Minutes of the Foundation Board meeting for Tuesday, November 6, 2018, 16:30 UTC
Next meeting date Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 16:30 UTC
- Executive Director's report
- Do we want to offer GNOME cloud services?
Remove Alberto Ruiz from sponsorship committee & thank him (see email on board-list)
- Meeting times: UTC 15:30 is problematic for some people after all the daylight savings; we will discuss new times in the mailing list.
- Executive Director's report
- Neil submitted a report to the board. We discussed a few items but there were no big surprises. It will be published on Neil's blog in due course.
Added later, for reference: https://blog.halon.org.uk/2018/11/gnome-ed-update-october/
- Do we want to offer GNOME cloud services?
- This came up in design discussions, thinking about what to include in the online accounts.
- Historically GNOME has been linked to the desktop, but to be relevant as application developers in 2018 we may need to offer an online / mobile component.
- In the past, one of the things preventing us from doing this has been sysadmin resources. We may be in a position to do something about this now.
- In the context of raising money, we have been talking about donors and sponsors, but we could also think about commercial services as a way to raise income. This would need more investigation to see whether it would be worthwhile.
- Note, not advocating building anything that requires a web frontend; services would be consumed by the desktop.
- This is a potential strategic direction that we could facilitate the community in taking.
- We'd need to get Neil's input on how feasible he thinks this is.
- Rob: Is this primarily for fundraising or primarily for online features? - Allan: Both.
- Allan: I've become a bit skeptical about relying on third-party services like Google or nextCloud. There's a strong argument to develop cloud services hand-in-hand with the clients that consume them, as this is standard practice in most cases elsewhere.
- Federico: If we were to provide cloud services to GNOME users for a fee, would that affect our nonprofit status?
- Federico: Would it be just secrets such as passwords, or other things such as files and documents?
- Allan: It would be important not to try to compete with the big players, so we would have to identify certain services that it would make sense for us to provide. For example, desktop config or notes.
- Philip: The services provided by the big players are the ones that many apps use, so we would regardless be developing clients of third-party services.
- Allan: There are certain services that are specific to a desktop that we could provide.
Rob: The UbuntuOne config service was quite nice.
- Rob: In small and medium scale we will definitely spend more money than we would get back, because we would need to provide small, free, versions of every service. At large scale we might recover the costs.
Rob: It should be kind of like GitLab; we run it, but we don't write it. We can work with other open source projects to improve their integration with GNOME, e.g. nextCloud.
- Allan: It would be difficult to get the full benefit by working with services that we don't have complete control over, as we have certain expectations of the UX that others don't necessarily share.
- Rob: I like it, conceptually; we should float it by Neil and get his comments.
- Philip: In theory I like it. Practically we don't generally have these skills in the community, which could be a good or a bad thing.
- Philip: It's important to stay competitive with proprietary software.
- Federico: Would this be a good topic for GNOME internships?
- Allan: We'd definitely need someone with expertise to mentor.
- Nuritzi: Should this go onto Carlos's Initiatives board?
- Allan: At this point it's not well-defined enough.
- Nuritzi: It would be nice to see what others in the community think about this; enthusiastic or not?
- Federico: Summing up, from the board's point of view, the questions to answer are: Do we have funds for this? Do we have staff to maintain it?
- Rob: It would take more people time than it would take compute cycles at the moment. However, it comes out of the same pool of compute cycles that were donated to us, and donors might be sensitive to what the compute cycles are used for, so that might be a concern as well.
- Federico: Would a proof of concept or playground be useful to the design team? Is cloud.gnome.org only for Foundation members?
- Rob: If you wanted to prototype something, you could use an existing cloud service for a paltry cost on Google Cloud Engine, for example. I don't think having a proof of concept service is the bottleneck, but rather will and resources.
- Allan: Note sync or configuration management might be a good place to start, as the amount of data is small.
- We'll put this on the agenda in two weeks to discuss again after Neil has had a chance to think about it. Allan will reach out to Neil.
Remove Alberto Ruiz from sponsorship committee & thank him
- Nuritzi: The immediate action is that Alberto sent in his resignation as he no longer has time to participate in the committee, so we need to acknowledge that and thank him for his work, and figure out how to transfer the work to Neil and any Foundation employees that we hire for this in the future.
- Nuritzi: Background on the sponsorship committee: We appointed the sponsorship committee last year with Alberto, Neil, Wen Qixiang, Emily Chen, and Sri Ramkrishna, to have representatives of the major conferences. Since the start of the committee there is still work to be done on how to best communicate with conference organizers re: sponsorship money received and budget. There are varying levels of activity among the current committee members, so as part of this item, we should examine the membership of the committee.
- Rob: In theory I've been the committee liaison, but I've neglected it a bit. The committee seems like it needs bootstrapping, and Neil generally does not have time for that. It may be something we push out, and ask the development coordinator to bootstrap the committee. We should also ask Neil how he sees that. As we revisit it, we should also probably change the board liaison.
- Nuritzi: We should ask Kat if she wants to be the liaison since she's already really involved in streamlining and organizing our major conferences.
- Allan: When the committee was created, it was largely as a result of Alberto being interested and wanting to do that work. Is it realistic to still have a working committee without Alberto playing that role? Since we have never had an earlier sponsorship committee in the history of the project, there's no model for success.
- Rob: It seems important to have this committee. It just requires sustained energy in moving each lead forward.
- Allan: That sounds like the job of the development coordinator.
- Rob: Indeed, development coordinator, plus help from volunteers, seems like a good model to run this committee.
- Nuritzi: We should consider changing how the sponsorship committee works once we have a development coordinator since this will be their job.
- Rob Should we reschedule this for next meeting, when Neil and Kat are present? - Yes.
- Allan: The bylaws don't mention resignations from committees, whether the committee member has to be officially removed or not.
- VOTE: The board acknowledges with regrets Alberto Ruiz' resignation, and therefore removes him from the sponsorship committee and thanks him for his work.
- +1 unanimous
- ACTION: Nuritzi - Respond to Alberto's resignation email and mention that there may be an opportunity to help in a reduced capacity in the future.