Re: Questions for the candidates


(just want to start by thanking the membership & elections committee for
the organization of the elections! Make sure to hug them when you meet

Apologies for the length of some answers ;-) And more apologies for
sending this late (it was stuck in my drafts folder for way too long)

Le vendredi 29 mai 2009, à 18:17 +0100, Susana Pereira a écrit :
>  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 ?

This is so a hard question because it's hard to remember what I did as a
board member ;-) (not because I didn't do anything, nor because I did
sooooo many things -- simply because I don't remember everything)

I think helping some hackfests happen is probably one of the best
things. I'm also happy about some background work that was done around
the GNOME infrastructure, although I'm not sure I should get credited
for this.

>  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 ?

(not a new candidate)

>  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?

The most difficult thing would probably be that it will drain my energy
at some times. Ice cream can help, I heard. (or being less active for a
few days)

>  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 been on the Foundation Board since 2006, and I would think it's my
main experience here. But I've also chaired some teams in GNOME
(membership committee and release team, mainly).

Not quite sure what to reply here: it's a bit like the first question,
where I don't remember a specific example. However, I believe I can be a
good board member because I'm full of love for our project and I'm
dedicated to it. Also because it seems some friends of mine think I'm
doing a good job there (but then, maybe they don't want to hurt me :-))

(The "What single change..." question sounds like question 5 below,
so not replying here)

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

Change agent? Hrm. Honestly, it's hard to say what I can contribute as a
change agent since I've been in the board in the past few years and I
don't plan any big focus change in what I'd do.

(not saying things have been perfect -- changes should certainly happen,
but I'd find it weird to start playing that role only now, for the
elections and not earlier)

>  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 think I used to think "yes". And I'm now not so sure. I mean, there
are things that might make sense (in the way we spend our money, like
for travel sponsorship, as Germán mentions) and things that we already
do (like address, blog on, and possibly
various other things)

But on the other hand... I saw some people apply for membership only
because they wanted a address, and not because they care about
the Foundation. And this makes me a bit sad (not blaming the people,
though: I can understand why you'd want to have a address
after contributing for 5 years...).

Going back to the travel sponsorship example: I'd very much prefer to
have the best-qualified person for a specific topic getting sponsored
even if he's not a member, than a "random" member. Because in the end,
it's better for the project that this best-qualified person goes to the

Being a member of the Foundation is about wanting to be part of an
organization that helps the GNOME project achieve its goals, and in some
way, it's about publicly showing your love for the project. Or something
like this ;-) It's not about expecting to receive something. And we
don't require anything in exchange: membership is free, you only have to
fill a form with details once, and then quickly fill it every two years.

So, in general, I would reply no. But there are cases where the
membership is a criteria that helps decide if people can access some
resources because we need a criteria for this and we have no other
objective criteria (eg, to have a blog on And there
might be cases where we can offer things to members which just make
sense for members (eg, some automatically generated PDF for GNOME
business cards, if anybody feels like working on something like this).

>  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?

The board is not about technical stuff. That being said, the board can:

 + discuss with companies and put the right people from companies in
   contact with the right people from the community, and vice-versa.

 + provide resources to organize events around relevant topics (eg,
   hackfests on some part of the platform/desktop, like the GTK+
   hackfest and UI hackfest)
   Or more generally, provide resources for what the community wants.

 + do its best to keep Stormy ;-)

A good part of the non-technical work is about marketing and
documentation, though. And this is in no way board-specific; anybody
can lead an effort there. New content on the new website is a good place
to start, for example.

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

Never enough ;-) The GNOME Foundation itself is actually never
represented, I guess, since it's always about the GNOME project
(although someone, probably Andreas, wanted to work on some Friends of
GNOME flyer to give away)

This topic is mostly about local communities and enabling them to do
what they want. Currently, the board has event boxes (in Europe and
North America) which have changed things quite a lot -- at least, from
what I can see in France. There's also a budget for local communities,
and a budget to sponsor travel for people wanting to go to an event.

It's up to the local communities to decide what to do, but we can
certainly help with ideas (stickers are cheap and are really loved, eg),
or some materials (see

Tracking events and making sure we have a booth and people talking at
each important event would be great, but this requires significant work
from a few people and is generally best done at the local level (we try
to do this for GNOME-FR: see

Also, I'm really proud of a specific example: the Foundation sponsored
the GNOME presence at FOSDEM in 2008. T-shirts were printed and sold.
And in 2009, thanks to the money that was earned via selling t-shirts
the previous year, the Foundation didn't have to sponsor anything. Same
thing will happen in 2010. So the Foundation just helped bootstrap
something with some money, and this will last for quite some time

In the end, having representation at events heavily depends on
volunteers. It's a hard work, with not that much reward except receiving
some love from visitors and from other people who know how hard it is.

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

(communities? I would have said community, or maybe I'm misunderstanding
the question)

In no specific order:

1) Get more people involved in the community itself (in all areas of the
2) Get better at promoting GNOME and GNOME apps.
3) Keep our spirit: while we're doing technical stuff, most people here
   are friends. Love does mean something to us.
4) Avoid stagnation and embrace innovation: this is some GNOME 3 stuff,
   this is integration with web services, this is many things.
5) (not sure about a fifth item, so writing something which I can't
    formulate well right now) Be a bridge between various organizations.
    Eg, between distributions, where we can help make the whole free OS
    world move forward. Or between companies, where collaboration is not
    something that happens by default, while it can benefit all players.



Les gens heureux ne sont pas pressés.

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