Older blog entries for MikeGTN (starting at number 62)

12 Nov 2003 (updated 12 Nov 2003 at 09:21 UTC) »

Time for my annual posting to Advogato - which almost always coincides with the Elections to the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors.

Its a strange one this time, with fewer candidates. Indeed, at least one certainty for the board was discounted due to a late candidacy submission. This is not a bad thing, almost all of the candidates have merit this time around - its not going to be quite the popularity contest it has been in the past.

I also applaud the Membership Committee for taking tough decisions and sticking to them. Something I tried to do with little success when I was involved. Still, I think perhaps the silliness of last years events had helped to make things a little less painful for the committee. They are excellent people, and deserve recognition for doing an almost completely unsung job.

The board is doing useful things - perhaps with the cult of personality removed, people will recognise this?

Electioneering is probably not welcome here, but I have to say that any Board of Directors with jdub and gman on board is going to generate progress and soundbites by the bucketload!

GNOME Membership Stuff

This still struggles on. It makes me sad to see people with far far better things to do being placed in a position where they need to waste more time on this issue. I've kept out of it - feeling that once I'd resigned from the committee I'd forfeited my voice. My intention in mentioning it here is not to stir up any more ill-feeling (there has been plenty already), just perhaps to vent a little. Its not well thought out. There is probably much more to say really.

  • Politics
    Inclusiveness is great. It's one of my sincerely held goals in my work. However, in the various professional associations to which I belong, my membership is also about my competence to judge issues confronting that society. I work hard to meet the requirements of remaining a member, and I'm justly proud of the achievement. If just anyone could wander in off the street, we'd surely be a more diverse group of people - but would decisions actually mean anything? The good thing about the current membership policy is that it seeks to ensure members of Foundation are active, interested and informed. The alternative viewpoint suggests that inactive people just won't vote - I don't buy that. Its amazing to watch people come out of the woodwork at election time, and isn't there potential for corporate influence if the membership is wide open? Not nearly enough people vote anyhow, and the figures would surely get worse and results become more meaningless the more bloated with inactives the list got.

  • So what went wrong?
    The policy was devised after the invention of the Foundation, so the majority of long-term involved people had joined up before there was a policy. Consequently, a lot of people had moved on, left schools where they'd had a net connection, moved jobs, or even (horrors!) lost interest in GNOME. The renewal exercise was long overdue, and was a huge test for a policy which had previously only really been tried on a handful of applicants. The stats bear out its inclusiveness - the majority of applications were accepted, and the rejected applications are largely pointlessly empty or clearly inappropriate. So, we faced a situation where a policy needed to be applied with equality, fairness and some regard to previous decision making. In most cases it worked. In some however it didn't. The people who got upset (invariably not the people who were rejected) didn't want the policy changed, they wanted people to be exceptions to the policy...

  • Personal Stuff
    ...which brings me on to this bit. I'm heartily sick of seeing people say that the committee, or me, or both were "on crack", mad, biased, inadequately informed or whatever. We were struggling to apply with some semblance of dignity a policy not fitted for the purpose. We tried to get people interested in its flaws but no-one was much interested. So a few big names got rejected, either for valid reasons (as per the policy in force) or for making life difficult and annoying by not just filling in the tiny form we asked them to complete to update things, or whatever. Now people were listening. Again I reiterate that people still didn't want different rules, they wanted their favourite hacker to be the exception to the existing rules.

    I was disgusted with the behaviour of some individuals in the wake of these events - especially one esteemed board member. The fact I got a hard time on IRC is not a big deal, nor really is the shitload of flameage which arrived. Its the fact that this is how some elements of the GNOME community want to organise themselves which is so irritating.

  • So is the committee on crack?
    Of course not. Mostly its people donating significant amounts of time to quite repetitive work in order to keep things running. The amount of discussion, fact checking and hand-wringing that goes on was masked by the fact that the deliberations were not public (it took this crisis to get membership-committee@gnome.org turned into a proper, public list at last). I note that even now the archives of that list are not listed on the index page of mail.gnome.org. I have every faith in the new committee members to continue this work, whatever happens. Now, if they get a good secure way to store personal data etc. they could do a fantastic job!

  • What Next?
    I await the Board's decision on a new policy with some trepidation. A lot of good ideas are floating around, but seem to be falling on deaf ears in many cases. A lot of willing and active people are also getting dismayed - far more people in fact than were ever rejected in the first place! Will I reapply for membership? I'd love to - and I know exactly who I won't be voting for next time around.

Other Stuff...

Life goes on. I'm 30 in a couple of days. It seems strange.

Its been a long time since I've even thought about my Advogato diary...

Firstly, I wish there was a way to uncertify myself - I certainly don't deserve this Journeyer rating any more. Of the projects I've worked on, three are dead-in-the-water, one has moved way beyond my skills, and the other - well, that's a whole other story...

The GNOME Foundation Membership fiasco seems to be dying down after a trying and pretty annoying week. The Board seem to be working on revised guidelines, which will quiet the storm. Personally, I feel that I'm better out of it - the new committee are an excellent bunch of people who will more than rise to the challenge.

A month into the new job - its going OK, but I'm drifting further and further away from the world of Free Software, and confidently predict that I'll be a penpushing deskhog for the rest of my working life.

However, still considering going to the UKUUG event at Bristol (details here too). Perhaps it would be a fitting way to bow out of the conferencing/excessive drinking circle?

Starting my new job tommorrow, which means no GUADEC for me this year. Had sort of resigned myself to this until people started disappearing left, right and centre for their flights!

Have abandoned studies for this year after all the early disruption, which means I've had time to actually work on my little projects these past couple of weeks. Slow progress, since I've barely touched a keyboard lately, but nevertheless its fun again, which is good news.

Lots of changes around here, some of which remain somewhat unresolved, but generally there seems to be a little more stability than of late.

At the end of my two-week holiday, and contemplating the last couple of weeks of work in Social Services. A reasonably relaxing and productive couple of weeks. Need to start planning some sort of leaving event I suppose.

Have sort of disappeared these past couple of weeks - aside from a little storm over a GNOME2 splashscreen which I assisted with the concoction of (no art though, I'm inept), I've stayed out of almost everything going on.

One sure thing is that I won't get to GUADEC this time. Its all down to the timing, sadly.

27 Feb 2002 (updated 9 May 2002 at 10:43 UTC) »

Much has changed, and largely for the better. On Sunday I finally got a much fixed version of Gtkdial out into the world. I sometimes wish I could consign my ancient, horrible code to history's dustbin, but people keep using it and sending patches, which is really quite wonderful of them!

Monday was job interview day - the long search for employment had left me somewhat resigned and dejected - the upside of this was that I barely cared what happened, so I was actually able to go in and be real - none of the usual "interview" games we all indulge in. Anyway - I got the job. Its still outside the realms of IT - which suits me because it means I get to participate in all this stuff for fun - but its secure, better paid, and finally away from the Department which stole my soul seven years ago.

So, a couple of weeks off work now to play catch-up in studies (seriously neglected during the doldrums).

Dropping off the net

I practically disappeared over the past week or so - for some reason my ISP and sendmail decided not to talk to each other, and then a series of abusive and threatening e-mail meant I was advised by the police and my ISP to remove my site! It was all far less dramatic than it sounds of course, but these things happen...

Employment

Still looking, naturally...

Travel

FOSDEM approaches, and it looks like Hallski will also be in Bruxelles. Should be a fun weekend...

Employment and Frustration

A long interval without posting masks a pretty turbulent time - lots of insane job stupidity culminates in me being politely asked to leave at the end of February. This results in a crazy application-frenzy, which still goes on. Somewhere during this, I managed to somehow not get my dream job - absolutely devastated by this - but the need for some kind of financial security means I'm still applying - often for stuff which I thought I'd never do again (there is a strong possibility that I will need to take up an offer of a position in a local supermarket - effectively creating a complete circle back to my evening job of 15 years ago!).

Other Stuff

...which seems less important right now, but keeps me ticking over. Have been building GNOME2 pretty regularly and attempting to provide useful feedback. My limited time means that by the time I find problems, they've been fixed or reported - so despite being relatively pointless, I feel like I'm helping.

A few patches, translations and testimonials have sparked my interest in Gtkdial - its actually tragic that a dial-up utility remains relevant in the UK in 2002, but still - it keeps me busy.

Travel

Looking forward to getting the Eurostar to Bruxelles for FOSDEM - I guess I'll always be a trainspotter at heart. Otherwise, wondering if I will have the means to get to GUADEC this year?

I'm trying hard to resist 'review of the year' type posts here, and indeed everywhere. Life goes on much as usual. Porting Gtkdial to GNOME 2 has proved stupidly hard. So a rewrite seems more appropriate/fun/simple (delete as appropriate). Work is silly - lots of duplication of effort is frustrating and silly. Otherwise, I'm ending the year much as I started it.

I'm going to FOSDEM.

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