Re: Questions for candidates

On Wed, May 27, 2015 at 10:27:28AM -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
Thinking about your answer, and a couple of others, I realize that I
didn't phrase my question clearly.

You've made several _technical_ suggestions for how GNOME can be more
useful and thus do more to enhance GNU/Linux and the free world.  They
are interesting ideas, and could make GNOME a better piece of free
software.  However, the foundation board doesn't make technical
decisions, and the foundation couldn't implement ideas of this kind.

The first of the two items I mentioned was as much an issue of policy as
technology, and the second was a high-level direction.  The board does
not make technical decisions, but the board and the foundation can offer
general, non-binding guidance, as well as encourage development in
specific areas or towards specific goals by various means (e.g. targeted
hackathons, user studies, hardware availability).

Nonetheless, I understand the distinction you're making.

Thus, what I really should ask the candidates is this.

How do you suggest the GNOME Foundation could contribute more to
advance the cause of free software and users' freedom, over and above
what GNOME contributes by being useful free software?

A few possibilities, more tailored towards what the Foundation could do
rather than what GNOME software could do:

- More direct partnership with organizations creating software that is
  commonly used with GNOME and built on GNOME technologies; not just
  between community members in each community, but taking advantage of
  the GNOME Foundation's organizational status to establish higher-level
  contacts with people setting direction for those organizations.  For
  instance, the GNOME Foundation should have some relationship with
  Mozilla around Firefox and its use of GTK and GNOME technologies on
  Linux, and with the LibreOffice project.  We should use such
  relationships for two purposes: to ensure that those projects
  integrate with GNOME as well as any "native" GNOME application, and to
  attempt to get projects commonly used with GNOME to maintain policies
  that align with the cause of Free Software.

- More direct partnership and promotion with those working to bring Free
  Software to many more users, such as Endless.  (*Not* suggesting a
  monetary partnership here.)

- The GNOME Foundation, as an organization, could take a position on
  more issues related to Free Software.  GNOME has issued position
  statements before (such as;
  we could also work with other activism-centric organizations like the
  EFF, and ensure that we have processes in place to quickly determine
  which causes we'd want to sign on for.

- I would suggest that the GNOME Foundation should take a position on
  the responsible hosting of Free Software.  SourceForge has started
  demonstrating an utter lack of responsibility, bundling malware with
  installers for Free Software, including GNOME projects like the GIMP.
  I'm currently thinking of writing up a "Hosting Free Software
  Responsibly" statement for projects, organizations (FSF, GNOME, etc),
  and hosting sites to sign on to.

- Josh Triplett

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