME booths at trade shows.  We did an excellent job of getting the
event boxes together thanks to some leaders within our community.  Still
our booths are usually bare of the simple but detailed touches which
would make our booth more approachable.  Logo'ed table cloths go a long
way.  Bringing back the swag initiative would also be important here.
It could be a loss leader at first but selling stylish t-shirts and
plush mascots could also bring in more funding as well as provide
decoration for the booth.

> A second question to all candidates: what do you see as the weak points
> of the current board, and how do you propose addressing those weak points?

Well one week point is the board seems almost foreign to the every day
GNOME contributor.  People vote and pretty much forget about the inner
workings until Slashdot gets a hold on some sensationalized story and a
press release is put out and still to the outside world the role of the
foundation is unclear.  It is hard to figure out weak points because it
is hard to see exactly what the foundation does.  I would fix this by
communicating any decision, from the mundane to the sensational, in an
easy to digest format on my blog.  Meeting minutes and press releases
are just not enough.  Active engagement of the community is a must.

One other weak point was the organization of the Boston Summit this
year.  While it was salvaged at the last minute it was done in a less
than ideal way.  The next board will have to make sure this years Boston
Summit is no less than amazing so that it doesn't die out as a result of
dissatisfaction.  If elected to the board I would like to take on that
role.  Even if not elected I am an available Boston resident and would
be more than happy to help out.
John (J5) Palmieri <johnp redhat com>

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