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To: Roy Bamford <neddyseagoon@g.o>
From: Richard Freeman <rich0@g.o>
Subject: Re: Foundation existence and behavior (Was: Section 4.1 Member Classes)
Date: Sun, 25 May 2008 10:11:13 -0400
Roy Bamford wrote:
> 
> The Foundation needs a set of bylaws *now*, that suit Gentoo as it is 
> *now* but written in such a way that allows for flexibility as Gentoo 
> ch ages.
> 
> The Foundation is set up as a business legal entity because that's the 
> only sort there is. Its behavior is bound by New Mexico law, as 
> interpreted by case law and the bylaws, which we are discussing here, 
> Article by Article. William is quite right when he says there is no 
> such thing as an informal foundation. Try informally filing your 
> personal tax returns. 

Agreed.  I'd really argue for KISS for now - we can always change it later.

> 
> Back to the now.
> The emphasis is very much on the *now*. There is no point in framing 
> bylaws for what Gentoo might become - more than likely, it won't become 
> what we expect today, We will never agree such speculative bylaws 
> anyway. Even if we did, because of what we are today, we could not 
> follow them.
> 
> Its back to the simple here and now, with adaptability.
> 

I agree.

I'm actually not completely opposed to many of the ideas being tossed 
around in this discussion.  But perhaps they should be tried out at 
least informally before they are codified.  Let's focus on getting the 
bylaws to reflect the status quo (well, at least what it should be) - 
and then worry about the grand plan after everything is in place.

If we want to experiment with giving users more of a voice, why don't we 
try creating some forums for this, which don't have any legal power?  We 
can then see how it all works without any commitment to go in a 
particular direction.

I happen to work in a highly regulated industry, and in many cases we 
need to have formally documented processes that we are legally obligated 
to follow - with routine inspections to ensure compliance.  When we want 
to try out something new, we usually try to pilot it in some area that 
isn't too critical or overly regulated, and then if it is successful we 
steadily embrace it across the company.  The last thing we would want to 
do is to formally and legally adopt untested processes and get ourselves 
into a mess where we have to constantly justify not following those 
processes because they don't work out as expected.

I think we should try something similar here.  Let's get the Foundation 
running good and strong in its present scope, and then let's talk about 
how we can improve things steadily.  I think that once we get into an 
environment where things are working successfully there will be a lot 
more trust and goodwill towards taking on more.

And I do want to thank the trustees for the work that goes into all of 
this.  I also recognize that formally being on a board of directors 
comes with a lot of legal risk as well.  Sure, Gentoo can indemnify 
anybody it wants to, but the Gentoo coffers won't go far if a trustee 
gets sued by some company ticked about Gentoo dropping their product 
from portage or whatever.  I also want to point out that while I 
probably disagree with William about a few things I'm probably closer in 
thought to him than might be immediately apparent and I appreciate all 
he is doing here!
-- 
gentoo-nfp@g.o mailing list


References:
Re: Foundation existence and behavior (Was: Section 4.1 Member Classes)
-- Roy Bamford
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Updated Jun 17, 2009

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