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Gmane
From: Emily Gonyer <emilyyrose <at> gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Board of Directors Elections 2014 - Candidacy - Emily Gonyer
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.gnome.foundation.general
Date: Tuesday 20th May 2014 13:30:23 UTC (over 3 years ago)
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. 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, 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?
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 first
>>>> 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 of
>>>> now, GNOME is, in my opinion too beholden to a small handful of large
>>>> corporations which forces the project to ignore large swaths of our
>>>> users in preference to them. The end result being that GNOME has lost
>>>> a tremendous portion of its respect and goodwill in the wider free
>>>> software community. As a member of the GNOME board of directors I will
>>>> actively work against this tide and towards the more open,
>>>> community-driven project that GNOME once was and I hope will be again.
>>>
>>> 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 and
>>> 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 achieve
>>> 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
cost.
>
> 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 around
>>>> the world. As a member of the board of directors I will actively work
>>>> against these forces, in order to ensure a free and open internet for
>>>> everyone.
>>>>
>>>> Good luck to all!
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> 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
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> 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



-- 
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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