On Thu, 31 Mar 2011, William L. Thomson Jr. wrote:
> On Thu, 2011-03-31 at 07:13 -0400, Rich Freeman wrote:
>> On Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 7:11 PM, William L. Thomson Jr.
I've kept out of this thread up until now with the hopes it would die, but
that seems increasingly unlikely. Thus as a member of the foundation,
someone that was around back in 2008 and that did bother to follow the
discussions back then and finally as one of the people that actually run
the 2008 election, I have a few comments.
>> You're pointing out that the bylaws don't explicitly grant the
>> trustees the power to appoint themselves as officers.
>> The trustees are pointing out that the bylaws don't explicitly forbid
>> the trustees the power to appoint themselves as officers.
>> Both are true.
> Again I did not go far enough when helping to author the current bylaws.
> I had specific intention which people are discarding, and interpreting
> in ways other than I had intended. I hope that makes more sense now.
The bylaws approved in 2008 were subject to a public discussion in the
mailing list. Even though I wasn't a trustee and don't have any "inside
information" about the discussion within the team, I did talk about them
with other trustees. Whether William "lead" that discussion within
Trustees is something only the other members can answer, but even though
he was very vocal in the public, we was not the only Trustee involved on
the discussion and the approved bylaws are not what he initially pushed
for. Some members of the community, me included, did participate in the
discussion and expressed their views about the bylaws.
A "legal" system may take into account the "desire" or "purpose" of a
legislator when a particular piece of legislation was approved, but first
and foremost it tries to pursue the compliance with the approved text
(written text). Furthermore, when taking into account the "desire" or
"purpose" of the legislator, it will look at the global discussion and the
several alternatives submitted for discussion, it won't rely simply in the
will or word of one of the legislators.
So you may disagree with the interpretation of the bylaws of the current
trustees, you may even argue that it goes against what you were trying to
do, but that doesn't mean they've necessarily diverged from the global
intent at the time the bylaws were approved. Nor does it mean you
(individual, former trustee) have any special authority to "judge" the
>>> You keep saying you are fine with 5 trustees. There is nothing imposing
>>> that limit, and the number should be much higher. Even with elections
>>> not much point, unless more are running than open seats. Which since
>>> there can be up to 21 trustees. There is plenty of open seats.
>> I think we need to have some balance here. In the past we've had
>> difficulty filling all the trustee slots as it is. In fact, last year
>> we didn't even have an election.
> Yes, and there was not elections for a few years prior to 2008. Till I
> greased the wheels and got them spinning. Not that I am anything special
> or wonderful, just saw nothing happening, so made something happen good
> or bad :)
>> Having more seats would increase the labor pool a little, but could
>> lead to issues if we can't fill them all in future elections.
> The amount of trustees can fluctuate, nothing wrong with that. It does
> not have to be a fixed number, or the same year after year.
>> Also, not having an election basically makes the trustees a list of anybody
>> who volunteered for the job, and doesn't give the foundation
>> membership a real chance to vet them via election.
> I am not sure there is much difference to straight up volunteering and
> being elected. In all honesty most people care little about the
> foundation. I really doubt they spend much time thinking about the roles
> people will play as trustees and elect them based on such.
(the following snippet was pulled out of order and after the above so I
can address both at the same time)
>> I'm not for brushing problems under the rug either, but leadership in
>> a volunteer organization is less about delegation and more about
>> inspiration. Sure, you need to use the resources you do have, but you
>> have to exercise care about how you do it.
> I agree, and I don't see the current state of things to be
> inspirational. I had no involvement in there not being elections in
> 2010, or when ever. Clearly the foundation loses steam on a recurring
> basis :)
About having 5 trustees, that's a number that members seem comfortable
with and that no one up until now has contested (trustes and foundation
About having more, I still recall us having 13 members was seen on 2007 /
2008 as one of the reasons things got where they did back then. So, even
though having more members could, in theory, help, we should be careful to
ensure that we don't get again to a point where no one knows what's going
on or thinks another member is working on an issue, when no one is.
Back in 2007 / 2008 you did some noise that lead to increased attention to
the Foundation and that lead the Board of Trustees to finally call for an
However, you had no role whatsoever in the running of the election and
in making sure members could vote, tallying the votes and publishing
To clear any doubts that your comments about later elections may have
cast, for those that didn't or don't follow the mailing lists, the reason
we didn't have a "voting" for the 2010 election was that the number of
candidates was the same as the number of open seats.
I, as a foundation member, am very happy with the job done by the current
trustees. I don't consider everything is perfect, but by paying attention
to the meetings logs and seeing trustees actions, I'm convinced they are
very much concerned and dedicated to their roles. Could things be better?
Sure, but such is life, even more on a volunteer organization.
>> Just having an election also imposes a very minimal barrier to entry
>> (you have to be at least interested enough to get involved so that
>> people recognize your name).
> That alone could be a problem. There could be experienced senior people
> in Gentoo who are just quite doing their work. They would have a hard
> time being elected, not being well known. After all elections are more
> about popularity than qualifications ;)
>> I don't think anybody disputes that. Every member has an opportunity
>> every other year to get rid of any trustee they dislike. Every member
>> also has an opportunity to volunteer to help out. The trustees are
>> volunteers like everybody else in Gentoo - if you have an itch scratch
>> it! I'd certainly like to see us catch up on tax compliance, but I'm
>> not going to bug the current trustees to death until they quit,
> FYI I was bugged to death, thus I resigned and stepped down. Not to
> mention I realized problems back in 2008 with the treasurer. I could not
> get others to realize such, thus my efforts were futile at the time.
> Thus I am not surprised in the least regarding the present state of
> things :)
>> simply pointing out problems doesn't fix them. It isn't bad to point
>> out problems, but we're not going to fix them by replying to each
>> other's emails endlessly.
> Again I never had any intention of starting a lengthy thread. I really
> just wanted one reply to my first post and thats it.
As a subscriber to this ml I have no doubt about your opinion on the
current state of affairs or the current trustees. Any doubt was cleared
many emails ago.
>> I have mixed feelings about this entire email chain.
> Same here and I some what regret it, but I also regret being silent and
> going away for years. Since that did not make things better.
You're entitled to your opinion, but that doesn't make it the truth.
>> On the other hand, it is really easy to
>> point out that a bunch of people aren't getting a job done that
>> historically nobody ever was able to completely keep up with.
> Not true, we were getting allot done in the first half of 2008, which I
> was in part helping to drive. In fact quite possibly did more then than
> has happened since, and/or prior to then. Just takes someone who wants
> to see things get done ASAP and puts their time where their mouth is,
> just as I did before :)
From this whole thread, I also have no doubt about how great you are and
how everyone else "sucks".
>> I think our trustees have earned their $0 paycheck
> FYI I removed provisions in the bylaws that allowed trustees to pay
> themselves :)
Curiously, you were the one trying to promote a change in the bylaws so
that the Foundation could pay to developers. It took much resistance from
the rest of the community for you to drop that idea.
Jorge Vicetto (jmbsvicetto) - jmbsvicetto at gentoo dot org
Gentoo- forums / Userrel / Devrel / KDE / Elections / RelEng