Mission Statement

The GNOME Foundation will work to further the goal of the GNOME project:
to create a computing platform for use by the general public that is
completely free software.

To achieve this goal, the Foundation will coordinate releases of GNOME
and determine which projects are part of GNOME. The Foundation will act
as an official voice for the GNOME project, providing a means of
communication with the press and with commercial and noncommercial
organizations interested in GNOME software. The foundation may produce
educational materials and documentation to help the public learn about
GNOME software. In addition, it may sponsor GNOME-related technical
conferences, and represent GNOME at relevant conferences sponsored by
others, help create technical standards for the project and promote the
use and development of GNOME software. 


I got the sense during the 'open floor' of the AGM that there were a lot
of people still wanting to ask questions before we were hurried away to
lunch.  In future years I think it might be nice to schedule the AGM
either in a larger slot or in a slot that is more freely able to 'spill
over' for those who are interested in staying.

The question that I would have asked if we had more time was about the
place of OPW within the GNOME project: specifically, that a project like
GNOME should be administering such a large programme in which the
majority of participants are not GNOME contributors.

During Kat's presentation on the finances of the GNOME project it became
clear to me (in a way that it wasn't clear before) the lopsided nature
of OPW's contribution to GNOME's income and expenses.  The fact that we
needed to view the data with the OPW figures removed in order to get any
real sense of the actual meaningful finances of the project was a bit of
an indication of that.

I was disappointed (but not completely surprised) to learn that,
although OPW has expanded to many projects beyond GNOME, GNOME is left
handling all of the money for all participants at all organisations. 
This hasn't only exposed us to substantial financial risks; it has
caused actual financial problems for the project.  This year, GNOME
temporarily ceased funding of hackfests in order to recover from the
cashflow problems caused by the size of OPW.

I discussed the issue further with some other people and was also
surprised to learn about just how much of our time is spent on
administration of the programme.  Sending out cheques to people all over
the world and chasing up invoices from companies is time consuming.  The
fact that GNOME is left doing this work when many of the other
organisations participating in the project have much deeper pockets and
more resources than us strikes me as particularly strange.

I also came to appreciate during conversations at GUADEC the amount of
time which members of the engagement team, the board, and others are
spending fighting against harmful and distracting messaging from various
corners of the net, and how much OPW has become involved in some of the
stranger criticisms being leveled toward us.  It's no secret that OPW is
controversial, even within the project.  I feel at the very least, it is
a distraction from what should be our core goals.

Conversations with several board members (past and present) have left me
with the impression that, taken together, these issues have been
consuming a substantial portion of the time spent during the board
meetings and have almost certainly prevented more focus on other issues.

OPW has become a very large part of what GNOME is doing, both in terms
of money flowing through our accounts and in terms of time and effort
spent.  I feel that it has started to interfere with other functions of
the foundation and the project.  I argue that it is not a core part of
our mission and that, given its growth, there are other people and
organisations who are better positioned to take a leadership role here
than we are.

I think that the time has come to split OPW out from the GNOME

Thanks in advance for all constructive opinions.

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