I thought I’d take some time to review candidate responses for the Online Desktop question of the debate. Not just because it’s a topic I’m interested in, but because I think it speaks a lot to how the candidates view the Board, its powers and goals.
I’ve highlighted some of the candidates responses and bulleted them with headings to highlight how I felt their positioning came across. In the end I tried to supply what I felt were the responses I was looking for. Perhaps a bit late, this is in no way an endorsement of any candidate. This blog is more of a perspective view on candidates from a certain angle and you are encouraged to look at all other angles before voting. (i hope I have all the candidates and they are in no particular order)
- where the GOD developers have an idea that is unrealistic without some kind of central support, I want them to know they can lean on the Foundation.
- I don’t want our software to suffer because we don’t have the organizational cajones to support great ideas.
- Should the Foundation start hosting services?
- GOD is only one of the many interesting opportunities we have right now
- GOD raises some interesting questions for the Foundation
- What can we provide that supports our community and commercial ecosystem, without creating unnecessary competition?
I think Jeff has a clear understanding of the Board’s role in assisting GNOME developers and is looking to tackle the relevant questions. I’m not sure where he’s going with the commercial and community ecosystems but I assume it has to do with making sure that distributions aren’t fighting GNOME for the services space. I’d love to hear more about that.
- … the role of the Foundation with this project, I’d say that it’s important to support this and other initiatives with the resources they need -as long as it’s realistic and reasonable-.
Diego has an excellent stance on the foundation supporting projects GNOME where developers need help while he’s not specific in the application of help it leads toward what seems relevant and his -tag line- seems like he stole it from Luis. Short but on target.
Luis Villa Responses
- … to make sure that as we sail into uncharted waters, the rights of GNOME users and contributors are being protected.
- I think the board’s role in technical/strategic issues like OD and Services should be fairly minimal, generally.
- … the board then needs to understand that (technological) vision and help grease the way for it
Luis seems to see that GNOME developers are going to need support in the areas of infrastructure yet understands that it’s not for the board to decide which technology is best but to understand what the technology requires and how the board can support that.
Vincent Untz Responses
- (The) Board should not be making technical decisions
- Might be able … (to provide) definition of free services
- And maybe (blue sky dream) providing some infrastructure
I like that Vincent understands the board cannot tread in making decisions about technology or vision, however I feel he falls short by asserting that the board probably can’t provide needed infrastructure for GNOME developers.
John Palmieri Responses
- (The) Boards mission in this is to not set direction but grease the wheels
- This could include procuring hardware for applications to run on
- … Facilitating talks between the different interested groups.
John has a clear understanding that the Board is not setting technical direction, however he’s a little vague on whether they can help when GNOME developers may require hardware infrastructure.
Og Maciel Responses
- I believe that it is not up to the Board to decide on the implementation or even which tools/languages to use
- … but serve as a facilitator
Og clearly states that the board does not decide on implementations, however is quite vague on areas where the Board can be active. I’d like to hear more about the extent of the boards activity from his mind.
- FLOSS projects and other organizations, and making sure that hackers have the necessary infrastructure available.
- I think the GNOME Foundation (and the Board) can help the Online Desktop initiative by bringing this topic for discussion to the Advisory Board members, promoting cooperation among companies.
- … discuss about the wider topic of free (as in freedom) web services (something that Luis is already investigating?).
I like how Lucas (reminded me I didn’t have comments for him) seems to see that FLOSS projects are requiring more and more infrastructure. I had put “shaky”, like unsure, originally for his last comment but it’s really more vague. Lucas seems to have an understanding of what’s ahead in his comments, but hopefully will look deeper into the issues as they are brought forward.
- I just leave that to the GOD and Gimmie developers and others who have visions and are doing the work already.
- … I don’t think that’s relevant to the board.
Behdad has an excellent hands off attitude when it comes to technical direction, however he seems to fall short by feeling that this topic isn’t relevant to the board. Other candidates have expressed how this is a question the board is going to have to tackle head on and I’d like to have heard more. I left out any personal assertions for you and George.
- I agree with Jeff Waugh that it is a good goal for the GNOME Foundation to provide online services which can be used with the client applications that the GNOME community is intending to provide.
- I think the GNOME Online Desktop is an important initiative, but one of many.
- I also think it would be valuable to outreach to other popular online desktop tools and develop partnerships, if possible, to make the GNOME Online Desktop a premier and supported interface for accessing their tools from the GNOME desktop.
I thought Brian had outstanding responses. Understanding that the Online Desktop is just one initiative among many others and that the board doesn’t play a role in deciding which ones should become the direction of GNOME. Also stating that the role of board is the facilitate directions the community chooses such as providing online services for the GNOME Desktop. Well done!
George Kraft Responses
- We need to make sure the Online Desktop does not fragment the GNOME community.
- In the 90s the world wide web, the Netscape browser, and Java was the death of UNIX’s new Common Desktop Environment. Many started to say “the network is the desktop”, then some of the consortium members lost interest in CDE.
- In short, I think an online desktop makes more sense for a mobile device or network computer, but not for my laptop or desktop which have a hard drive.
I’m sorry to come down on George this way but I feel your responses do not reflect those that I would want representing me on the Board. Maybe these responses are being misunderstood by me and I think you’re welcome to mail the foundation list with additional information on your position.
You’re fighting a technological direction people in the GNOME community are taking, and I don’t believe it’s the Foundations job to take stands like that. What if people were to write core GNOME applications in Ruby? Would you fight them because you don’t feel Ruby is fit for the desktop, only for the online rails world? If you don’t understand what the goals are of the Online Desktop I can understand that, however making judgments like these without understanding is reckless; especially as a Board member.
I like that you want to ensure the Online Desktop does not fragment the community, that’s a good cause for any new movement inside GNOME.
Online Desktop or Technology Change?
Though the question is about the Online Desktop, in my mind it’s really about a shift in direction and technology and really tests to see that Board members are open to those shifts. It’s the responsibility of the Board members to understand the new technologies and try to enable the people working in that direction where reasonable and prudent for the Foundation to do so.
I’m looking for candidates with responses like these:
- The Online Desktop is one of many initiatives, it’s important but the foundation needs to weigh that against it’s other priorities.
- The Online Desktop and other GNOME technologies are requiring server infrastructure more and more, the foundation can provide a way for this to happen. This is a priority.
- It is not the job of the Board Members to choose technologies or directions for GNOME but it is my responsibility to understand them and enable them where I can.
- If the Foundation is to supply a type of online services to GNOME members then an Open Services Definition would be a priority but not a road block for change
update: some weird wordpress bug seemed to mangle my earlier post, i believe it’s all fixed now.