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From: Bastien Nocera <hadess <at> hadess.net>
Subject: Re: Board of Directors Elections 2014 - Candidacy - Emily Gonyer
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.gnome.foundation.general
Date: Wednesday 21st May 2014 09:14:04 UTC (over 3 years ago)
On Tue, 2014-05-20 at 09:30 -0400, Emily Gonyer wrote:
> In regards to paid and unpaid contributors to GNOME, I honestly feel
> that unpaid contributions should be favored. I realize that is
> probably unlikely to occur, but it ought to. Why? Because GNOME is, at
> least in theory, a free software 'project'. As such, it is supposedly
> run, and worked on largely by volunteers.

That's (fortunately) incorrect.

>  Unfortunately of course, we
> all know this is not true. In practice most of the top contributors
> are paid to work on GNOME - as a result, most of their work is
> directed by corporations,

I find that incredibly insulting, especially as it's the second time you
say this. I'm paid to work on GNOME, and like most of my colleagues
working on GNOME, I was a GNOME contributor before being paid to work on
it. Suggesting that we don't have GNOME's best interests at heart is
just hurtful, and incorrect.

>  and their wants/needs and not by the
> thousands of individual users who have different wants/needs. But
> because they are paid to work on it, they have more time to do so and
> rise faster and receive more respect and admiration than those of us
> who do so 'just for fun'. This creates a lopsided portrait of the
> wants/needs of users. And, of course, the corporations who are paying
> for the work don't care what individual users think - why would they?

And you really think that those evil corporations would manage to make
us make changes to GNOME that we think would be detrimental to GNOME as
a project?

Do you want me to assign those remarks to ignorance or malice?

> As a result, users are ignored and the larger free software community
> alienated. This is, IMHO why the GNOME ecosystem has fractured so
> fully over the last couple of years. Where we once had GNOME we now
> have GNOME Shell, Unity, Elementary, Cinnamon and Mate all competing
> for the same handful of users.
> I'm not going to pretend that I know how to fix this problem. I don't.
> But I do know it exists, and that it has been largely, if not
> completely ignored by the majority of GNOME developers and certainly
> by the Board of Directors thus far. Perhaps most striking is the very
> composition of the Board of Directors itself. How many are not paid to
> work on GNOME by an Advisory Board member? Isn't this in some way a
> conflict of interest? Shouldn't the board be independent and not tied
> to corporate interests? Shouldn't the needs of the project come first,
> and not the needs of any individual corporation?
> On Tue, May 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM, Ekaterina Gerasimova
>  wrote:
> > "On 20 May 2014 12:10, Emily Gonyer  wrote:
> >> On Mon, May 19, 2014 at 11:04 AM, Ekaterina Gerasimova
> >>  wrote:
> >>> Hi Emily,
> >>>
> >>> On 17 May 2014 19:42, Emily Gonyer  wrote:
> >>>> Name: Emily Gonyer
> >>>> Email: [email protected]
> >>>> Affiliation: None
> >>>>
> >>>> Dear Foundation,
> >>>>
> >>>> I'm interested in serving on GNOME's board of directors for the
> >>>> time, in order to help steer GNOME in a more open and community led
> >>>> direction. It is my opinion that GNOME has strode too far towards a
> >>>> corporate-driven project and away from its community-led roots. As
> >>>> now, GNOME is, in my opinion too beholden to a small handful of
> >>>> corporations which forces the project to ignore large swaths of our
> >>>> users in preference to them. The end result being that GNOME has
> >>>> a tremendous portion of its respect and goodwill in the wider free
> >>>> software community. As a member of the GNOME board of directors I
> >>>> actively work against this tide and towards the more open,
> >>>> community-driven project that GNOME once was and I hope will be
> >>>
> >>> I understand your concerns with regards to corporate involvement in
> >>> the project direction.
> >>>
> >>> Based on the available financial information, the corporate
> >>> sponsorship enables the Foundation to employ an executive director
> >>> an administrative assistant. Without this sponsorship, much of the
> >>> administrative work would need to be taken over by the Foundation
> >>> membership and the current board is already facing the challenges
> >>> resulting from having only one employee at this time.
> >>>
> >>> How do you aim to achieve your goals without alienating the companies
> >>> that enable the Foundation to have employees to do the administrative
> >>> work and offer financial support to our membership?
> >>>
> >>> GNOME is Free software, with a broad base of unpaid and paid
> >>> contributors. It seems that you wish to change the proportions of
> >>> GNOME contributors from the two backgrounds, how do you aim to
> >>> this?
> >>
> >> I think we need to take a good, hard look at what we're spending money
> >> on and evaluate what is truly needed vs wanted. Once we figure out how
> >> much money we need to be spending, we can evaluate our current funds,
> >> where they are coming from and how to raise more.
> >
> > This information is publicly available for up to the end of 2013 at
> > https://wiki.gnome.org/Foundation/FinancialSummary
. What conclusions
> > have you drawn from it?
> >
> >> Donating to GNOME as an individual is not as easy as it could, indeed
> >> should, be. We don't currently have a specific 'campaign' going on,
> >> and as a result, a cursory glance at the website reveals no obvious
> >> way to donate to GNOME's general fund (as far as I can tell the only
> >> way to do so is to find the tiny 'Support GNOME' link at the very
> >> bottom of the page). Additionally, I still don't understand why the
> >> only way to donate to GNOME is through PayPal. Why don't we allow
> >> people to donate via google or amazon? Why not accept bitcoins? Why
> >> not encourage people to support GNOME via AmazonSmile and similar
> >> programs?
> >
> > There is a big link in the middle of www.gnome.org which says "Make a
> > donation and become a Friend of GNOME!". That offers PayPal as a
> > primary option, with check (USD), wire (to a USD account) and Bitcoin
> > via a third party on a secondary page. The board is working on being
> > able to receive donations by bank transfer to a EUR account as well.
> >
> > The board has been advised by our accounting contacts and lawyers that
> > we should not take Bitcoin directly because it will greatly increase
> > the likelyhood of GNOME being audited by the IRS, which is likely to
> > lead to the Foundation losing the not-for-profit status temporarily,
> > to incur accounting costs of over USD 10000 in that year (which is
> > considerably more than current costs) and eat into the board's and
> > employees' time. Based on current personal donation trends, it is
> > extremely unlikely that the Foundation will receive anywhere close to
> > USD 10000 in Bitcoin donations.
> >
> > Every additional donation method does incur an additional accounting
> >
> > Regardless, any individual is more than welcome to send in a proposal
> > to the board with details of a new payment method which the board
> > would be more than happy to review. In fact, it would be great if such
> > initiatives were taken up by members who are not on the board as this
> > will help ease the board's workload. The pages with information on
> > donating are editable by a number of Foundation members, so the
> > additional payment methods can also be added by whoever proposed them,
> > once they have been approved.
> >
> >> These are just the first handful of ideas for alternative, and largely
> >> untapped funding options that occur to me at first glance. I'm sure
> >> there are myriad other funding options which we have not investigated
> >> fully, and which do not include asking for corporate sponsorship.
> >
> > Personal donations make up a relatively small portion of the
> > Foundation's income compared to corporate sponsorship. What other
> > funding options do you think can be tapped which will bring in an
> > income on a par with what the corporate sponsorship currently brings
> > in?
> >
> >> Finally, I believe the board needs to be far more transparent than it
> >> has been of late as to its activities & finances. The board in the
> >> past has been resistant to allowing non-board members to 'sit in' on
> >> meetings - even as a means for Engagement team members to take notes
> >> and report minutes. As I understand it, the board represents and works
> >> on behalf of the membership and their meetings ought to be public.
> >
> > The board discusses sensitive issues at almost every meeting, such as
> > Foundation members' personal details, time-sensitive announcements and
> > negotiations with potential sponsors. These are all recorded in
> > private board minutes, in an abridged state (same as with public board
> > minutes), which are available to all future board members so that they
> > are not "lost".
> >
> > The secretary, whose duty it is to record and publish minutes, does
> > not have to be a board member but it is expected that they are to be
> > discreet in doing their duty.
> >
> > The board does work on behalf of the membership, which is why the
> > membership is always more than welcome to request agenda items and
> > concerns to be discussed at meetings.
> >
> > I think that your concern about transparency is valid, which is why I
> > put in a fair bit of effort into trying to make sure that minutes are
> > published at more appropriate times and I am proposing that the
> > financial status of the Foundation should be made public on a regular
> > basis. Are there any other steps, short of making the board meetings
> > public, which you think should be investigated?
> >
> > I would still be interested to know your thoughts on paid and unpaid
> > contributors to GNOME.
> >
> >> Emily Gonyer
> >>
> >>>
> >>>> I have been a long time user of GNOME since the 1.x days, and an
> >>>> active contributor for the last 2+ years, primarily in
> >>>> Marketing/Engagement with limited development and design
> >>>> contributions. I actively promote free
> >>>> software whenever and wherever I can, and feel strongly that it is
> >>>> only through free software that we will be able to keep the freedoms
> >>>> that we all cherish both online and off. Those freedoms are being
> >>>> actively obstructed and eroded by corporations and governments
> >>>> the world. As a member of the board of directors I will actively
> >>>> against these forces, in order to ensure a free and open internet
> >>>> everyone.
> >>>>
> >>>> Good luck to all!
> >>>>
> >>>> --
> >>>> Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has
> >>>> power and magic in it. -  Goethe
> >>>>
> >>>> Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't
> >>>> matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr.Seuss
> >>>>
> >>>> Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that
> >>>> counts can be counted. - Albert Einstein
> >>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>> foundation-announce mailing list
> >>>> [email protected]
> >>>> https://mail.gnome.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-announce
> >>> _______________________________________________
> >>> foundation-list mailing list
> >>> [email protected]
> >>> https://mail.gnome.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-list
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius,
> >> power and magic in it. -  Goethe
> >>
> >> Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't
> >> matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr.Seuss
> >>
> >> Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that
> >> counts can be counted. - Albert Einstein
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