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How to Tell When an Open Source Foundation Isn't About You - Updated 4Xs
Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 02:04 AM EST

Stephen Walli, now technical director of the Outercurve Foundation, has written a guest post for OStatic, The Rise of Open Source Software Foundations. I guess he thinks Outercurve is one. He explains why Microsoft set up the foundation in the first place, which I have wondered about for quite a while. His article also reminded me that I promised to explain what bothered me so much about the recent OpenSUSE Project meeting on December 15th. We're still working on the Comes v. Microsoft exhibits, but I need to take a break. So here goes. I will use the OpenSUSE Foundation discussion to show you why it's so important, if you are setting up a foundation, to set it up right in the beginning, and why you absolutely must have a lawyer to protect your interests. It's not good if only the corporate entity's guys know what bylaws are and how to set up corporate structures, and the community is relying on them to explain it. Your interests are not identical. Not by a long shot.

Novell has decided to fund and be a "stakeholder" in a new foundation being planned for OpenSUSE, so others can't do it first, essentially, I gather from the discussion, and with the goals of controlling the trademark and deciding where money gets spent. Novell has placed someone on the board of OpenSUSE, Alan Clark. Might this lead you to wonder if Novell is running the show already? Let's see.

Speaking of trademarks, I think it's time to ask why the community does work for free, builds up a brand, and gets no rights in trademarks in open source projects. It's one thing if they are contributing to a proprietary or commercial product. But why do those who labor for an open source project like OpenSUSE get no ownership rights in the trademark? And if you answer that they will by being on the board of the new foundation, I'd ask you to answer this question: who decides who will be on this board? As I will show you, this is the single most important thing to get right when setting up any foundation, according to one lawyer I discussed this with to make sure I was getting this right.

Wikipedia's page on the OpenSUSE Project says it's sponsored by Novell, AMD and IP Exchange, not just Novell, and OpenSUSE's sponsor page confirms those three and adds B1 Systems GmbH as another. Then there's the community of programmers that develop and maintain the project, judging by this OpenSUSE development page, which says "the openSUSE distribution ... consists of around 3500 applications, libraries and utilities. All of them are cared-for by openSUSE Package Maintainers who integrate, polish, update and maintain them. Maintaining packages is the bread and butter development task that is done in the openSUSE project."

So why is the trademark Novell's alone?

It doesn't feel right, does it, when you look at it like that? My point is, there's more than one stakeholder in the OpenSUSE foundation being set up, and you'll see that discussed in the log. Trademarks have economic value, and if the community is helping in building that value, I think it's logical that they should gain a share of ownership rights so as to get some share in that value and some say in what happens with the trademark.

There are foundations that are set up by the community. And there are foundations set up by corporate entities who really run the show. For illustrative purposes, let's focus first on the Outercurve Foundation as an example of a corporate foundation. As described by Walli, the reasons for setting up such a corporate foundation is to address and solve some problems, and the first two on his list inform me of Microsoft's purpose in setting up this foundation in the first place:

Unfortunately, a number of barriers still remain that hinder the development and contribution flow into projects run by corporations.
  • Corporations are often uncomfortable supporting the liability risk of running their own open source project(s).
  • It is sometimes difficult for a project to grow its contributing community because there's a perception that external contributors are giving up their work to a for-profit company regardless of the OSI-approved license associated with the project....

    Open source software foundations solve these problems. A foundation absorbs the liability risk as holder of the software IP while acting as a neutral owner for the software, so competitors in an industry can contribute to the common pool of software without fearing any one player is gaining a competitive advantage.

So now we see the purpose of such a corporate foundation -- to shift legal liability to the foundation and away from the corporate sponsor. That's not bad in itself, in that one key purpose of any corporation is to limit personal liability. Folks have to sue the corporation, and anything the corporation doesn't own can't be touched. So in this instance, you can sue Outercurve Foundation, and whatever money Microsoft gave it or gives it is liable to be touched by claims. But Microsoft itself can't be touched. And you can't get Walli's house.

I don't believe Walli's second bullet point is true as far as neutrality is concerned for corporate foundations, and I'll show you why in this article, but that is something we can understand, that Microsoft might be thinking that a separate foundation, at least supposedly separate from Microsoft, might get more contributions from the community.

I like Stephen Walli personally, but he neglected to inform you that the foundation he is working for, the Outercurve Foundation, is actually the renamed Codeplex Foundation, which is organized by and dominated by Microsoft, Mr. Walli's previous employer and some might consider his real current one, given Microsoft's heavy-handed involvement in the foundation.

Here's the board, the staff and the advisers, the latter including Miguel de Icaza and Monty Widenius. That's the first warning flag, to me. There is one Red Hat person listed with Red Hat given the dominant emphasis, as if Red Hat is supporting Codeplex, but he's an Apache guy and that's why he's there, as Microsoft "invests" in the Apache Foundation.

What can you do, then, so you know if you would be contributing to something that represents corporate interests which may or may not be the same as your own?

First, if you are setting up a foundation with a corporate entity as a partner, get a lawyer. Yes. Your own lawyer. You want a lawyer to write the bylaws and the contribution agreement. If the corporation writes them, using its lawyer, it will tilt their way. You need your own to balance that out.

If instead of setting up a foundation, you are thinking of contributing code, read the contribution agreements to see what you are giving them the right to do with your code. Are they allowed to take it proprietary? If so, is that what you want?

Also, while Walli mentions the Free Software Foundation favorably, along with a reference to the GPL, his foundation does not allow you to contribute GPL code last I checked. Why? I assume it's because it's a foundation designed and really dominated by Microsoft -- it's still set up as a business, not a charitable organization, although that is a stated goal -- and Microsoft folks at the top "disagree with" the GPL. So look for warning signs like that.

Don't be fooled by who from the community signs up with the foundation or think you can rely on them to play fair with you. No matter who the foundation hires or puts on a committee, nothing changes with regard to developers. You have to look out for your own interests. Microsoft has buckets of money. The staff are paid. You are not, so your interests and the corporate and hired interests are not identical, even if they are really nice guys. So keep your guard up, read the bylaws, and notice the licenses that a foundation is using too. If the license allows for taking the code proprietary, as per the Apache License (they call it "keeping your modifications secret", which is allowed by the license), then it's maybe Open Source but not Free Software in the sense that the GPL guarantees. It means there is no guarantee that modifications to the code will remain free. That's why Oracle turns red at the thought of the Apache License on Java, I would imagine.

If you don't care that a corporate entity can take modifications to your code dark, fine, but I think you should. If you are in business, for example, and you are coding away like mad, a larger corporate entity can then take your code, modify some small bits, and then take it proprietary and compete against you, with your own work. And if they are bigger and have more money than you do, they can put you out of business.

Microsoft obviously has a business interest in pushing the Apache License or any BSD license, not the GPL, which requires them to give back. That's not in Microsoft's DNA. If you expect that kind of fairness, watch out. Read the fine print before you contribute.

Next, ask yourself: do the representatives of the foundation speak truthfully? On the Outercurve's FAQ page, it speaks about why Microsoft might be interested in setting up a foundation like this, and look at what it says Microsoft did last July:

As an additional proof point of Microsoft's understanding that they needed to be more involved, at OSCON 2009 in July, Microsoft contributed 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux kernel. The Outercurve Foundation is another step in this evolution.
Excuse me, but Microsoft was forced to make that "contribution" to fix a GPL violation. Here's what really happened.


That kind of "smoothness" is exactly what you should look out for. The community is not smooth, so you will have to put on a new kind of awareness when dealing with this kind of speech.

Here's one example of how the Outercurve Foundation benefits Microsoft, by the way, in case you wonder what Microsoft gets out of this. If, like me, you are positive it isn't enlightenment on the road to Damascus, notice that they shift the legal liability to the foundation, as Walli explained, and get the benefit from others writing code they can use for free, while making money in the end from the projects that develop, because of the terms of the permitted licenses. Microsoft is heavily invested in elearning, as you likely know.

The OpenSUSE Project Meeting:

Now, a word about OpenSUSE's proposed foundation. Here's the log again of the last board meeting of OpenSUSE guys on December 15th. Here's where OpenSUSE News describes the meeting. Read them both carefully. Do they match? I don't think so either. And let me show you some warning flags that indicate to me that Novell plans to dominate this new foundation. In fact, as I read the log, it already is. It can, because the community stakeholders don't have legal representation, and Novell does.

I have marked in red the warning flags I notice, and I've inserted some comments in blue where I try to explain my worries. The meeting begins with introducing the new chairman of the board, Alan Clark. This is his first board meeting since being appointed. After introducing him and letting him present his goals for the project, OpenSUSE News describes how certain concerns were addressed:

Several board members expressed a desire to develop a more open and transparent process in communicating the development of the openSUSE Foundation than what currently exists. Some believe there has been a disconnect in how we become aware of what everyone is doing and keeping the momentum of the process going forward, as well as ensuring that all those with a vested interest are able to participate in the process.

We all agreed that we must begin to identify who are the stakeholders and take steps immediately to open up the process. To that end, a new open mailing list will be created and Alan will create a wiki page where we will collect all the relevant information for the foundation creation. Relevant points and concerns of the stakeholders will be listed and the progress of the creation will be documented.

That's exactly what a lawyer can do for you. Instead, as you will see, the Novell-appointed board member takes over the task of getting Novell's lawyers to write some bylaws. The bylaws are where control of the foundation resides. That's where you set out how board members are chosen, and how they can be replaced. Nothing is as important as that.

I don't know the people involved here, by the way, so this isn't personal. It's not an attack as I'm sure everyone is perfectly nice as individuals; my purpose is to attempt to use something in the news to explain to you some things about foundations I think you need to understand now that they are proliferating.

[ Update: Some further background on Clark:

I am not sure if Novel is still a member in the W3C. It appears not from this member list.]

Update 2: I heard from Stephen Walli, and he said I could share it with you, so here it is:

Hi Pamela:

Very best wishes for the New Year. I understand and agree with your concerns about the OpenSuSE Foundation. I believe Paula Hunter (Outercurve Foundation executive director) has commented on the renaming of the Codeplex Foundation to Outercurve, the fact we would happily accept a GPL project, and that we've worked with Andy to update the Foundation's by-laws. I wanted to add to Paula's points with respect to the Outercurve Foundation.

* The Foundation acts as a liability firewall. Microsoft claims it takes a US$100M of inbound litigation a year. They have an incredibly conservative legal department but the liability problem isn't only a Microsoft liability problem. Microsoft at least has software savvy lawyers to handle such problems. I've seen the liability problem be a barrier for non-software corporations when their employees want to create collaborative projects with open source licenses. I believe we're going to see lots of new FOSS licensed projects coming from the corporate non-software world and I want to make sure the Foundation does the best job possible to encourage and enable those projects.

* The Foundation acts as a neutral owner of the software property. I've seen this neutrality be important in both the mobile and movie-making industry, well beyond Microsoft. Again, I want to make sure the Foundation does the best job possible to encourage and enable those projects. I completely agree with your concerns about corporations controlling contributors work. That's why the Foundation acts as a neutral place. We're a separate non-profit. Microsoft doesn't control the projects. There are non-Microsoft projects. (I think your criticism of the new ConferenceXP project unfair in as much as Microsoft assigned its rights in the software to the Foundation precisely to get past historical problems in this space.)

* The Foundation as it was created in September 2009 was indeed Microsoft-centric. The initial by-laws certainly raised some concerns ( And the by-laws have been evolved to address those concerns. I imagine they will continue to evolve over time. We share more in common with the Eclipse Foundation or Linux Foundation than the Free Software Foundation or Apache Software Foundation. That said, as we evolved the Foundation bylaws we ensured we added indemnification for our project committers so that it's not all about corporate sponsors but about the people doing the work as well.

You can find Paula Hunter's comments beginning here.

Update 3: There's an interview on eWeek dated January 13 with Novell’s community manager Jos Poortvliet about the proposed foundation, basically claiming that all is well:

He explained how SUSE Linux has been hosted and primarily supported by Novell since it acquired SuSE Linux AG way back in 2003. “Novell had been developing openSUSE but could not contribute to it, and then after a while Novell decided to work with the community,” explained Poortvliet. “Novell has been opening it up, so that anyone in the openSUSE community can contribute what they want. It is an open process, and every two years Novell takes openSUSE and builds their commercial products,” he said. These products include SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)
That tells me that the developers have a natural interest in the trademark, particularly during the time Novell was not developing it, if they had only thought of it, which they didn't.

Here's why the community began to think of a foundation:

“Back in the summer (June) of 2009, a couple of voices within the openSUSE community began asking to create an independent entity to govern openSUSE because the board didn’t have any power. It couldn’t ask for sponsorship, and our conferences [were] mostly organised by Novell, and our finances and legal aspects were also handled by Novell,” said Poortvliet....

This is not a Novell initiative, the board has no choice and if it is bad for the interest of Novell, they have little choice to move along with this,” insisted Poortvliet. “No final Attachmate decision has been made, but as we speak board meetings are in progress and it is happening in the open.”

No final decision by Attachmate? And if they decide not to participate, then what happens? And notice this:
“From the community side however the board has made clear their opinion that they want to move on with this, and it has already set up the bylaws,” said Poortvliet. “But there is a lot of legal stuff to consider. I personally hope to finish that this year, but it is hard to see, and the board is in charge here. They are going through the legal process of setting up the foundation and talking to all the stakeholders. Novell is simply a partner in this, one of several partners in fact.”
The board set up the bylaws already? The ones written by Novell's lawyers, he means, or what? Compare what you read in the meeting with this representation.

I continue to hope the community wakes up, and gets a lawyer to explain all the danger signs I and others see.

Update 4: The wiki now has some info up about the bylaws and it's worse than I hoped. For example, here's the arrangement for electing the board:


To provide continuity to the organization, the chairperson shall be appointed and replaced at Novell's discretion....

Removal of Chairperson:

The elected board members can appeal to Novell to have the chairperson replaced.

In short, Novell runs everything that matters. The rest of the board can beg, but that's about it. Novell appoints the chairperson, and there's little the community can do if they don't like the way the chairperson does the job.

Fellows, get a lawyer. For real.


19:01:06 [henne] #startmeeting
19:01:06 [bugbot]Meeting started Wed Dec 15
19:01:06 2010 UTC. The chair is henne. Information about MeetBot at
19:01:06 [bugbot]Useful Commands: #action #agreed #help #info #idea #link #topic.
19:01:08 [coolo] suseROCKs: fashion victim
19:01:17 [henne] #meetingtopic openSUSE Board meeting
19:01:28 [suseROCKs] oh sure... coolo's statement gets entered into the record :-)
19:01:37 [henne] #chair AlanClark suseROCKs yaloki prusnak
19:01:37 [bugbot]Current chairs: AlanClark henne prusnak suseROCKs yaloki
19:02:00 [henne] the agenda for this meeting is:
19:02:01 [AlanClark] The fun begins
19:02:23 * prusnak waves
19:02:28 [henne] 1. openSUSE Foundation
19:02:28 [henne] 2. Membership voting rules
19:02:28 [henne] 3. Where do we need to improve ?
19:02:30 [henne] 4. Questions & Answers
19:02:44 [henne] but first lest welcome AlanClark to the board :)
19:03:04 * suseROCKs welcomes AlanClark with great enthusiasm
19:03:10 [warlordfff] Welcome
19:03:10 [henne] AlanClark do you want to say a few words? :)
19:03:11 [AlanClark] Thanks henne. I'm excited to get to work with you guys directly
19:03:15 [prusnak] AlanClark welcome!
19:03:46 [AlanClark] words: just excitment with much to get done
19:03:50 [AlanClark] quickly.
19:04:16 [henne] as usual...
19:04:22 [AlanClark] Since we've already been working together. Not much new to say.
19:04:44 [henne] alrighty. any general questions for AlanClark?
19:05:34 [suseROCKs] people are too excited to type, it seems
19:05:43 [AlanClark] lol
19:05:45 [henne] there was one earlier wasn't there?
19:05:52 * warlordfff trembles
19:06:01 [suseROCKs] actually I was just about to say...
19:06:16 [suseROCKs] The question was "What are your goals for the openSUSE Project"
19:06:18 [Siju] 10.12.15-18:57:41: [rrutkowski] alan what are your goals for the opensuse project?
19:06:22 [lupinstein] welcome Alan
19:06:28 [suseROCKs] stated by "Rrutkowski
19:07:02 [AlanClark] Right now I see 4 goals.
19:07:32 [AlanClark] First, The top goal is as a Board to get the Foundation up and operational. As we continue to work towards this, I'm sure that we will uncover other issues that we will need to address.
19:07:47 [AlanClark] Second: Grow the Community
19:08:25 [AlanClark] Third: Is a personal goal: Tune up my decoder ring for all these alias cloaking and get to know as many people as possible -simply because that is the fun part of being in a community.
19:08:45 [lupinstein] LOL, some have more than one alias
19:09:10 [AlanClark] Fourth: Let people get their work done; er "have alot of fun"
19:10:05 [AlanClark] I gone through a few days. Figured AlanClark was good for now
19:10:24 [suseROCKs] I'd like to mention that if you'd like to meet AlanClark in person, there's a good chance of meeting him in Los Angeles when he joins the hip openSUSE Ambassador Crew showcasing openSUSE at SCALE February 25-27
19:10:47 [lupinstein] I will be there with suseROCKs
19:11:10 [henne] okay any other questions? :)
19:11:14 [warlordfff] My force will be with you :D
19:11:37 [AlanClark] Good point suseROCKs: wardlordfff: Thanks
19:12:33 [coolo] AlanClark (no harm done if not) any foot steps in open source?

[PJ: So the first thing we notice is that the new chairman of OpenSUSE's board is not known to the community guys already there. They actually ask him if he has any Open Source experience anywhere. He does, as you'll see, but not with OpenSUSE. And is he chairman for life, a set term, what? Is that how you want board members and the chairman chosen?]

19:12:33 [henne] nothing else? then lets continue with the agenda :)
19:12:58 [AlanClark] foot steps as in experience?
19:13:03 [Siju] another question: can/will AlanClark fullfill michl positions?
19:13:17 [coolo] yes, I tried to be colourful :)
19:13:34 [AlanClark] yes.
19:13:46 [henne] Siju: please define positions
19:14:10 [AlanClark] I and my team created one of the first open source projects within Novell - several years ago.
19:14:13 [psankar] coolo, AlanClark is one of the OSRB members in Novell, the commitee which focuses on licensing and copyrights, usage of open-source software in Novell applications.
[PJ: So, Novell has appointed not only a new board member but the *chairperson* of the board, even though he is new to OpenSUSE. That may indicate a desire for control, to me anyway, or some special skill that Novell wants on the board. But how are OpenSUSE Project board members normally chosen, I wonder? Surely the community doesn't just appoint someone. This is more like when VCs give you money with the condition that they get to appoint someone to the board, so they can keep an eye on things and exercise some control. And notice his job at Novell, which indicates familiarity with legal issues, which is why the community needs to get some too, to balance that out.]

19:14:28 [Siju] henne boardpositions ... talking with novell
19:14:38 [Siju] ah, okey
19:15:20 [AlanClark] More recently worked with other open source projects outside Novell. Some were successful some not - for example Eclipse Aperi project
19:15:24 [suseROCKs] Siju, by filling the chairperson role, by definition, he is a communicator to Novell, along with the rest of us.
[PJ: Well, not precisely like "the rest of us" in that he's appointed, I gather, not voted in, and appointed by Novell, not the community, and when he speaks, Novell listens presumably since they sent him. So if there is a dispute, whose voice will carry the day, do you think? And I think it would be reasonable to assume that Novell tells him what to do about issues, and he does what they tell him, while also informing Novell of events and issues and how he views them.]

19:16:02 [Siju] suseROCKs: fine :)
19:16:18 [dragotin]suseROCKs: what means "to Novell" here?
19:16:24 * dragotin feels Novell as well
19:16:37 [dragotin]so, I doubt that is a good explanation
19:16:39 [warlordfff] AlanClark after the meeting I have some question about licensing and copyrights if you have some time
19:16:56 [AlanClark] warlordfff: sure I have time
19:17:03 [suseROCKs] dragotin, depends on the nature of the communication. But in general, it would be Markus Rex
19:17:20 [warlordfff] ok
19:17:22 * dragotin very often talks to Markus Rex as well :o)
19:17:33 [suseROCKs] dragotin, Hence the "us" :-)
19:17:35 [dragotin]and I think many of us could
19:17:36 [suseROCKs] Us as in community
19:18:00 [dragotin] yes, what my point is is that most Novell'is are simply community
[PJ: If I've understood this expression, I'd disagree, in that nobody in the developer community would sell 882 patents to a Microsoft-organized consortium. There's community and then there's community.]

19:18:21 [suseROCKs] point taken
19:09 [AlanClark] A lot of text flew by; Did I hit the high points of the questions?
19:18 [henne] i think so yes
19:38 [henne] lets get going with the agenda. we have an additional topic today
19:41 [suseROCKs] I think so as well
19:52 [henne] #topic openSUSE Foundation
20:39 [suseROCKs] I have a statement I'd like to enter into the record on this topic, if I may?
20:54 [henne] there are a couple of things we need to discuss i think
21:00 [henne] yes sure. go ahead
21:25 [suseROCKs] Do we have to say #info for on the record or just type away?
21:51 [henne] whatever you like
19:22:01 [suseROCKs] I welcome Novell's support for the creation of a Foundation with its selection of Alan Clark to sit on the Board and help us steer the course. I would like to take a moment to remind us all that this is a partnership endeavor between the Community and Novell. While, in the past, we have entertained the possibility of going it alone, I am excited to see that Novell agrees with us that a partnership is the way to go and we look forwa
19:22:01 [suseROCKs] rd to Novell's continued participation in our endeavors as we proceed in a transparent and open process.
[PJ: As I suspected, Clark was appointed by Novell, not community chosen, with the goal of Novell and the community working together to set up a new foundation to be the home of the OpenSUSE Project. Now, that's fine in and of itself. But let's watch for indications whether it will be an equal partnership or whether it will be Novell "steering the ship" and the community just hangers on.]

19:22:42 [suseROCKs] (end)
19:23:45 [henne] i think we all look forward to that
19:23:47 [AlanClark] suseROCKS: great point
19:24:09 [henne] now the last part is what i wanted to talk about first
19:24:18 [henne] transparent and open process that is
19:24:54 [henne] i think we have a disconnect there and need to close this
19:25:18 [henne] talk in one forum where everybody that needs to be involved is involved
19:25:42 [henne] and i would like to have this in the open
[PJ: Here we see henne raising the right issue, which is that unless everybody is involved, it's not so transparent and open. And he'd like the conversation to include everyone and that it be discussed in the usual Open Source way, in public.]

19:25:55 [suseROCKs] +1
19:25:59 [henne] because frankly, the foundation will only work if we find enough people willing to make it work
[PJ: That depends on what you mean by "work". If you are Novell, for example, you might not care if anyone much joins, or just enough to look right, if you plan to use the foundation to control the money and control the trademark. You don't need the community for either function, except in the PR sense.]

19:26:12 [warlordfff] +1000
19:26:23 [henne] and i fear that we have lost the way a bit there
19:26:25 [suseROCKs] and to find enough people, we need to make the people feel that they have a vested interest
19:26:55 [warlordfff] well not only that if I may
19:26:59 [warlordfff] ?
19:27:16 [henne] sure
19:27:33 [prusnak] henne so what you are proposing is to start an open mailing list e.g. or ... ?
19:27:49 [warlordfff] we need to make people feel comfortable and that everything they shall do is for the common good
19:28:07 [henne] prusnak: yes. one small part would be to broaden the audience
[PJ: Here is expressed an important concern, that things have not been happening in a fully transparent way and that in the future, if the Foundation is to succeed, it needs people willing to contribute to OpenSUSE, and for that to happen OpenSUSE has to be open. Let's keep reading to see Clark's reaction, because while the News writeup makes it sound like everyone agreed, I don't read it that way.]

19:28:17 [AlanClark] so henne I understand your point, but let me raise a couple points they may be exceptions.
[PJ: Uh oh. Right away, the Novell representative would like to make sure there may be exceptions to openness.]

19:28:20 [AlanClark] for example
19:28:21 [warlordfff] many people just want someone to show the the way
19:28:42 [warlordfff] many people just want someone to show them the way
19:28:44 [gnokii] henne open is only a thing where the people can decide!
19:29:07 [AlanClark] part of the work here will be with attorney's who charge by the hour.
19:29:16 [AlanClark] to minimize our $$ spent.
[PJ: Is that a good reason to avoid the usual open and transparent process? Just asking. If so, how come other projects seem to be able to do it? And is that the real reason for such a radical shift in the process, to exclude most in order to save money?]

19:29:47 [lupinstein] +1 on suseROCKs statement
19:30:05 [dragotin][AlanClark] sorry, can you rephrase that, at least me can not really understand what that means
19:30:06 [AlanClark] I propose that we prep materials and that a subset will present the materials to them - most likely not through a mailing list
[PJ: Clark suggests that an inside group encapsulate issues to present to the lawyers privately. OK. And then what? Let's read on, where you will see that everyone agrees that having a committee designated to talk to the lawyers and report back is fine. This is a potential chokepoint, where what really happens legally is kept close to the vest of those Novell wishes to have in the know, while excluding the community at large. My question would be, who is "we" in this proposal, anyway, the community at large or just the board? If the latter, the proposal is that one small group prepares materials to present to lawyers, but not in public, not via a mailing list where everyone can read and keep up. If, alternatively, he is saying that the community as a whole discusses in public, then the board members or a subcommittee of the board brings issues to the lawyers and then reports back, that's better, but who gets to know the lawyers' answers? Everyone? Or just the board?]

19:30:17 [suseROCKs] ok guys, lets let AlanClark finish his statement before we proceed with our comments
19:30:35 [henne] sounds good to me :)
19:31:01 [warlordfff] tigerfoot :-)
19:31:04 [henne] [AlanClark] can you maybe outline a bit what going to the lawyers would involve?
19:31:21 [AlanClark] my point being that there are cases where we are going to have to have a subset of people work through some topics and conversations
19:31:29 [henne] this sounds so scary for people who don't do this often...
[PJ: It sounds scary to me too, actually. It's proposing something other than what is typical in the FOSS community, and who chooses the "subset"? That's an issue for the bylaws. And what if the community at large later doesn't like how the subset is doing? How do they get rid of them? Another issue for the bylaws.]

19:31:55 [AlanClark] doesn't mean that we don't communicate
19:32:01 [AlanClark] or report
19:32:22 [AlanClark] just means that we have to optimize people, time and $$
19:32:28 [prusnak] exactly, having a subset of people working on something is not excluding openness
19:32:41 [henne] nope. no one thinks that...
[PJ: I think that. It depends on how it's set up. Again, this is an issue for the bylaws, to make sure it doesn't end up a secretive cabal of Novell employees leading the community around by the nose while actually working against them in secret. Like that would never happen. Hah! 882 patents. Never forget.]

19:32:47 [AlanClark] alright
19:32:53 [warlordfff] of course it doesn't
19:33:06 [suseROCKs] with all due respect, I don't think its the legal communication we're as concerned with, but rather that there is transparency in the conduit between all partners on this initiative.
19:33:47 [henne] and I'm concerened with the amount of people who i seen willing to carry the foundation once it exists
19:33:57 [henne] i mean the usual workflow is this:
19:34:20 [henne] 1. some people find out that they want to do something together in some form of a NFP
19:34:21 [suseROCKs] the lawyers aren't partners. They're just simply doing what they're paid to do. But within our own initiative, we should ensure that all partners are open and communicative in a way that we all know up front what is happening.
19:34:49 [lupinstein] [henne] do you mean from the community in gerenal, the ambassador, what group?
19:35:02 [henne] lupinstein: everybody
19:35:32 [henne] 2. they hash out bylaws
[PJ: Not out of thin air. You tell the lawyers what you want your foundation to be like, and he explains to you how to achieve your goals best.]

19:35:37 henne really everybody, or just opensuse member first ( so we keep control on it at the first time ? )
19:35:43 [warlordfff] henne you are talikng about support,right?
19:36:09 [suseROCKs] guys, let henne finish his list :-)
19:36:28 [warlordfff] ok
19:36:43 [henne] 3. they have an inauguration meeting
19:36:55 [henne] and the same people afterwards do the work
19:37:21 [henne] i think we slipped into 2. without bringing in all people that we need to support the foundation
19:37:48 [henne] people that afterwards fill the foundation with life
[PJ: Here's a warning sign, that already the community members, at least some of them, feel left out of the process and worse, they feel the entire community should be included, not just the board members, and the rest are not there to discuss things and plan as a community. That's the right concern. Usually that is how it is arranged, not in back rooms with just a chosen few. So the question, the fundamental question, is why isn't that happening?]

19:37:58 [suseROCKs] Actually, I think there's a subset to 1 that has occured which slipped into 2
19:38:03 [henne] a.k.a. doing the work
19:38:28 [henne] suseROCKs: yes. a bit too far for my taste
19:38:30 [warlordfff] what kind of works will be needed?
19:38:47 [warlordfff] except what we are already do?
19:38:49 [henne] warlordfff: thats something we need to find out in phase 2.
19:38:52 [BManojlovic] how we can help
19:39:01 [AlanClark] [henne] you have a good point. I agree that we slipped into 2, which is a point that I have on list to raise
19:39:03 [suseROCKs] In 1.a. (so to speak) People who have been doing some work didn't communicate with others, and others took the ball without the rest of us knowing and in the end a chaotic and disconnected process that no longer felt like a board initiative
19:39:37 [henne] suseROCKs: yeah that too. but thats spilled milk i think...
19:39:56 [warlordfff] well the trouth is that we live in some chaos
19:39:57 [suseROCKs] sure, but we'd like to not spill milk again henceforth. :-)
[PJ: Again, this is an issue to include in the bylaws, how things get done properly. Who needs to be at certain types of meetings? How many votes does it take to prevail? How are votes distributed? Is it just the board members or the entire community that has to be involved in deciding issues? Which issues? Can the board make decisions without the community? If so, what kinds of issues can they decide? What happens if someone doesn't follow the rules? What is the procedure? These are exactly the kinds of questions that can be decided by how you write up your bylaws.]

19:40:04 [lupinstein] I am willing to jump in to help out.
19:40:06 [henne] [AlanClark] what are you experiences with this? how did this work out for the OSDL for instance?
19:40:51 [warlordfff] henne OSDL?
19:40:52 [AlanClark] so if I'm understanding henne I think that we need to spin a discussion on what I would call a "governance model" discussion
19:41:35 [AlanClark] so let's take this 1a. turn into an action item to have a longer discussion.
19:41:50 [AlanClark] and walk through this.
19:42:25 [henne] warlordfff: use the force (google) ;)
19:42:29 [psankar] warlordfff, opensourcedevelopmentlabs (alan's earlier venture)
19:42:42 [henne] [AlanClark] you mean now?
19:42:45 [warlordfff] sooory
19:42:48 [AlanClark] I believe that discussion will help close the issue and make sure we've got everybody involved
19:43:13 [dragotin]that sounds like we should discuss what the functions of the foundation will be
19:43:17 [AlanClark] not now. Create a separate thread or IRC meeting
19:43:45 [dragotin] as I think governance is a topic for the community as a whole, not neccessarily bound to the foundation
19:44:18 [henne] for the community as a whole?
19:44:37 [warlordfff] well isn't the forming of the foundation the next step for the community?
19:44:43 [AlanClark] But the foundation effects the community and hennes point is that we need all the relevant stake holders to be part of the communication
19:45:03 [dragotin]thats true
19:45:14 [suseROCKs] let's be careful not to distract from the very specific point of this discussion which is to ensure that the process of creating the foundation is in fact open and transparent. Broader issues of governance should most certainly be discussed, but in a different context from this one.
[PJ: I'm highlighting this, not because it's a problem. Everyone agrees the governance issue should be discussed, but not at this particular meeting, which is focused on one thing and one thing only, how to figure out a process that will be open and transparent to set up the new foundation. I am highlighting it for the following purpose: watch and see as the meeting progresses whether that in fact is what ends up happening in all particulars.]

19:45:35 [dragotin]suseROCKs: right, sorry for disturbing
19:46:00 [henne] so who are the relevant stake holders?
[PJ: Once again, it's henne raising the right question. Who will make up the foundation? And in terms of bylaws, what level of control do all the stakeholders get?]

19:46:09 [henne] how do we identify that?
19:46:31 [suseROCKs] warlordfff, That is the current step. :-) The issue is how to be aware of who is doing what and why and that we all can speak our support/concerns easily.
[PJ: Yes and no. Yes, that's the goal. But legally, you need specificity, like who gets to know what, who gets a vote, who decides who is on committees, etc.]

19:46:48 [lupinstein] not to start a fight, but you do me true open and transparent, not the current white house calls open transparent
19:47:12 [suseROCKs] :-)
19:47:29 [warlordfff] suseROCKs we are at the same page
19:47:34 [suseROCKs] ok I think we all got the point now. And I think we should address the question of henne's.... "Who are the stake holders"
19:47:51 [dragotin] henne: as always: pick people who are interested, willing to do work and maybe have experience already
[PJ: This is the community talking, and they're essentially saying what has worked in projects from the beginning -- and with code development, it works well. But here, the issue is setting up a foundation, and that's a legal project. So the kind of looseness that is appropriate in development, letting folks show what they can do, and then deciding who is valuable to the community over time won't work. With legal stuff, you have to arrange in advance how you want things run. Later, after all the legal decisions on governance are made and in writing and filed with the state, it's hard to change them, particularly if one stakeholder has stacked the deck so power isn't distributed evenly.]

19:47:52 [warlordfff] +1
19:48:26 [warlordfff] but need to be seperated in sectors of inderest
19:48:39 [AlanClark] Stakeholders are those who have an interest and or will be effect by this.
19:48:39 [warlordfff] the people
19:49:04 [warlordfff] AlanClark: what kind of interest?
19:49:28 * lupinstein raise his hand to help out
19:49:36 [AlanClark] If the board controls the funds - those who want $$
19:49:55 [AlanClark] If hte board controls the trademark - those who want to use the trademark
[PJ: This is some specificity from Novell's appointed person, that stakeholders in the foundation are those who want to use the trademark and those who want money. That tells me what Novell thinks the foundation will be for -- controlling who gets foundation money and who gets to use the OpenSUSE trademark, which Novell registered to itself. I have issues with that, actually. If the mark has meaning and value, who created that meaning and value? Did Novell do the work? Or did the community? Was Novell the only financial sponsor of the OpenSUSE Project? Nope. AMD and others also helped. So why would it be that all those programmers, maintainers and contributors have no ownership interest in the brand? That's a serious question. How the foundation handles those control issues will be key to whether this is really a community based foundation or just a corporate setup with community members running alongside and picking up scraps that fall from the Novell table.]

19:50:47 [suseROCKs] And if Novell doesn't plan to give the trademark ownership outright, then --- Those who own the trademark :-)
19:50:54 [warlordfff] what about those who haven't any of those interests?
19:51:22 [AlanClark] suseROCKS: your question is off base
19:51:24 [warlordfff] but care and are willing to work and be a part of it?
19:52:12 [suseROCKs] warlordfff, that depends on what the community considers the role of the foundation to be. At this point in time, funding and trademark are definite roles we wish to exercise. Other roles are not so clear yet and the community needs to speak up what it wants the Foundation to do. Ex. community governance
19:52:41 [AlanClark] these are all good questions and points. My recommendation is that we setup a date/time outside of this meeting, so that we can get on with the agenda, to work this.
[PJ: Well, if the stated goal of this meeting is to decide how to set up an open and transparent process for establishing a foundation, why isn't this the exactly pertinent issue that needs to be discussed here and now? And who is the "we" in "funding and trademark are definite roles we wish to exercise"? Who decided that already? Since the community hasn't yet met to discuss any of this, is he also representing Novell or has the board already decided this prior to this meeting?]

19:52:59 [warlordfff] ok,I agree
19:53:01 [henne] well. we also want to transfer all the "interests" the current board has to the foundation
19:53:39 [henne] [AlanClark] okay but that leaves the question where
19:53:43 [henne] and with whom
19:53:55 [psankar] Is there a separate, periodic private meeting for the board members ?
19:53:56 [warlordfff] henne +1
19:54:01 [AlanClark] so give the action item to set the discussion and to return to the board with a result
19:54:04 [henne] psankar: no
19:54:14 [psankar] henne, hmm okay. thanks.
19:54:18 [AlanClark] typo - so give me the ...
19:54:18 [suseROCKs] open meetings here in the channel along with a foundation mailing list? or use existing mailing list (e.g. -project ML?)
19:54:51 [AlanClark] typo - so give me the action item to setup the discussion and return to the next board meeting iwth a result
19:55:10 [warlordfff] anyway you decide to make it ,it has to be PUBLIC
19:55:22 [AlanClark] right we do it this channel
19:55:41 [henne] hm
19:55:42 [dragotin]AlanClark what would be a result to come back with?
[PJ: dragotin asks the right question: what exactly are they to discuss and get back to the board about if the board isn't going to be part of the discussion about what the community role should be? Remember the context, which is who should be involved in writing up things like bylaws?]

19:55:51 [dragotin]a list of people interested?
19:55:52 [psankar] project m-l is prone to too much of noise. I ebleive the board members are enough representatives for the community. so involving them alone is sufficient (imho :) ) and the results can be announced in project instead of discussing in public
[PJ: Irony is dead. An Open Source project member feels that openness is too noisy. Who needs input from the hoi poloi? Let the board members and the lawyers draw up whatever needs to be written up, and they can "announce" the results to the community. When I first read this, I thought he was being sarcastic, but I gather not.]

19:56:11 [AlanClark] or a different channel - we just need to publish the where / when
19:56:17 [henne] psankar: that is exactly what we are trying to get out of
19:56:21 [warlordfff] dragotin a list of people interested is not enough I believe
19:56:32 [henne] psankar: because the board isnt the only stakeholder
[PJ: Right. Again we see an attempt to close things off from the general community. This is not something to leave to chance, when the bylaws can specify precisely who gets to do what and who gets included in what.]

19:56:35 [psankar] henne, hm okay
19:56:56 [suseROCKs] psankar, avoiding project may be good, especially as the discussions grow more technical. But keeping it within the board isn't helpful. That prevents transparency. Especially when there will be more than just the board involved
19:56:58 [dragotin]warlordfff: thats why I am asking
19:57:03 [warlordfff] psankar I dissagre with that
19:57:15 [psankar] suseROCKs, okay
19:57:37 [psankar] warlordfff, :)
19:57:53 [dragotin]why not set up a -foundation ml and invite all people interested in the discussion there?
[PJ: Why not indeed? If you are setting up a new foundation regarding a project built by volunteers, why wouldn't the first step be to invite everyone known to be interested into the first discussion of how you want the foundation to be set up? The answer is that you would, unless you actually don't want the community to run anything.]

19:58:12 [suseROCKs] we'll certainly be very involved, and hopefully you trust our leadership as we shape the direction of discussion and implementation.
[PJ: Again, who is "we" here that folks should trust? And with legal issues, trust has nothing to do with it. It's about getting it in writing. Who is already in a leadership position that will be providing the leadership? The board? And that brings me to the most important thing for them to decide: who chooses the board members? What is that process? And how do you get rid of them if you want to? The lawyer I talked this over with told me that this is the single most important thing a foundation needs to get right before it does one other thing, and if it gets this right, it has a chance to fly right.]

19:58:13 [warlordfff] dragotin +1000
19:58:19 [henne] yeah i think ml is better then IRC
19:58:26 [prusnak] sure, it is
19:58:48 [henne] its archived, none-realtime, easier to deal with
19:59:08 [henne] especially with all the different timezones
19:59:10 [warlordfff] yes I believe a ML is a great idea
19:59:18 [gnokii] henne for a discussion yes, but how find out the result?
19:59:37 [suseROCKs] results of?
19:59:37 [henne] i'm sure HeliosReds would agree if he would be awake 8)
19:59:41 [warlordfff] gnokii from the whole discution
19:59:45 [dragotin]there needs to be a good moderation, ie. summarizing regularly, asking people for discussion discipline and such
20:00:16 [AlanClark] dragotin: agree
20:00:16 [CarlosRibeiro] wikipage for the results and updates?
20:00:17 [dragotin]as we have to make sure to make progress and constructive discussions
20:00:27 [dragotin] CarlosRibeiro good idea
20:00:29 [warlordfff] dragotin I agree too
20:00:44 [suseROCKs] I fear we're still not addressing the real issues of transparency breakdown
20:00:44 [AlanClark] I like the idea of posting updates and results to a wiki page
20:00:58 [gnokii] CarlosRibeiro yes a write protected one
20:01:13 [warlordfff] gnokii +1
20:01:26 [warlordfff] only one writes
20:01:33 [henne] why would it be write protected?
20:01:37 [suseROCKs] sure we have a wiki page, and mailing list that's archived and all that jazz and its just great. But the problem we've had is when we hand off a task and we don't know what's going on after that. For a loooong time.
20:01:40 [henne] you can trace any change to a wiki page...
20:01:53 [warlordfff] so that someone writes the conclutions
20:01:57 [suseROCKs] this is where the transparency broke.
[PJ: Again, this is where the bylaws can help. You decide how to handle action items, like who decides who can post to the wiki page.]

20:02:02 [dragotin]we might also need to actively invite people to the list, as some of experienced people already have given up on that topic
20:02:04 [henne] suseROCKs: you mean in the past?
20:02:11 [gnokii] [henne] because I can watch th discussion on the ML or on the Wiki if u open it u have to watch both
20:02:21 [dragotin]so we should kind of relaunch the discussion (carefully ;-)
20:02:27 [suseROCKs] correct henne and what we're proposing now doesn't alleviate what happened from not happening again
20:03:10 [warlordfff] ??
20:03:11 [henne] suseROCKs: can you maybe elaborate on that a bit?
20:03:21 [henne] suseROCKs: which handed off tasks are you talking about?
20:03:36 [henne] suseROCKs: talking to "novell"?
20:03:37 [suseROCKs] as we are saying now that we are all partners in this, all partners (or stake holders) should be actively part of the communication. No more closed door stuff
[PJ: I gather the OpenSUSE guys have seen more than we have, and they were not happy at being excluded from something. I share their discomfort with the way Novell has treated the larger community, actually. But I'm curious as to why he put Novell in quotation marks.]

20:03:53 [suseROCKs] henne, yes
20:04:22 [lupinstein] +1
20:04:26 [henne] yes i have to agree. this whole thing needs to happen from now on on whatever medium we decide here today
20:04:37 [henne] and nowhere else
20:05:14 [warlordfff] +1
20:05:24 [henne] but i don't think anyone is in disagreement about that...
20:05:32 [henne] right?
20:05:36 [prusnak] correct
20:05:51 [AlanClark] alan raises his hand
20:05:58 [suseROCKs] I don't either. My point is not whether we agree on that. but whether the mehanisms we are proposing today will ensure that
20:06:00 [AlanClark] I'm typing a long note
20:06:09 [henne] [AlanClark] is that an aye or a nay? ;)
20:06:23 [AlanClark] it's a we need to clarify...
20:06:29 [henne] k
20:06:42 [henne] please go ahead
20:08:50 [AlanClark] I'm not sure what is being referred to with "closed door stuff". But let me make a clear point. I agree that the communication from the stake holders should in the open and clear. Novell is a stakeholder for example. Inside Novell there are many voices. There will be many different discussion,arguments, etc. inside Novell.
20:08:55 [AlanClark] still typing...
20:09:21 [AlanClark] What the community needs to see is not those voices but a clear statement from the stakeholder.
20:11:00 [henne] [AlanClark] and the problem is that this has not worked very good so far
[PJ: Actually, the community would like to hear those voices. But once again, the suggestion is to have a separate discussion that the community isn't party to, and then once all the arguments and discussions take place inside Novell, a result is announced. He's saying, as I read it, that Novell will discuss in private amongst Novell employees, hash out a position on issues as they come up, and then tell the community. If Novell is a partner in the foundation, is that kind of separate discussion acceptable to the community? If not, put it in the bylaws. And does it inform you as to what kind of foundation this one looks like it will be?]

20:11:07 [warlordfff] Well I am personally more concerned about the community part
20:11:09 [henne] thats why people here bring it up
20:11:32 [dragotin]yes, the statements from the Novell stakeholder are one part
20:11:52 [AlanClark] Which why I raise, and Markus has asked me to help make sure that Novell is speaking with a open clear voice
[PJ: Clear, perhaps, but open?]

20:11:53 [dragotin] but there is more: as the foundation is there to support the community
20:12:11 [dragotin]there is a lot to discuss/decide within the community
[PJ: Is that the purpose of the foundation, to support the community? If so, you should find it in the bylaws loud and clear and specifically laid out in detail.]

20:12:24 [suseROCKs] I think here's where we need to identify. Clear statements from any stakeholder is important, indeed. But we also want us all involved together in the thought process, because in the end, that is what will build true consensus. Rather than political jockeying or what-have-you
20:12:42 [AlanClark] suseROCKS: Alan agrees
20:12:50 [warlordfff] dragotin and vice versa
20:13:45 [suseROCKs] ok here's a proposal from me...
20:14:25 [suseROCKs] we've all stated our case here, and really in a nutshell, we all pretty much seem to agree on the same points. We're just wondering how to get from here to there. Let's just take a step back and let our minds work and at the next meeting, we'll have a definite answer to it all.
[PJ: I don't know what to make of this statement. All we know for sure is he wants time to think, maybe to talk with others about what has just been revealed, that Novell has no intention of being actually open in any specific ways discussed, just in general platitudes.]

20:14:51 [henne] uhm to what all?
20:14:56 [henne] you've lost me
20:15:02 [warlordfff] I don't think a meeting is enough
20:15:17 [warlordfff] I am lost too a bit
20:15:44 [suseROCKs] AlanClark expresses his desire to also keep the process open. He also has to ensure that the statements from his stakeholder (Novell) is clear. Those two don't always mesh that well easily
[PJ: A clear statement of the real problem, namely that what the community wants and likes and what Novell wants and likes are not identical. They want it all open, and Novell doesn't. And Novell is Alan's stakeholder. There it is in black and white. So I'd keep that in mind, when committees are chosen and promises are made, if I were you. He may be on the board, the chairman even, but he answers to Novell, from this statement. And why is someone with no prior OpenSUSE Project experience the chairman of this board?]

20:15:46 [AlanClark] I also think that part of the point here is that we, as a board, are going to have to proactively seek out community members input and thoughts
20:16:03 [suseROCKs] give him a chance to mull it over and come up with a solution for his interested party
[PJ: Ah. He means that Novell needs time to get itself pulled together on the open and transparent part of this partnership. They need to figure out how to do that, when it's against what they want, as expressed by Clark, something that the community here is indicating they aren't finding acceptable.]

20:16:14 [CarlosRibeiro] warlordfff: so.. because this... In my opinion we need to have wikipage and ML working asap
20:16:37 [warlordfff] CarlosRibeiro +1000 already ;-)
20:16:53 [henne] okay so what, except waiting for the next meeting, are we going to do now?
[PJ: I think henne would do well in law school. He's the one who always tries to bring the generalities placed into specific action. It is henne who notices that the community has nothing to do but wait to hear the results announced from above.]

20:17:10 [suseROCKs] open presents :-)
20:17:29 [warlordfff] wikipage and ML as we already said?
20:17:39 [warlordfff] and agreed
20:17:42 [warlordfff] ????
20:17:45 [psankar] the community should get their needs/concerns documented in bullets, after discussioin in the mailling list ?
20:17:47 [CarlosRibeiro] good to do now or open to volunters to make sure some was done before next meeting
[PJ: Here we see community members trying to set things up in the more normal way, normal in the community sense, by going public, before Novell has everything decided for them already, but note Clark's suggestion next that they do it a different way.]

20:17:50 [suseROCKs] that's easy enough to do
20:18:15 [AlanClark] but the questions and issues need to be broken down into directed topics
[PJ: Why? At this early stage? And "directed" by whom? Again, when the community members start to move to greater openness, letting the community express itself, Clark has control issues, and he has a plan to make it less open.]

20:18:25 [henne] yes
20:18:28 [warlordfff] ok
20:18:33 [AlanClark] so henne let me propose this:
20:18:34 [henne] so we need to organize.
20:18:56 [warlordfff] henne +1
19:32 [AlanClark] let me start some on the wiki page.
[PJ: So we have changed from the community gets together and gets back to the board with results, his earlier suggestion, to an offer that the Novell stakeholder representative will direct the discussion by initiating the directed questions. But first, before it goes public, he next suggests that his directed questions be reviewed by the board.]

19:55 [AlanClark] 2. We have the board review it, briefly
20:55 [AlanClark] 3. We then send out a post to the relevant stake holders, etc. with directed questions (generated from the #2)
21:36 [AlanClark] 4. at the subsequent board meeting we review the progress of steps 2 and 3
[PJ: His plan is he does the wiki, the board reviews, and then they send out an email with "directed questions" meaning directed by him and the board, to "relevant stakeholders". So it reads like the board intends to run the initial discussion at each step. If the board and Novell really wanted the community's thoughts and input, would it really be arranged in this controlled-from-above method?]

21:40 [henne] and how do we know who the relevant stakeholders are? :)
[PJ: My man henne, again, with his feet firmly on the ground, pointing out that this is so far a little flim flammy, in that a vital question isn't resolved, namely who matters in the foundation, and who gets to answer the "directed" questions, created by Novell's appointed representative to the foundation board and then reviewed by the board before the community even knows anything is happening.]

21:42 [AlanClark] meeting(s)
20:22:03 [AlanClark] I think that it will become evident as we talk through the pieces
20:22:16 [henne] okay
20:22:24 [suseROCKs] henne, we post widely and broadly the community. People who feel they have a stake will speak up. Those who don't won't. :-)
20:22:30 [henne] can we have everybody review it?
20:22:41 [AlanClark] and the wiki is readable so if we miss somebody they can jump in
20:22:59 [dragotin][henne] +1, and also everybody have input on it
20:23:02 [warlordfff] What about role of the communityon all that?
20:23:14 [warlordfff] What about role of the community on all that?
20:23:25 [henne] we are the community
[PJ: Yes and no. Certain members of the board represent the community, just as Clark represents Novell, the other major stakeholder, but the OpenSUSE community is larger, obviously, than just the board. And so far, they don't know nuttin'.]

20:23:27 [AlanClark] we can have everybody review it. i was believing the board could look first to save people time
[PJ: Uh huh. Whose time are we saving? That statement makes sense only if input is going to be ignored anyway, in my opinion. First it was that it should be an exception to openness so as to save money. Now the excuse is to save time. Why is that important, so important that the community doesn't get to express itself freely from day one? They write the code and maintain it. Why not tap their thoughts from the beginning as to what the foundation should be like? Seriously.]

20:23:29 [suseROCKs] warlordfff, I think that was already stated. Isn't community a stake holder?
20:23:37 [warlordfff] oh
20:23:40 [warlordfff] ok
20:23:59 [AlanClark] kindo of like a code review ;-)
20:24:02 [henne] the community are all stakeholders together...
20:24:03 [warlordfff] although I am a bit olst here
20:24:19 [lupinstein] I was going to say henne the same thing
20:24:36 [AlanClark] yes all are stake holders but not all care about all issues
[PJ: Well, all the stakeholders care about the governance of the foundation being set up. That is key, central to the future of the project itself.]

20:24:51 [warlordfff] I agree with that
20:24:54 [dragotin]but that was the issue the last 90 minutes: the missing transparency and if again "the board" reviews, its still not there imo
[PJ: I wholeheartedly agree with dragotin. This is not at all looking like a community project.]

20:25:12 [dragotin]sorry that I have to say that
20:25:13 [henne] so let AlanClark work on the wiki page
20:25:18 [AlanClark] I'm not saying that they do it in isolation
20:25:27 [henne] in the meanwhile i setup
20:25:37 [henne] and announce it
20:25:44 [lupinstein] it's missing an n
20:25:48 [henne] and once AlanClark has finished we review it on that list
20:25:53 [lupinstein] foundation
20:25:55 [suseROCKs] dragotin, it'll be on the wiki which isn't private anyway. and with history, you can see what was put in there
20:25:56 [dragotin]good, so the discussion that you, alan, use as an important input, happens on @foundation?
[PJ: It takes guts to be the one guy who says no when everyone else is pretty much saying fine. But he's absolutely doing what a board member representing the community should do, which is make sure the community is treated as a stakeholder, just like Novell is a stakeholder. There is no reason for Novell to take control of any process to the exclusion of the community, not if it's really a partnership, and here dragotin is asking if he's understood that the public discussion will be what Clark will use to write up the wiki. I doubt that is what Clark had in mind, judging from this log, but now that the issue has been raised, it's better than total exclusion. But the truth is, if Clark draws up the directed questions prior to community even knowing what is happening, the community isn't as much of a stakeholder as Novell. Period. And I notice Clark doesn't answer the question.]

20:27:07 [henne] i think this would be the right direction to get all stakeholders that care together
20:27:22 [suseROCKs] I'm happy with it
20:27:24 [lupinstein] henne should the address be this
20:27:30 [dragotin]I hope you do not see me as a trouble maker, all I want to avoid is that there forms another group outperforming us and be quicker in founding a foundation ;-/
[PJ: An interesting concern.]

20:27:33 [warlordfff] if it all happens in the ML I totally agree
20:27:39 [lupinstein] and not
20:27:55 [henne] lupinstein: yes of course. simple type
20:27:57 [henne] typo
20:28:02 [AlanClark] dragotin: I don't see you as a trouble maker
20:28:09 [suseROCKs] hah! he typo'ed typo :-D
20:28:13 [lupinstein] np, sorry was just checking
20:28:19 [AlanClark] I just don't want people to see us as spamming them
[PJ: First the reason to do things in private was to save money, then to save time, and now to avoid looking like a spammer.]

20:28:20 [warlordfff] dragotin I am with you on that
20:28:35 [AlanClark] with every little change in the wiki
20:28:39 [henne] AlanClark as we all agree this is the most important issue at the moment
20:28:44 [henne] AlanClark we can spam a bit :)
[PJ: A reordering of priorities, thanks to henne, who understands that getting everyone involved from the beginning is more important than worrying about bothering people, and if a new wiki is set up and no one knows about it, will they participate?]

20:28:51 [warlordfff] hahaha
20:29:12 [AlanClark] I can see my new title in 2 months "King of Spam"
20:29:17 [AlanClark] haha
20:29:27 [henne] you'd be rich!
20:29:33 [suseROCKs] The sash is already at the tailor's being made up
20:29:39 [henne] living in nigeria
20:29:47 [warlordfff] you have to come from the Greek channel to speak about spamming
20:30:11 [henne] okay so are we in agreement now?
20:30:25 [AlanClark] I think so, let me summarize
20:30:35 [AlanClark] 1. Alan is going to create a wiki page
20:31:17 [AlanClark] 2. Alan will then announce the new content on the page, with some directed request for review from those who susbcribe to @foundation
20:31:49 [AlanClark] 3. We then report updates and progress at subsequent board meetings
20:32:08 [AlanClark] did i miss anythng?
20:32:26 [henne] discussing on @foundation
20:32:39 [AlanClark] that was numbe 2
20:32:54 [AlanClark] 2a
[PJ: Here we get Clark's answer to the earlier unanswered question, namely would Clark formulate the questions from community input on the wiki page. And the answer is no, not initially. He will present directed questions for the community to answer. The community on @foundation then get to review and respond, but is that the entire community you want to reach?]

20:32:56 [CarlosRibeiro] henne me too I don't understand not @opensuse instead of @foundation
20:33:00 [henne] hehe. fine with me :)
20:33:40 [henne] CarlosRibeiro sorry I don't understand. why not on the project list?
[PJ: At this point, might the answer be that openness isn't a core issue for Novell, and their rep is basically taking charge?]

20:33:41 [AlbertoP] 4. Send a Geeko plush for Christmas to everyone o:-)
20:33:50 [prusnak] @foundation is
20:33:54 * AlbertoP hides
20:34:14 [CarlosRibeiro] prusnak: thanks I got
20:34:44 [warlordfff] AlbertoP +1255
20:34:46 [lupinstein] AlbertoP I rather have a openSUSE Hoodie Sweatshirt
20:34:57 [henne] okay then we have a couple of action items
20:35:16 [henne] #action AlanClark write an initial foundation process wiki page
[PJ: Here is another warning sign, to me. The community is ceding control even in little things to the Novell representative, at his suggestion. So we will never know now what issues the community would have come up with on its own, without the Novell-directed wiki page questions that will be the only ones initiating the conversation, such as it is, with the community, supposedly an equal stakeholder with Novell. But is it really? Reading this, what do you think?]

20:35:32 [henne] #action henne create and announce its purpose
20:35:54 [AlbertoP] lupinstein: sell the plush then...they are as rare as diamonds :P
20:36:08 [gnokii] AlbertoP pls!
20:36:15 [henne] dragotin: you also said we need to invite specific people. can you identify them please :)
20:37:16 [dragotin] henne sure
20:37:18 [henne] or anyone else that thinks he knows someone who should be on opensuse-foundation
20:38:31 [lupinstein] I think we should have some of the ambassadors there
20:38:59 [lupinstein] we aren't board members but we should have a say since we go around for opensuse
[PJ: Here's what he's talking about.]

20:39:01 [AlanClark] I have a list. Do you want it now?
20:39:19 [AlbertoP] henne 2c -> the less the better at this point...
[PJ: So Novell isn't alone in wanting things not too open. He goes on to say folks have been talking about a foundation for years, and decision making has taken too long. That is another problem that can be addressed in bylaws.]

20:39:19 [AlanClark] aka a list in my head
20:39:42 [henne] AlbertoP: nope. exactly that we are trying to get out of
20:39:44 [suseROCKs] AlbertoP, the less is what made this fall apart in the first place. That's the point here.
20:40:02 [henne] [AlanClark] how long is it? ;)
20:40:04 [AlbertoP] no, what made it fall apart is the slow decisional process
20:40:06 [warlordfff] τηε μορε τηε βεττερ ατ τηισ ποιντ,ριγητ?
20:40:11 [AlbertoP] and the overtalking
20:40:11 [warlordfff] sorry
20:40:27 [warlordfff] τηε μορε τηε βεττερ ατ τηατ ποιντ,ριγητ?
20:40:30 [AlbertoP] but well... they were 2cents :)
20:41:02 [BManojlovic] ποιντ is not understandable :)
20:41:05 [warlordfff] the more the better at this point,right?
20:41:07 [henne] AlbertoP: the right people need to be involved. the people that want to work in the foundation. they need to have consensus
20:41:13 [henne] AlbertoP: or else this will never fly
20:41:51 [henne] because this is not only about creating it. this is mainly about bringing people together
20:41:56 [AlbertoP] henne you have been talking about the foundation for years... involving too many people is going to make the discussion longer and less conclusive. That was my point. Like it or not.
20:42:12 [suseROCKs] he made his point
20:42:35 [henne] whatever :)
20:42:37 [AlanClark] AlbertoP: Which is why I stated earler "direct points and issues"
20:42:43 [AlbertoP] no need to explain much... your foundation, your time, your decision... it was just a suggestion
20:42:55 [AlanClark] we can drive to a conclusion
[PJ: It's certainly more efficient to have one stakeholder driving and steering everything, but it's not open and transparent, so the bylaws can set forth the process desired and what happens if some don't play along with it.]

20:43:10 [AlbertoP] AlanClark btw, welcome :)
20:43:14 [henne] AlbertoP: thats exactly what everybody keeps telling me
20:43:16 [AlbertoP] and good luck
20:43:20 [henne] your foundation
20:43:27 [henne] thats what everybody doesnt seem to get
20:43:38 [henne] its OUR foundation
[PJ: You think? What exactly does the community control? You can't even write up a wiki page on your own. Worse, you can't even let the community speak for itself on the subjects it wishes to discuss, without being directed.]

20:43:48 * suseROCKs jumps up with a roar of a +1 henne
20:44:08 [henne] i keep hearing people talking about it as if it is something they have NO investment in
20:44:15 [henne] sorry but this is not going to fly then
20:44:21 [AlbertoP] well, it is not mine for sure... a) I stopped contributing long ago b) I won't start again anytime soon because I am not motivated at all c) we do not have a sense of community, so it is hard to talk in terms of "our".
[PJ: I have no idea what all the water under this bridge is. But henne is correct, once again, that if the foundation comes across to folks as a Novell-run entity, it will fail from the community standpoint. I'm not positive Novell cares about that, if the only issues it cares about about are money and trademark control. But the foundation will be as weak as Outercurve if there is no real community support.]

20:44:39 [suseROCKs] ok ok guys
20:44:41 [prusnak] okay, is there something else we need to discuss about foundation?
20:44:49 [henne] AlbertoP: if your interest is 0 then please stop talking :)
20:44:53 [dragotin]AlbertoP: so why do you use your time to speak to us here and now?
20:45:00 [suseROCKs] we heard AlbertoP's point. He made it We listen to it, we weighed our experiences, and we're already moving on to solution, let's not get off track here
20:45:13 [henne] yes
20:45:16 [lupinstein] what about ppl that want to help with the foundations that aren't board members, we will have a say
20:45:18 [AlbertoP] dragotin: I can explain in private
20:45:39 [AlbertoP] dragotin: the summary is that who is now so willing to fix these issues created them
[PJ: Is he talking about Novell here? Or other community members?]

20:45:44 [suseROCKs] lupinstein, Everyone has a say. That's what transparency is about
20:45:53 [henne] lupinstein: everybody is welcome to participate
[PJ: It's one thing to participate; it's another to have some control over the outcome, and unless you have it in the bylaws that you have some control, you can talk all day on wikis, and those with control can ignore you and you'll have no legal right to complain. It's a vital distinction. Here, you can participate in the wiki, or maybe you can in due time, but only after the directed material is posted by those who are in control of what is posted in the first place.]

20:46:19 [henne] okay lets continue
20:46:38 [warlordfff] lets kick ass
20:46:42 [oldcpu] what would foundation membership consist of ? factory-developers + baseline-maintainers + 3rd party packagers + various levels of user support (mailing lists, irc , forums ) ? or should it be more focused on specific contributors (financial, corporate, volunteer ? )
20:47:08 [AlanClark] save that for the wiki
[PJ: These, then, are the questions that the community at large will be able to discuss. So if you are interested, find the wiki and put in your input there, and then see if the community's voice is listened to. I'm not clear whether he means those people get to participate only in the wiki discussions but aren't invited to the foundation membership, or if he means that who gets to be a member of the foundation will be decided on the wiki, but given all the above, I suspect the former is at least possible.]

20:47:18 [suseROCKs] oldcpu, all valid questions and should be directed to the actual wiki + ML discussion group. Here we're only talking about ensuring its open
20:47:19 [warlordfff] or the ML
20:47:20 [prusnak] oldcpu: opensuse members will become foundation members
20:47:34 [henne] for starters...
20:47:47 [oldcpu] ok - looking forward to the wiki :)
20:47:52 [henne] but lets discuss this on the list
20:47:52 [bitshuffler] prusnak: that should be vetoable
20:48:04 [henne] anything else on foundation?
20:48:23 [suseROCKs] I think we're done on it. We got the main thrust of what we needed to talk about taken care of
20:48:40 [henne] okay
20:48:42 [prusnak] bitshuffler: we'll discuss on the respective ML, but the idea is that opensuse member can become foundation member if he/she wants to
20:48:56 [AlanClark] done enough for today
20:48:59 [henne] then lets continue to the next topic
20:49:10 [bitshuffler] prusnak: want is fine with me, I'm just against forced and or automatically
20:49:13 [henne] #topic Membership voting rules
20:49:37 [suseROCKs] are the relevant membership committee people present?
20:49:41 [suseROCKs] wolfiR ?
20:49:42 [henne] there was an "incident" with the membership election comittee
20:49:59 [gnokii] one?
20:50:06 [wolfiR] I'm almost sleeping meanwhile but I'm still here listening
20:50:20 [wolfiR] but then again I wrote everything I wanted to say anyway
20:50:42 [suseROCKs] wolfiR, your concerns were valid and we'd like to address them and put it to good rest
20:51:05 [henne] yes. so the issue is about the voting rules
20:51:42 [henne] its not clear to the team how votes are calculated
20:51:53 [henne] we initially said +4 votes is enough
20:52:07 [henne] but never stated how +4 is calculated
20:52:09 [prusnak] yes, it is not clear what we meant with +4
20:52:27 [henne] the specific issue here was that there are 4 positive and one negative vote
20:52:36 [prusnak] whether it is 4x+1 or the sum of all votes is >= 4
20:53:34 [suseROCKs] well to put some historical perspective, when we, the board, did the voting, voting was closed when an applicant received either +3 or -3, not the sum total of 3 votes.
20:53:51 [henne] and thats what i would like to continue
20:54:01 [prusnak] so 4x+1 or 4x-1 it is right?
20:54:12 [suseROCKs] it makes the most sense. You can't assume unanimity in every application
20:54:24 [suseROCKs] prusnak, I believe so.
20:54:25 [gnokii] henne is there a deadline?
20:54:36 [henne] gnokii: a deadline for what?
20:54:49 [gnokii] a deadline until the votes have to be done?
20:54:55 [henne] gnokii: no.
20:54:59 [prusnak] okay, I fixed:
20:55:18 [gnokii] so that means if noone votes it never get positve or negative decided
20:55:21 [henne] wolfiR: better?
20:55:28 [henne] gnokii: right
20:55:38 [wolfiR] [henne] at least one thing is made clear now, thanks
20:55:40 [gnokii] and that happend last time or?
20:55:47 [henne] wolfiR: there are others?
20:55:51 [henne] gnokii: no
20:55:57 [suseROCKs] a deadline wouldn't resolve positive or negative. it wouldn't resolve anything really.
20:56:56 * henne serves wolfiR a coffee
20:57:02 [wolfiR] [henne] nothing to grasp
20:57:15 [henne] wolfiR: okay. please whatever it is raise it okay?
20:57:31 [wolfiR] I "feel" that the voting is not "fair" somehow
20:57:49 [prusnak] wolfiR: could you be more specific ?
20:57:59 [henne] i think it can't be. its an opinion...
20:58:31 [wolfiR] ok, we have the usual checklist
20:59:01 [wolfiR] but then there is some mail, that there is someone very important applying for membership
20:59:12 [wolfiR] problem is that only two people ever heard of that person
20:59:33 [wolfiR] but immediately there are a lot of people voting positively
20:59:53 [suseROCKs] wolfiR, I'm guessing you're referring to when i vouched for someone recently
21:00:16 [wolfiR] I'm sure we rejected a lot during the past months which should have got a chance compared to what we did in some cases
21:00:20 [prusnak] yes, we are taking about izabelvalverde
21:00:28 [prusnak] i felt 'the disturbance in the force' as well
21:01:18 [suseROCKs] I think it is a valid concern here. And there are indeed corner cases that crop up from time to time.
21:01:35 [wolfiR] I know it's very hard to do the right thing and therefore I'm just telling that the transparency and fairness of the process is not as I would like it to be
[PJ: At least one person is feeling disturbed that another person nobody much had ever heard of was pushed forward.]

21:01:54 [suseROCKs] wolfiR, Here's a question... just so we can find a way to make this work out better....
21:02:02 [henne] wolfiR: but thats why we said from the beginning: if in doubt grant it
21:02:20 [henne] wolfiR: be inclusive not exclusive
21:02:38 [prusnak] [henne] the problem is elsewhere
21:02:45 [suseROCKs] In some of our teams, we see people doing work that isn't easily verifiable via the standard checklists. That sometimes happens in ambassor cases as well. And in the past we would always ping someone in that knowledgeable area to find out what the person's background is.
21:03:06 [henne] prusnak: where?
21:03:06 [suseROCKs] however, when someone vouches, say me, or someone else, that doesn't necessarily mean you *have* to vote positive either.
21:03:27 [prusnak] i think the problem that wolfiR is trying to describe is that nothing special is happening, people are voting as usual
21:03:37 [warlordfff] I have a related question if I may?
21:03:57 [prusnak] but suddenly there is a certain iniciative that we should look at one particular ticket and vote
21:03:59 [suseROCKs] prusnak, as in the votes aren't "sacred" so to say?
21:04:09 [warlordfff] what do you must have to become a member?
21:04:18 [prusnak] i am not saying that we were told to vote positive, just vote, but still
21:04:28 [henne] warlordfff: read the member page on the wiki
21:04:40 [warlordfff] I am asking because I did
21:04:40 [henne] prusnak: okay. thats indeed awkward
21:04:49 [suseROCKs] i agree
21:04:54 [prusnak] wolfiR: is that what bothered you?
21:04:55 [warlordfff] its pretty clear there
21:05:11 [prusnak] i stand behind my vote and i didn't voted positively because i read the email or whatever
21:05:22 [suseROCKs] ok here is where there are two areas of expediency I believe we should follow:
21:05:33 [prusnak] but it was weird to see please take a look at this ticket
21:05:38 [suseROCKs] a) Because we need to clear up applications prior to elections
21:05:48 [wolfiR] as said, it's just a bad feeling I have with many applications to try to give them the same chance
21:05:57 [suseROCKs] b) Because a prospective candidate needs the membership before declaration
21:06:22 [suseROCKs] but other than those two... I would not advocate unusual expediency for any other scenarios
21:06:41 [prusnak] I am ok with a)
21:06:45 [prusnak] but I disagree with b)
21:06:49 [henne] i would like everybody to just refrain from pushing anyone through the membership process
21:06:52 [henne] really
21:07:01 [prusnak] who decides who is a prospective candidate or not?
21:07:10 [suseROCKs] the prospective candidate
21:07:22 [prusnak] from my POV it would be OK to say, please take a look at the tickets, there are 17 pending ones
21:07:25 [suseROCKs] although you could argue that the prospective candidate should have applied long in advance for membership :-)
21:07:29 [prusnak] and this happenned a lot of times
21:07:53 [prusnak] but saying please look at this request is hmm, how to say it, fishy
21:07:59 * gnokii hear from two and saw only one name calling one only isnt so democratic
21:08:01 [henne] yeah but speaking up for some particular member can be done by a vote
21:08:10 [suseROCKs] BTW, I have never pushed for any individual. Just for the record of anyone wondering here. I only entered a vouch in an email
21:08:11 [henne] by board members that is
21:08:31 [henne] suseROCKs: apparently already this created awkwardness...
21:08:47 [suseROCKs] agreed, I can see that
21:09:01 [henne] so lets just not do that again
21:09:31 [suseROCKs] let's put in the workflow page that prusnak just updated that we do not welcome specific-member pushes.
21:09:59 [henne] its only us additional to the membership team that can see candidates
21:10:04 [suseROCKs] I think we can still offer vouching where needed. That's been a valuable tool int he past. Especially in foreign language circles.
21:10:17 [prusnak] well, i guess it should be automatic, no need to mention that
21:10:20 [suseROCKs] but not push. That should be against protocol.
21:10:34 [henne] suseROCKs: vouche by putting in your vote
21:10:39 [suseROCKs] no henne
21:10:40 [prusnak] it's like putting "We don't deal drugs on openSUSE conference" on the conference flyer
21:10:57 [henne] prusnak: oh we dont anymore? shite!
21:11:05 [suseROCKs] recall some of the ones in the past... like when yaloki used to ping someone in the Russian camp and ask for background info and then we would rely on that info to the best of our abilities
21:11:05 [henne] 8)
21:11:37 [henne] suseROCKs: this is something completely different then mailing the membership team
21:11:40 [suseROCKs] Vouching is okay as a source of information. But it should be treated as just that... informational source. Not a vote.
21:11:45 [henne] this is verifying
21:12:02 [suseROCKs] yes henne and I am saying what you said is that a vouch is a vote...
21:12:08 [suseROCKs] and I'm saying no a vouch is not a vote.
21:12:23 [wolfiR] suseROCKs: I only have seen a mail from Thomas not yours in the beginning
21:12:28 [suseROCKs] and we should not be in a position to be pushed on specific member requests. I agree completely with that.
21:12:30 [prusnak] the point is that izabel would get the votes anyway
21:12:37 [prusnak] maybe not in time, but she would get them
21:12:49 [prusnak] but the email caused lots of problems and this rather long discussion
21:12:49 [henne] yes
21:12:58 [suseROCKs] agreed
21:13:01 [prusnak] and making some people upset
21:13:04 [henne] okay. i think we all agree :)
21:13:10 [suseROCKs] so prevent that specific request scenario from happening again
21:13:14 [henne] wolfiR: do you feel better now? :)
21:13:18 [suseROCKs] put it in the rules and be done with it. :-)
21:13:32 * henne hopes the sleep deprivation does the rest
21:13:54 [prusnak] i really don't know what should I put to rules
21:14:04 [AlbertoP] other 2 cheap cents: membership should be strongly simplified :)
21:14:10 [prusnak] please do not listen to creepy guys suggesting you to vote?
21:14:10 [wolfiR] the initial mail I got sounded like "the person want to run for board so please make it a member"
21:14:16 [wolfiR] and this should not happen again
21:14:43 [AlbertoP] wolfiR: it is favoured by the board itself, with the invitation to apply at each voting occasion
21:14:48 [suseROCKs] wolfiR, was it the wording or the existence of the letter itself?
21:14:50 [henne] prusnak: please DON'T contact the membership team about individual candidates
21:15:04 [bitshuffler] someone running for board but becoming a member on last minute is kinda "funny" in itself anyways, not?
[PJ: I'll say. So there are two being more or less appointed to the board? Again, I can't stress enough that this is exactly the X on the map on setting up a foundation -- have a lawyer write it up for you, and figure out how members of the board get chosen.]

21:15:15 [prusnak] suseROCKs: the wording was: "Guys, please give her your vote, so we can make her a member and give"
21:15:20 [henne] bitshuffler: depends
21:15:24 [prusnak] "her our support."
21:15:34 [AlbertoP] bitshuffler: it is also funny that to have enough voters, membership admission is easier under elections :)
21:15:36 [suseROCKs] bitshuffler, sure, but sometimes we fall behind on membership processing, sometimes in the past anyway as much as 6 month backlog.
21:15:58 [suseROCKs] so sometimes its not even the fault of the prospective candidate.
21:16:08 [henne] and every case is different anyway
21:16:09 [yaloki] .
21:16:13 [henne] we are talking about people here
21:16:27 [prusnak] okay
21:16:28 [prusnak] added
21:16:29 [prusnak]
21:16:36 [prusnak] "Please DO NOT contact the membership team about individual candidates!"
21:16:36 [CarlosRibeiro] prusnak: sorry but I cannot saty quite about concerns about izabel... If others don't like her dont give their votes to her also she is doing a wonderfull job for the whole project
21:16:54 [suseROCKs] CarlosRibeiro, its not about the person. Its about the process
21:17:06 [prusnak] CarlosRibeiro this is not about the izabel, she seems nice and all, the problem is that someone wrote, please vote for her
21:17:16 [wolfiR] thanks, I guess we covered as much as possible. The rest is pretty much the fact that it's hard to get a feeling for applicants
21:17:45 [suseROCKs] wolfiR, i sympathize. I hated that when I was going through applicants in the past.
21:17:52 [prusnak] CarlosRibeiro she would get the points anyway, but this "pushing" caused various problems and unpleasant moods
21:17:58 [henne] okay next topic then
21:18:40 [henne] CarlosRibeiro please rest assured that this is not about izabel at all
21:18:51 [CarlosRibeiro] ok
21:18:54 [henne] #topic where do we fail?
21:19:01 [CarlosRibeiro] i understood, fine
21:19:33 [suseROCKs] henne, Wow. we covered so much fails already, :-)
21:19:55 [henne] yeah...
21:20:00 [warlordfff] we maybe fail in motivating people as I heard before a while
21:20:18 [suseROCKs] no warlordfff This topic is, as we have stated in the past, specifically about immediately fixable stuff
21:20:23 [henne] so whats the new procedure with this?
21:20:35 [henne] do we just pick from openfate? :)
21:20:38 * mrdocs chimes in and says communication
21:20:59 [suseROCKs] hmm communication. there's a topic we haven't covered today :-)
21:21:01 * warlordfff agrees with mrdocs
21:21:08 [henne] again: this really is about hands on stuff
21:21:15 [mrdocs] [henne] ok
21:21:18 [henne] actionable things
21:21:19 [suseROCKs] well actually let's address that quickly
21:21:22 [henne] thats why we invented it
21:21:30 [suseROCKs] mrdocs, you're absolutely correct that we need to build up communication
21:21:38 [henne] huh?
21:21:43 [suseROCKs] and there are many areas where it needs to work. But we are going to fix it immediately in one area...
21:21:57 [suseROCKs] we are going to start blogging our meetings starting immediately.
21:22:04 [suseROCKs] that's now fixed :-)
21:22:23 [AlbertoP] 0o
21:22:23 [warlordfff] sorry I lost you,what are we talking about finally?
21:22:33 [suseROCKs] warlordfff, scroll up :-)
21:22:40 [mrdocs] suseROCKs: good idea :-)
21:23:08 [warlordfff] :-/
21:23:21 [mrdocs] i know people are working on news.o.o so WIP, but i like what i saw
21:24:27 [mrdocs] AlanClark mind if I pm you for a minute ?
21:24:42 [AlanClark] go ahead
21:24:42 [henne] okay anything else actionable?
21:24:45 [suseROCKs] I think AlanClark ran off scared realizing how long these meetings get sometimes :-)
21:25:23 [AlanClark] suseROCKS: :-)
21:25:46 [suseROCKs] AlanClark, just for the record, I do think we're at record length today though.
21:26:02 [henne] yeah i think so to
21:26:10 [henne] i have something actionable
21:26:17 [suseROCKs] just remember next time to not make lunch plans. Bring your lunchpail to work with you
21:26:21 [henne] can we clean up the queue on openfate? :)
21:26:44 [suseROCKs] didn't we do that 2 weeks ago? or did it get overpopulated again? (Didn't look at it just now yet)
21:27:43 [henne] i see 8 requests
21:27:46 [suseROCKs] but I guess I can add that to my todo this week to see what I can clean up
21:27:51 [suseROCKs] or you want to do it right now?
21:28:23 [henne] no need to do it now. just until the next meeting
21:28:35 [henne] i can help
21:28:39 [suseROCKs] ok
21:28:53 * suseROCKs feels relieved henne wasn't trying to stretch out the meeting to ensure guiness recording
21:28:58 [henne] #action suseROCKs clean up queue on openfate
21:29:06 [henne] #action henne clean up queue on openfate
21:29:32 [henne] suseROCKs: where will you blog the meeting minutes?
21:30:07 [suseROCKs] news.o.o
21:30:22 [suseROCKs] thats our place since we opted out of s.o.o for news.o.o
21:30:35 [henne] #action suseROCKs blog the meeting minutes on news.o.o
21:30:42 [suseROCKs] Do you think it should also be on Forums and project ML?
21:30:46 [henne] nope
21:30:57 [suseROCKs] over on GNOME, they do it on ML
21:31:05 [henne] we need to make that automatic anyway
21:31:22 [suseROCKs] make what automatic?
21:31:23 [henne] so that news postings go to -announce and the announce forum
21:31:28 [suseROCKs] ahh
21:31:42 [henne] after all this is stuff we deem that everyone should know
21:31:46 [suseROCKs] well I've seen good discussions generated from the Board Meeting Minutes on the GNOME ML
21:32:06 [suseROCKs] I'm just saying
21:32:15 [henne] true
21:32:26 [henne] let the new news.o.o team work this out okay?
21:32:32 [suseROCKs] sure
21:32:34 [henne] for now just post it to news.o.o
21:32:47 [henne] okay last topic then
21:32:55 [henne] #topic Questions and Answers
21:33:04 [henne] there are none on the wiki
21:33:12 [henne] any general questions here?
21:33:20 [henne] any additional topics we need to discuss?
21:33:40 [suseROCKs] I'll presume we have no meeting until Jan 12 right?
21:34:04 [henne] i would like that
21:34:14 [henne] anyone for a meeting on the 29th?
21:34:15 [prusnak] agreed than
21:34:17 [warlordfff] AlanClark
21:34:28 [warlordfff] do you have the time?
21:34:29 [prusnak] but please setup foundation ML so we can discuss issues there
21:34:31 [suseROCKs] wait
21:34:39 [suseROCKs] did prusnak just agree to 12th or 29th? :-)
21:34:42 [CarlosRibeiro] happy birthay suseROCKs ;)
21:34:48 [henne] prusnak: already only waiting on IS&T :)
21:34:56 [prusnak] [henne] cool
21:34:59 [suseROCKs] CarlosRibeiro, that's not in the topic Its not in the form of a question. :-P
21:35:06 [prusnak] suseROCKs: 12th
21:35:20 [henne] so the next meeting will the on January the 12th, same time, same channel
21:35:32 [suseROCKs] same underwear
21:35:33 [henne] #info the next meeting will the on January the 12th, same time, same channel
21:35:55 [henne] so this is it. 2h 35m meeting. phew....
21:36:06 [AlanClark] suseROCKS: I'm changing mine, guess you ran out earlier today
21:36:07 [prusnak] suseROCKs: i will not stay in the same underwear for 4 weeks!
21:36:29 [henne] thanks for participating everybody
21:36:32 [jospoortvliet] prusnak: why not? I think it would be good if you would start changing underwear a bit more often...
21:36:36 [henne] see you tomorrow
21:36:39 [AlanClark] thanks henne
21:36:40 [henne] #endmeeting


How to Tell When an Open Source Foundation Isn't About You - Updated 4Xs | 360 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections come Here
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 02:53 AM EST
Please give PJ the BEFORE & AFTER text to help her correct the errors

[ Reply to This | # ]

Comes Transcripts here please
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 02:58 AM EST
Keep those COMES transcripts and summaries coming. Please post the transcript
Plain Old Text mode but with the HTML code embedded in it to make it easy for
to copy and paste.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Thread
Authored by: bugstomper on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 04:25 AM EST
Please summarize in the Title box error->correction or s/error/correction/ to
make it easy to scan what has already been noted.

[The canonical threads should not be started by an Anonymous as not everyone
sees Anonymous threads]

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic threads
Authored by: bugstomper on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 04:28 AM EST
Please stay off topic in these threads. Remember to put something in the Title
box to indicate your topic. Use HTML Formatted mode to make your interesting
links clickable.

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks Thread
Authored by: bugstomper on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 04:31 AM EST
Talk about New Picks articles here. Remember to put the title of the News Pick
in the Title box and include a clickable HTML link to the article in your
comment for the convenience of the reader once the article has scrolled off the
News Picks sidebar.

[ Reply to This | # ]

COMES goes here - 2154 to go...
Authored by: bugstomper on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 04:34 AM EST
Keep those COMES transcripts and summaries coming. Please post the transcript in
Plain Old Text mode but with the HTML code embedded in it to make it easy for PJ
to copy and paste.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Judas selling for 30 pieces of silver ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 06:07 AM EST
What truly bothers me is this.
Programmers go ahead and send in new stuff to the openSUSE
project.Improve on this and that contributing to openSUSE.
Did that work ever got patented by Novell ?
Were there occasions Novell patented some of the work of the community ?
Are any of the patents sold covering work done by the community ?
More to the point :is any part of the work done by the community and , imho ,
belief from the programmers that they were working for an outfit that would
protect their work for the benefit of the community , being sold to Microsoft to
attack them after ?

I'm at the point where any company supported project seem as a potential threat
to the community itself and about to recommend to anyone working on those
company supported projects to stop all they are doing for fear of having those
companies sell all the ip and patents to Microsoft for the purpose of destroying

If Novell really sold anything that came out the community they must be stopped.
Work on any and all company supported projects ( Not only Novell .. ALL )
stopped for the fear they will betray the programmers that contributed thinking
they were playing straight.

We worked with the beleif those outfits would protect us , not sell out to

[ Reply to This | # ]

How to Tell When an Open Source Foundation Isn't About You
Authored by: rebentisch on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 06:57 AM EST
The golden age of SuSE is German and KDE. Obviously that is where OpenSuse has
to get back to if it listens to their die-hard supporters. You clearly feel that
Alan Clark lacks the right community spirit, he originates from an alien
governance culture. Alian does not mean "bad", you often face these
problems in a cross-border context, think of the Daimler-Chrysler merger. How do
you believe would it further evolve?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Suse is an important trademark to Novell
Authored by: HockeyPuck on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 09:25 AM EST
The one thing that seems to be overlooked here is brand name. It makes complete
sense (to me) that Novell appointed someone familiar with copyrights and
trademarks. They need to protect the "Suse" name. It's their bread and
butter. This is not a situation where I sell brand X napkins and someone else
sells brand X soft drinks. They cannot be confused. But OpenSuse and Suse are
similar products that offers services that are identical.

This is not to say we don't have to watch this carefully. But I'm not convinced
this is good or bad. But the point is well made.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Attachmate on openSuSE
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 10:45 AM EST
"I want to be clear here: all of our efforts will be focused on doing the things necessary to make SUSE the highest performing business with the strongest openSUSE community that we can.

This is a healthy, growing dynamic business. We want to continue to nurture this business and grow it. This is why we want to elevate the SUSE brand and operate that part of the business as a distinct unit where it will receive greater visibility and focus

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novel -> OpenSUSE : RedHat -> Fedora?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 12:16 PM EST
Can anyone remember what RedHat did when they set up Fedora, if they played
these sorts of games, were clearer/less clear in their objectives, etc?

I figure it might be a useful comparison to look at.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: nola on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 02:51 PM EST
I do hope that a community someone gets a trademark on "FreeSUSE" real

[ Reply to This | # ]

How to Tell When an Open Source Foundation Isn't About You
Authored by: sproggit on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 03:20 PM EST
Before I get to the main points I want to cover in this post, here's a quick explanation up-front. I'm not about to make apologies or excuses for Novell. However, reading the transcript, I got the feeling that we were interpreting sections where there were other equally valid explanations. Let me show you what I mean...

19:28:17 [AlanClark] so henne I understand your point, but let me raise a couple points they may be exceptions.

[PJ: Uh oh. Right away, the Novell representative would like to make sure there may be exceptions to openness.]

19:29:07 [AlanClark] part of the work here will be with attorney's who charge by the hour.
19:29:16 [AlanClark] to minimize our $$ spent.

[PJ: Is that a good reason to avoid the usual open and transparent process? Just asking. If so, how come other projects seem to be able to do it? And is that the real reason for such a radical shift in the process, to exclude most in order to save money?]
It's really easy for us to interpret this as a case where Alan Clark is seeking to keep access to the lawyers to (for example) Novell employees only. But how about this for another explanation:

If we consider a typical FOSS developer community, with a vibrant mailing list and plenty of cut-and-thrust debate, we see a lot of very bright technical people throwing ideas and views into the discussion melting pot at a frightful pace. Now, suppose Alan Clark had some experience of working with a “frantic” developer community like that, and his concern is actually that if he puts Tekkies and Lawyers in the same room, the Tekkies will all start raising endless questions and issues that they lawyers will then promptly answer, billing as they go... In a short space of time they would run up huge legal fees.

If we took my above quote from PJ's article in isolation, I hope we're rational enough to concede that either explanation is pretty plausible. Given the much broader trending of his comments, I am more inclined to agree with PJ's analysis. However, I *would* ask that we approach this with an open mind.

Clearly, it's not too late. I hope that PJ has had an opportunity to reach out to Henne and the others and share her concerns, and give her recommendations (that un-biased legal advice is obtained).

I spend a lot of my time working with technology architects – some of the brightest, most technically aware and gifted people you are likely to meet in the tekkie community. And let me tell you, working with a room of them is like trying to herd cats. Darn near impossible. If Alan Clark has experience even close to this, he is going to want to make sure that the only action items or questions that go to a lawyer are valid ones, ones that have been sensible and objectively reviewed to ensure that they are valid, appropriate, and consistent with the direction that the community is trying to follow. (As opposed to the direction of the noisiest person in the room). Ensuring that everyone gets heard is the role of the chair... For what it's worth, I think he does a rather poor job of chairing this meeting. Frankly, if he's the best that Novell can put forward to be their representative on this board, and if it's his remit to shake this down into a semblance of order, I won't be recommending SuSE Linux to anyone any time soon. I'm sure this is cliché, but whatever happened to meetings with PALs (Purpose, Agenda and Limits)? Clark does a truly awful job of setting out the context and aims of the discussion, and I totally agree that he acts in a way that he seems to have made certain decisions and is merely leading this group towards them.

But, as a rather wise friend of mine occasionally reminds me, “Do not attribute to malice that which can be explained by utter stupidity.” My suspicious and somewhat cynical nature is tending to side with PJ in her analysis, but I did want to open our thought processes to a more neutral analysis of this transcript.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How to Tell When an Open Source Foundation Isn't About You
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 03:31 PM EST
A couple of points to consider regarding the Outercurve Foundation. First of
all, we will happily accept GPL licenses. It appears that confusion lingers
between (the forge) and (now Outercurve). One of the
reasons we changed our name was to eliminate confusion with the forge, which we
were never affiliated with. In fact, we are license, technology, and forge

Second, our board was intentionally small in the first year, but in November
2010 we announced a major set of changes to our bylaws to accommodate a larger
board and allow for additional sponsors. We hired Andrew Updegrove of Gesmer
Updegrove LLP to help us with that work (full disclosure, Andy was my attorney
when I was General Manager of UnitedLinux).

Third, project leaders oversee the contributions and manage the projects, not
the board. We provide a range of administrative and marketing services to the
projects, and are most interested in their success (as defined by the project

Finally, Microsoft did not hire Stephen. I did in my capacity as Executive

Regards, Paula Hunter, Executive Director, Outercurve Foundation

[ Reply to This | # ]

Outer Curve Foundation
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 03:38 PM EST

The Outer Curve Foundation looks to be more or less moribund. Here's a list of the projects they have, together with the manager's affiliation and the license used.

  • CoApp - Common Opensource Application Publishing Platform - Microsoft, Apache 2.0
  • Project Trident: A Scientific Workflow Workbench - Microsoft, Apache 2.0
  • ASP.NET Ajax Library - Microsoft, BSD
  • Network Monitor Parsers - Microsoft, BSD
  • NuGet Project - Microsoft, BSD
  • Orchard Project - Microsoft, BSD
  • ConferenceXP - U of Washington, Apache 2.0
  • MVC Contrib - Unknown, Apache 2.0
  • Web Forms MVP - Microsoft partner, MS-PL

That list hasn't changed much since the time the foundation launched (as the Codeplex Foundation. Furthermore, two thirds of the project managers are from Microsoft (according to their e-mail addresses), one is from a Microsoft business partner, one from a University closely associated with Microsoft, and one is unknown. If the Microsoft projects were placed there to "prime the pump", then the record is even more dismal.

Furthermore, if you look at the projects, they are almost all simply DotNet or ASP libraries or utilities of varying quality. There isn't a single project there that is of any real significance to the software industry.

Whatever it is that Microsoft is trying to sell here, it doesn't seem as if developers are buying it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle and GPL v. Microsoft and Permissive licenses
Authored by: artp on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 03:39 PM EST
I find it interesting to think about why you find the combinations of Oracle and
GPL v. Microsoft and Permissive licenses.

While I am not in the know as to why these choices were made, it makes me

Perhaps the fact that Oracle has been in the business of creating its own
software for the last umpteen years and Microsoft has been in the business of
buying others' software for the last umpteen years has flavored their choices?

If I knew that I was going to write most of my own software, I would prefer to
keep others from taking it proprietary, as Oracle is doing.

If I knew that I was going to steal others' software and take it proprietary
(all in a legal way, of course, countenanced by the license), then I would
prefer the Permissive licenses, and would avoid the GPL like the plague.

Who knows what the real story is? Buy I like my little fable. It seems to
account for the major facts.

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The only thing missing
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 05:04 PM EST the 'open'.

I checked every project on the Outercurve site. Entirely .net and Windows
based. Fully encumbered and not at all open.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How to Tell When an Open Source Foundation Isn't About You
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 05:14 PM EST
Remember, even if Novell doesn't at present intend to do anything contrary to
developer's interests, it may change its mind later after the bylaws are set up.

Also, the Henrik Ingo study seems to indicate that Novell is shooting itself in
the foot in the long run by making the foundation proprietary.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How to Tell When an Open Source Foundation Isn't About You
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 05:32 PM EST
I distrust this guy Clark. The question is what is going to be the procedure for
writing the bylaws. What the procedure is will matter a lot for how the bylaws
turn out. Clark has thought a lot about this, and has a procedure he wants to be
followed. He should have written this up and sent it out before the meeting,
including his reasons for his plan, and how it is different from other main
alternatives, so everyone could look it over and see if they agree or not.

Instead he purposely held off on doing that and sprung it on everyone at the
meeting, supposedly so people would not have time to think out the implications
of what he is was trying to pull off and form an opposition. He is a really
smooth operator, which presumably is why Novell hired him. And I bet he is
presently busy lobbying behind the scenes to get people to go along.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 08:40 PM EST
I just don't get how can these guys even manage to pass as an Open Source
foundation without even allowing the GPL...

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • GPL - Authored by: Ed L. on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 09:47 PM EST
    • GPL - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 02:51 PM EST
  • GPL - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 10:03 PM EST
  • Danger! BSD war ahead! n/t - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 01:41 AM EST
  • GPL - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 04:56 AM EST
    • GPL - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 07 2011 @ 01:01 AM EST
      • GPL - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, January 09 2011 @ 02:27 AM EST
How to Tell When an Open Source Foundation Isn't About You - Updated 2Xs
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 04 2011 @ 10:33 PM EST
Pamela, Almost-Retired here but not logged in, long since forgot my pw. At my
age its NBD to me, my views are generally well known anyway.

But this thing has an odor to it, of something that has been too long out of the

You cannot change a leopards spots, they go all the way through his skin, and
this has M$ leopard spots all over it even if you shave it bare & clean. If
I were principled, as it appears a few of the questioners above are, I would
make sure the exits aren't locked, and finding them unlocked, would exit and
disassociate myself from this thing, forthwith. This odor could well be lethal
to ones freedom of expression.

Oh, and take any code still in your name with you...

Happy New Year Pamela, and keep up the good fight, I haven't missed too many
blows over the last 5+ years.

Cheers, Gene
"There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
-Ed Howdershelt (Author)
Ingrate, n.:
A man who bites the hand that feeds him, and then complains of

Humm, seems like that might make a lot of sense. ;-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

A related event: the two Linux Gazettes
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 02:41 AM EST is one of the oldest online Linux publications, with archives
dating back to 1995. It is a monthly publication, featuring original articles
written by unpaid volunteers. Their motto, for as long as I can remember, has
been "...making Linux just a little more fun!"

In 1996 Linux Gazette founder John M. Fisk turned the management of Linux
Gazette over to SSC, the publisher of Linux Journal. His expectation was that
Linux Gazette would continue as a open, free, and non-commercial project, and
that trademarks did not transfer to SSC. SSC funded and edited
for several years. Then in 2003 they hads this idea of 'monetizing' To make a long story short, SSC lost their minds and behaved
(IMO) in a poor and heavy-handed fashion. They tried to co-opt the domain with a bogus trademark claim. That didn't fly, so they
launched their their own competing version,, and even stole the
motto. was a fiasco from the start. First they copied all of the archives claiming them as their own-- omitting the author's
names; all copyrights belong to the authors so this was trouble at several
levels. They rapidly burned through a series of managing editors who seemed to
have little knowledge of the real Linux Gazette or the dispute, and not much
clue for running a Linux publication. was a weird, incompetent
blend of Slashdot-style commenting and original content. Critical comments were
routinely deleted even when site feedback was solicited. They asked "what
do you think?" and then deleted the answers they didn't like.

Finally collapsed after deteriorating into a mish-mash of
poor-quality articles written by people with poor commands of English, and spam.
The final insult was when SSC took it offline and redirected all URLs to, which was a dirty trick to play on
all those volunteer contributors because it disappeared their articles.

The moral is that dealing in bad faith is equally noxious inside the FOSS world
as outside. Another moral is that verbal agreements aren't worth the paper
they're written on, though it's disappointing when you can't depend on someone
you thought was honorable, and that you thought you had a clear understanding
with. Yet another moral is it doesn't matter how technically right you might be
if you have no moral authority. My main moral is it's impossible to build a
healthy, supportive community around self-serving actions that aren't really
about community at all, but manipulating them into supporting your own goals.
Novell funds a lot of FOSS development, but it seems they don't really
understand FOSS, or care. Both PJ and Andy Updegrove have been writing about the
right ways to set up independent FOSS foundations, I hope people are paying
attention because if there is one lesson we should all have learned by now it's
that our biggest vulnerability is in the legal arena. That's where the enemies
of FOSS can hurt us.

(forw) Re: Linux Gazette

Will the real Linuxgazette please stand up

Internet Archive Wayback Machine,*/

[ Reply to This | # ]

Business Edition
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 03:59 AM EST
Perhaps slightly OT, but an important point, IMO:

What about the SUSE business edition? AFAIK, SLES (or whatever it has been
named) has never been available as Open Source. This is unlike Red Hat (where
maintaining CentOS works fine and the developers have a good relationship), or
Ubuntu, and IMO one of the reasons not to use SUSE in business.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thank you!
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 11:31 AM EST


Thanks for a very interesting, and thought provoking read. I think that I'm
going to make good use of some of this :)


[ Reply to This | # ]

A little more information about openSuse
Authored by: Bystander on Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 11:04 PM EST

Rather than simply speculate about the present organization, or the people involved on the openSuse board, it's possible to get some information from straightforward sources.

For instance, what is the openSuse board? It's role in governance is spelled out in the openSuse Guiding Principles.

To lead the overall project a board of maintainers is created. The board of maintainers has the following tasks:

  • Act as a central point of contact
  • Help resolve conflicts
  • Communicate community interests to Novell
  • Facilitate communication with all areas of the community
  • Facilitate decision making processes where needed

The board should provide guidance and support existing governance structures, but shouldn't direct or control development, since community mechanisms exist to accomplish the goals of the project. The board should document decisions and policies.

The board of maintainers consists of five community members including two people who are not employed by Novell. The board is headed by a chairperson with veto power over any decision. The chairperson is appointed by Novell and will typically be a Novell employee. Novell appoints the initial members of the board with participation of the community. It should include the coordinators of distribution, communication, and build service. It will receive bylaws to define its processes.

And who is now currently on the board (some of the participants in the chat meeting)? That information can be found on the openSuse:Board page of the organization's wiki, with the exception of Alan Clark recently replacing Michael Loffler as the appointed Chairman from Novell. From this we learn that besides Mr. Clark, Pavol Rusnak and Henne Vogelsang are Novell employees. Henne is the person PJ felt offered up good insights into what needed to be done in the process of setting up the new foundation.

Who is Alan Clark? More information about him can be found in the announcement by openSuse of his appointment as Board Chairman. In this announcement, we are told one reason why he was a good candidate for the position.

As you may be aware, we have focused a significant amount of our time on the creation of an openSUSE Foundation to be independent and to be able to collect and spread funds. And Novell has been very supportive with our desire to see this come to fruition. Markus told us that one of the reasons he selected Alan is that he has a lot of expertise in setting up foundations. Alan helped to form the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the Linux Foundation, as well as several other open source projects and organisations.

That same announcement also invited everyone to join the next board meeting: "on the #opensuse-project channel on the Freenode network. All of our meetings are open to the public and we welcome you to our meeting to meet Alan." So it's unlikely that there was any intention to keep things secretive or exclusive when everyone was invited to join in. The chat log shows that people who were not actual board members participated in the discussion.

How did the people get to be board members? Other than the Chairman, they were all elected. In fact, there's an election process going on right now to replace two current board members whose terms are expiring. Third openSUSE Board Election 2010. Pascal Bleser and Henne Vogelsang will be replaced with two newly elected board members after elections conclude at the end of January. Current election rules apparently limit the number of elected board members that can be employees of any one company to two.

With the existing company affiliations in the board (Pavol – Novell, Bryen – none, Rupert – openSLX) the restraint is that at most one of the additional elected persons can be affiliated with Novell and one with openSLX.

Is the composition or governance model used by openSuse much different from comparable organizations? To answer this, we can perhaps look to the Fedora Project, which serves a similar purpose for Red Hat as openSuse serves for Novell - to be a community-based incubator of Linux technology that can be incorporated into commercial products and services targeted for enterprise customers.

A description of the Fedora Project Board gives us the following information.

There are nine Board members: five elected by the community and four appointed by Red Hat. Volunteers and Red Hat employees are eligible for all seats, and often volunteers are appointed or Red Hat employees are elected. This Board is ultimately accountable for the Fedora Project, and in that sense is responsible for guiding all of the Project's operational decisions. However, the Board strives at all times to invest decision-making power in the community wherever possible.
Additionally, there is a Chairman appointed by Red Hat, who has veto power over any decision.

So we see that the Fedora board is set up in much the same way as the openSuse board, except that Red Hat automatically gets to appoint four of the nine regular board members as well as the Chairman, while Novell only appoints the Chairman to the six-member openSuse board.

Why might Novell retain ownership of openSuse trademarks? That question might also be answered by looking at how Red Hat protects the trademarks it owns in Fedora, given in the Official Guidelines for Usage of Fedora Trademarks.

One of the purposes of the Fedora® Project is to make a cutting-edge version of Linux® widely available in consistent format that the public can come to trust. To achieve this purpose it is important that the technology can quickly be identified and that the recipient knows the technology they are receiving is the official and unmodified version. Red Hat has chosen the Fedora® mark to identify this effort and is granting usage rights in the Fedora Trademarks as previously described in this document in order to assure widespread availability.

Red Hat spells out when and how other projects can use Fedora trademarks without permission, and when they can't. You can compare those guidelines the the openSuse: Trademark Guidelines and see how they are similar.


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Novell in quotation marks.
Authored by: SpaceLifeForm on Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 12:21 AM EST
He probably uses that as code to mean Microsoft.

This caught my attention:

20:48:42 [prusnak] bitshuffler: we'll discuss on the respective ML, but the idea is that opensuse member can become foundation member if he/she wants to
20:48:56 [AlanClark] done enough for today

At that point, Alan Clark basically shuts up.

I don't believe he really liked nor had a responce to the comment by prusnak.

PJ, you are totally spot on with regards to this mess.

Don't be distracted.


You are being MICROattacked, from various angles, in a SOFT manner.

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Starting an Open Source Foundation
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 02:17 AM EST
For the last 5 years I have been involved in a community effort (not software
related) although a group of people started it, officially it was a program of a
501(c)(3) that had little idea of what we were doing. For 4 years we talked in
circles about organizing and growing the effort but foundered over
organizational details. We could never reach a conclusion but exhausted
ourselves talking.

At some point someone just needs to act. Earlier this year a few of us did. We
now have our own non-profit corporation.

In the case of LibreOffice a group from the community acted in the face of
apparent inaction by Oracle. In this case Novell (soon to be Attachmate)
apparently decided that they could not wait and acted.

Seems to me Oracle was excoriated for not acting but Novell is being criticized
for doing what Oracle did not.

Skepticism is always warranted but details can be worked out on the fly.

In my state by-laws are not required to form a Non-Profit. From my state's view
foundations are essentially a form of non-profit corporation, mostly defined by
Federal tax law.

All that is required are Articles of Incorporation that define the purpose and
organization of the Non-Profit, a list of incorporators, the names addresses and
terms of the initial board of directors and a taxpayer ID number. By-laws may
be adopted by the Board of Directors. Since there may be no stock holders, there
is no body of voting members. My attorney will file the paperwork for about

You have a chicken and egg problem, someone must form the corporation and start
it. That requires an initial Board of Directors but there is no one to select

The best approach here seems to me to be for interested people to engage the
incorporators/initial directors as much as possible to sound out their ideas and
intentions. Hope for the best, not read too much between the lines and allow
action to speak for themselves.

Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

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Free Software vs Free Software
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 05:27 AM EST
There is one Red Hat person listed with Red Hat given the dominant emphasis, as if Red Hat is supporting Codeplex, but he's an Apache guy and that's why he's there, as Microsoft "invests" in the Apache Foundation.

Wow. First, anyone can "invest" in the Apache Software Foundation. Sponsorship will get you a thank you on the Thanks page and nothing more. The insinuation being made is that Microsoft somehow has some influence over the ASF, which is similar to claiming that anyone who donates to Groklaw has influence over this site.

Second, the "Red Hat person" listed is one of the founders of the ASF and one of the creators of the Apache HTTPD server, which is widely acknowledged to be a significant force in the internet. He has actually only been with RedHat a short period of time but has been employed with open source companies for quite some time. I really have no idea what your point is by specifically mentioning him here. He certainly is no Microsoft shill.

Finally, the definition of freedom being used is in the eye of the beholder. The GPL provides freedom for developers but greatly restricts what consumers of the software can do. OTOH, Licenses such as MIT, BSD or Apache place very few restrictions on the consumers of the software and so could be considered more free than the GPL depending on what your perspective is. This is exactly why most companies that develop software place restrictions on how software licensed under the GPL can be used.

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