Re: Questions for the candidates

On Fri, May 29, 2009 at 1:17 PM, Susana Pereira
<susana pereira gmail com> wrote:
>  1. For outgoing board members: what have been the upsides/good things
> from your previous stint at the Board which you would  like to see
> carried forward into this term ?


>  2. If you are a new candidate: what specific SMART
> ( goals would
> you like to put for yourself? Or, in other words, how would you like
> to measure yourself and, let others know how you are doing ?

I've never served on a board or any kind of governing body before, so
my first answer would be "what would people want the goals to be?"

What I expect is that the board will be transparent enough so that it
is obvious to people when I am being effective at my job; as such when
I make a mistake I expect to know it relatively quickly so I can fix

One thing I've noticed from watching councils, boards, and other
governance bodies is that it's obvious who is asking the tough
questions and making things happen and who is just sitting there
waiting for the meeting to end. So I would be looking at things like
how well the person is completing assigned tasks, asking good
questions, and generally driving things forward.

>  3. What part of being a board member do you think will be most
> difficult for you? How do you plan to compensate for that?

Coming from a non-technical background I still find that sometimes
people are arguing about stuff I don't understand. :)

Also, I have blind spots in GNOME that I've never felt a need to get
involved in, like a11y and i18n. It's just never been an area I've
been interested in. However as I have been working for a distribution
for the past 2 years I am finally now understanding how "the big
puzzle" fits together. Part of the reason I chose to run for GNOME
Foundation Board is to learn about all the little bits I am currently
ignorant of.

>  4. Do you have any experience on management teams or boards at
> non-profits? If so, can you give an example of a change you affected
> in that role? If not, what makes you think that you will be a good
> board member? What single change do you want to affect during your
> term?

I've not been involved in a non-profit before.

>  5. What are the specific areas of the Foundation's focus and strategy
> where you think you can contribute as a change agent ?

I don't see myself as a change agent as much as I am an implementation
agent, so I will just answer with what I think.

I would like to see the Foundation be more aggressive with GNOME
consumers like distros and other organizations for participation and
funds. I would like more aggressive campaigning to ISVs, ODMs, OSVs,
etc. on why they want to be part of GNOME and why they want to build
on our platform. I have strong opinions on GNOME as a platform (see

>  6. Do you think we need to make the being a member of the Foundation
> feel more valuable, and how do you think we should do that? What would
> you change about the Foundation to make it more useful to members.

I know a portion of funds go to getting people to GUADEC and Summits.
I think sponsoring summits and sponsorships to GUADEC are critical,
and that's where the focus should be because at the end of the day the
Foundation should be enabling developers to do what they need to do. I
guess the coffee mugs are cool too. :)

>  7. Do you have any plans on how can the board help bring the GNOME
> platform and desktop in the top of opensource desktop and mobile
> application development?

This is a tough question. I am going to rattle a few cages while I answer it. :)

I think GNOME needs to make "the platform" a top priority. One of our
mobile competitors has a infamously closed product that is 2 years old
and already has more applications than the entire Debian archive.
Developers are stumbling over each other to get onto this platform,
and the company is consistently changing the rules as to what is
allowed and what is not, regardless of what developers want. It's the
ultimate closed garden and developers LOVE it.

Here we are with a totally open platform and people aren't necessarily
breaking down the door to get involved. I think this is a shame. I
don't think top of "opensource" desktop and mobile is good enough, it
has to be the top of desktop and mobile period, because we're
competing with the non open thing as well.

Whatever issues we have with the platform we need find it and fix it,
I would start by asking non-GNOME developers why they don't choose to
develop on our platform, and then fix those problems. We hear
third-party developers complaining[1] about problems all the time (and
they have so for years), but are we really making an effort to fix

We need to make people excited about building on GNOME again. When I
hang out with my developer friends over beer none of them are going
"Man I can't wait to go home and hack me some GTK." They're talking
about the web, iphone, and other platforms.

 * We need to communicate with developers outside of the community to
get meaningful feedback about what they need in order to be productive
with the GNOME platform.
 * We need to change the way we think about competition and
acknowledging that being the best open source desktop is not going to
bring freedom to the masses if we aren't providing a user and
developer experience that is comparable to proprietary competitors.
 * We need to step back and ask ourselves "If I was a new CS student
and I wanted to contribute to GNOME what do I need to do?" and go
through the steps people need to go through to learn about the
platform and then fix them. (ie. compare our docs to MSDN for


>  8. Do you think the GNOME Foundation and the GNOME projects get
> enough representation at events? If not, how would you fix that?

Yeah I think so. A better question would be how effective we are at
those events. Are people giving talks, interacting with the crowd,
showcasing GNOME, etc. or are they just sitting behind a booth? Do we
set expectations for volunteers when we send them an event box? etc.

>  9. What, in your view, are the top 5 requirements (from a strategic
> perspective) for the GNOME communities world-wide ?

In no particular order:

 * Transparency. Enough said about this, it's a requirement.
 * Governance. I don't mean in a boring rulebook kind of way, but are
GNOME communities set up to handle things like conflict resolution,
resource handling, etc.
 * Marketing. The word needs to be out there.
 * Culture. I like it how when I meet a new GNOME person I've never
met that we already share many values by default. It should always be
like this.
 * Barrier-breaking. There are people out there wanting to be involved
in GNOME but don't know how or they are shy or they think their ideas
will be ridiculed, etc. etc. The onus is on us to ensure that people
have the opportunity to work on something they care about and be


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