Re: GNOME Travel Committee & Travel Policy: A proposal for consideration and feedback


One other thing, then I'll make my peace.

Bruno Boaventura wrote:
> I'm with Claudio on this issue. Last year I could not go to GUADEC if
> I had to pay 200 € (wait to be reimbursed has been difficult). GUADEC
> should be a special case.

A person who shall rename nameless (unless he wants to pipe up) said to
me when we exchanged emails on this previously: "it's really nonsensical
to me if a longtime maintainer who is speaking at the conference would
have to pay out of his pocket, while someone who barely contributes to
GNOME and mostly is going to GUADEC to have a good time gets sponsored.
 Because that's what I've seen happen a lot in the past."

He also said: "being employed should not be a disadvantage when it comes
to community inclusion".

So, to summarise, students want to come for free, core hackers (even
those working for companies investing in GNOME) want to be considered
for sponsorship if their company won't pay for them to go. Obviously,
invited keynotes will have travel covered.

This is the reason why the foundation, which has a €300K annual budget,
is spending over €150K on its annual conference these days. It's the
reason why we don't offer any travel assistance for the Boston Summit as
a matter of policy (one I disagree with, by the way). It's the reason
why, when raising more than double the money of Akademy last year, we
were left with a smaller surplus to carry over to other activities.

What I want is a reasonable travel policy. One where we fix ourselves
budgets for travel and stick to them. Where we're transparent about
publicising who we sponsor and how much they are sponsored for. Where
the foundation and members of the community who get funding are accountable.

Especially in a period where we're likely to have some trouble raising
money for the next couple of years, I want us to be fiscally
responsible, and also socially responsible to the community. OK -
perhaps the travel guidelines that were proposed aren't perfect, but the
idea, in case everyone missed it, is to delegate travel requests to a
committee, who will apply guidelines from the board, and who will
independently manage a budget, and who will publish the expenditure
reports afterwards. That's a *very* positive change.

I also think that formalising the principle that people participate in
the costs of travel is a positive change, and it's not totally out of
left field - this is the system that KDE has had in place for years, and
is why they fund travel for more people than us, while spending less


(Disclosure: last year I gratefully received €361 for my plane ticket,
at a time when I'd just created my company & wasn't making any money yet)

Dave Neary
GNOME Foundation member
dneary gnome org

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