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To: gentoo-nfp@g.o
From: Alistair Bush <ali_bush@g.o>
Subject: Re: Spending money authority
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2008 20:01:39 +1200

Richard Freeman wrote:
> Alistair Bush wrote:
>>
>> And what happens if the Council actions funding that is against the 
>> interests of Gentoo.  Is the Foundation to blindly accept there decision.
>>
> 
> Well, if the two bodies have the same constituency I can't see this 
> being too likely to happen.

Why?  There are plenty of examples within democracies of Governments 
ignoring their constituency when passing law's etc.

> 
> While the foundation can technically exercise a veto on the spending of 
> money, and has other legal powers with regard to the trademark and use 
> of property owned by the foundation, its ability to use this power is 
> limited practically.
> 
> Imagine what would happen if the trustees decided they really didn't 
> like the council's actions and decided to take any kind of serious 
> action as a result.  I'm not talking about not paying $200 for a booth 
> at a conference - I'm talking about calling up a hosting company and 
> reassigning root access on an infrastructure box or something like that, 
> so that policy can be changed and enforced.  That kind of action could 
> potentially lead to a fork - particularly if a majority of devs oppose 
> the action.  It would only work out ok if the devs managed to elect a 
> bunch of dictators to the council and regretted their choices later (but 
> somehow managed to not elect similarly-minded dictators to the trustees).

Except that a fork doesn't limit the foundations powers,  it just 
influences the state of Gentoo after all the developers abandon it.

> Again, as long as both bodies are elected by the same developers I don't 
> think that it is likely that they'll ever be in this kind of opposition. 
>  However, in practice neither body has that great a "veto" power over 
> the other.  Legal ownership of property isn't a big trump card in an 
> open-source linux distro.  It is nice to come up with theoretical 
> scenarios where various groups can override each other, but we're 
> talking about human beings here, and people don't just sit and watch 
> while their democratically-elected leaders are dismantled (in either 
> organization).

Really?  You read the news don't you?  Have learnt some history?  Why do 
you think most governments have Upper and Lower Houses?  There is one 
thing that I want to make clear.  I don't want to overly formalise the 
whole governance structure gentoo, but I also don't want it to be 
ad-hoc.  The one problem I see is that Conventions will never work 
within an open-source org as developers will change them willy nilly to 
prove a point.   Therefore, I believe, we need some simple, easy to 
follow rules.

>  Both groups have the needs of Gentoo at heart, and as a 
> result neither can afford to start a war with the other...

And yet that won't stop a war from happening.  At least if both the 
Foundation and the Council have the right to call elections then the 
power rest firmly with those who vote.  If for instance the Foundation 
were to dismiss the Council against the wishes of the large dev 
community I would expect the community to vote the Council members back 
in and give the Foundation its marching orders.
-- 
gentoo-nfp@g.o mailing list


Replies:
Re: Spending money authority
-- Richard Freeman
References:
Spending money authority
-- William L. Thomson Jr.
Re: Spending money authority
-- Alistair Bush
Re: Spending money authority
-- Richard Freeman
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Updated Jun 17, 2009

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