Re: Questions for candidates


>  1 How do you manage your time and that of others? 
>    (murrayc)

I have recently moved to New Zealand, working remotely for Sun. It's
been a nice change of pace so far, and I'm enjoying working at home.
With being at home, I feel that I have a little bit more freedom on how
I plan the day - and in particular how I balance the work I do for Sun,
and the work I do for GNOME. 

This has been pretty effective so far having had time to work on putting
the new online, working with the guys in Norway to
host GUADEC in 2004, and concentrating on weeding out some of the old
content on

>From the perspective of managing other people's time, I guess I can say
that taking bi-weekly board calls at 4:30am is teaching me to be more
aggressive at meetings, trying to push the call along, keep to an agenda
and have a more effective meeting. It feels like a waste of my time, as
well as others if that doesn't happen. Fortunately Nat does an awesome
role model job at this, so there is not much to do ;)

>  2 How are you going to treat your current Gnome work once you become 
>    a foundation board member? Will it suffer?
>    (towk)

I haven't been hugely active in the GNOME community recently apart from
my duties at board level. For the past 6 months or so, I've been hugely
busy working on the Java Desktop System [1] for Sun, and as such my
activity has waned, from a development point of view.

I did think I achieved some pretty major goals this year, despite this -
from organizing GUADEC in Dublin this year, to more recently getting the
updated website on-line. I'm currently working on
trying to get more of the website infrastructure on-line. Again, this is
something I could not achieve without the help of others like Curtis,
Alexander and Jeff, which very much emphasizes the importance of a

For the most part though, I'm not a heavily productive hacker. I enjoy
coding but I think I can offer more at a board level.

>  3 Which parts of the Gnome project do you think work well and would 
>    like to encourage further?
>    (charlieg)

>From a developer point of view, Havoc's initiative is
really beginning to rock, and I hope that it will be an excellent
potential resource to encourage people to develop on GNOME. I'm also
particularly excited by the recent website work and I hope that the
momentum keeps up for that, as there's plenty to do.

>From a user point of view, I think we're starting to get all the pieces
together - we have a set of awesome release notes, an excellent news
site with, a feature-full desktop that is getting
translated into more and more languages everyday and a rapidly growing
user base. I really believe that we're on the verge of something

What I'd particularly like to see is the board really living up to their
potential. I know this is probably a difficult thing for many people to
fathom, since we're not very public at times. Last year we had a really
rocking set of people, and were only starting to create a good synergy
toward the end. I very much hope this continues into next year.

>  4 The GNOME team has been working on several features to promote use of 
>    GNOME in small and medium business environments, which will potentially 
>    deliver GNOME many users. What are you going to do to promote the use of 
>    GNOME within these environments?
>    (Theo)

I guess some of the others are probably more qualified to answer this
question, but from a purely corporate point of view, Sun, Ximian, Red
Hat have been very successful at getting their GNOME products deployed
in many of these environments. We also hope to leverage the experience
and contacts of the Foundation Advisory board more than we have in the

At a community level, I think we're all very aware that the tide is
turning, and that we need to be involved and try and influence these
decisions. At this very moment, our director Tim Ney is down in South
America talking to government officials and attending conferences
raising the awareness of GNOME and free software. There are plans to
resurrect the GNOME press kit [2] and get some momentum around our
current marketing process.

So, from both a corporate and a community level, we're all working as a

>  5 What do you see as current threats to the future of a complete Free 
>    Software desktop? And what would you like the GNOME Foundation to be 
>    doing to address these issues?
>    (coriodan)

In short, difficult problems. I think everyone's fairly confident that
GNOME can make it as a viable alternative desktop environment, but
unless we solve these difficult problems adoption of GNOME is going to
be slow. 

For example, how many of us take for granted plugging in a camera or a
memory stick into a Windows or MacOSX box and everything just work out
of the box? How many people actually care about patented
multimedia codecs? How many people just want something that 'Just
Works'? These are the problems that are traditionally hard to solve, the
problems that take lots of time, lots of energy and, most importantly,
lots of communication. 

Fortunately communication and energy are 2 pretty essential
characteristics of Free Software, that I believe the GNOME project is
consistently getting better at. I'd like to see the GNOME Foundation
Board being a resource for contacting various groups, sitting them down
and providing any resources they need for solving these problems. But do
we have the time? I think so.

>  6 What ideas, if any, do you have regarding GNOME and the rest of the 
>    world (as in not USA and other "central" countries) ?
>    (mariano)

GNOME has huge potential right around the world, especially in some of
the developing countries. It's pretty clear that GNOME has all the right
ingredients for success. But we're not yet there, and I think advocation
of GNOME is definitely part of the board's agenda, now more than ever.
We've positioned ourselves to be more vocal than ever, and now we have
the software to back that up. We need to tap into the local groups a lot
more, get more organized at software conferences, generate more press
releases, and perhaps most importantly, work on a concrete set of varied
case studies.

>  7 What is your commitment to transparency and open books? Given this 
>    commitment what steps will you take over the next year to realize 
>    your vision?
>    (acuster)

Yes, this is going to happen. From my perspective when I joined the
board last year, the accounts seemed in a bit of a mess. Tim and
Jonathan have done a great job putting things back together. The board
definitely wants to be more transparent - we just have to find the right
balance. Obviously from time to time, the board receives confidential
information from, for example, one of our advisory board members. 

We have some ideas of how to improve the overall level of communication
and I guess this is a case of 'watch this space'. Obviously, if any of
the foundation members have any ideas, they should be sent to
board-list gnome org 

>  8 What would you do to increase community participation in the GNOME 
>    community and GNOME elections?
>    (g2devi)

This is a pretty apt question, since we only have 13 candidates in the
GNOME elections this year. Unfortunately, the GNOME Foundation Board is
not a glamour job - it involves hard work and a lot of time. Unlike some
other roles in the community, you don't get a lot of thanks since quite
a lot happens behind the scenes. I hope people don't feel intimidated by
the people running for the board - we need new contributors as much as
old ones, and experience really isn't a requirement as opposed to energy
and enthusiasm.

I think community participation is pretty good right now, and definitely
ramping up in some pretty key areas. I still see the tireless enthusiasm
on the mailing lists and on IRC. The contributors that we have are
really 'geling' with each other, and I do feel that's pretty essential.
With well over 300 foundation members, and receiving new applications
regularly, I don't think we're in a bad state, although I would be the
first to say 'We need more people working on GNOME'. Who doesn't?

>  9 Do you have any thoughts on how to expand the developer base?
>    (voz)

This one seems like a no-brainer. The developer base will expand if we
have something exciting to target. I think we do, and it's getting
better each day. A long time ago, we didn't care much for ABI and API
compatibility and that hurt. With the User Interface and Documentation
Style Guides we are getting closer to that consistent interface that
developers want to target. Yeah, maybe we should have C#, C++, Python,
or Java in our platform - that might allow us to reach a much great
proportion of developers, but I don't really see that as a board

> 10 [Long introduction I hesitate to summarise, but I believe the gist
>    of the question to be] how do you propose to fix the lack of apparent 
>    structure or direction which causes a loss of momentum?
>    (anonymous)

Who's not having fun on GNOME? If you don't like it, then maybe it's not
for you? GNOME isn't for everyone, and believe me, I've encountered many
people at Sun who didn't feel comfortable in this type of environment.

Sure, GNOME is a big commitment - Just look at Jeff, and he came out the
other side smiling and still going strong. Getting started in GNOME
isn't an easy thing, and it's certainly one of the things I'd like to
work on - but fundamentally this is a problem that everyone should be
concerned about, not just the 13 candidates in this election. But this
is Free Software, and this project cannot survive unless people share
information, so it's just as much your responsibility to write documents
as anyone else. Our platform and desktop modules are evolving, our ideas
are expanding...but there is only so much time in the day.

Jeff came up with the following line in the GNOME 2.2 release
announcement -

	" Where we're going, we don't need roads ... "

On reflection that seems to suggest we're randomly running around in
circles, repeating errors that we've made in the past...but then I look
at where we are today - 

  o GNOME 2.4 is out the door, and we're working on our next feature
  o We have 80,000 GNOME desktops in Extramadura and many, many similar
    success stories right around the world. 
  o We finally got the new websites online and currently working on
    refreshing the content. 
  o We now have build scripts like jhbuild, GARNOME and CVSGNOME to make
    building even easier. 
  o We had the most successful GUADEC so far in Dublin [3] attracting a
    large number of government officials and people who are likely to be
    signing off on whether to continue their license with Microsoft, or
    look to something new with GNOME.

This looks like momentum to me, and I'm hugely excited with GNOME's
future. We have something special here, but it might need a closer look
to realise that.


[3] Okay, I would say that, I organized it ;)

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