Meeting of the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors, 28 October 2019, 15:30 UTC




  • Approve minutes of 14 October
  • Environmental impact
  • Announcements


  • Approve minutes of 14 October
    • Rosanna and Neil have submitted minor clarifications and corrections.
    • No objections, minutes are approved pending a final wording of Neil's correction, to be incorporated at Neil and Philip's discretion.
  • Environmental impact
    • See

    • Allan: There was a fairly long discussion about reducing the Foundation's environmental impact during the last board election. Subsequently, Philip Withnall did a large amount of work and presented a talk at GUADEC showing some tentative numbers. 98% of our emissions are from people using GNOME on their computers at home, and 2% are from transport. Digging down into transport, GUADEC is responsible for just over half. It seems that some smaller events have an outsize effect but we're not sure why.
    • Questions:
      • What environmental targets should we set for GNOME?
      • What steps should we take to reduce the power consumption of our software?
      • What kind of data gathering and administrative processes do we need to put an environmental strategy in place?
      • What should the relationship be between environmental impact and our other goals?
      • Is this something that we need to reflect in our budgeting?
    • Neil: the GNOME Foundation is here to serve our purpose; we are not an environmental charity. There are things we can do to reduce the environmental impact which arguably serve our purpose, but if there is a conflict then our charitable purpose must come first.
    • Federico: The chart that Allan made shows that even if we reduce the amount of transport emissions, it's nowhere near the emissions from users' computers. Transport emissions are a good thing to watch because it's something you can affect personally, but even if we cut transport emissions in half it wouldn't have a noticeable effect on the total. However, we aren't sure of what causes the emissions from users' computers; simply from the computer being turned on? We have not made it easy for users to measure the emissions output of their computers, and they have no control over what their computers do.
    • Philip: Regarding the users number, it's a bit misleading to count transport emissions as so low compared to users emissions; if these users didn't use GNOME their computers would probably have comparable emissions but it wouldn't count towards our total. So the most efficient way to get that number down is to encourage people to use Windows. We don't want that either.
    • Tristan: Is the users number including only the computers or total emissions by an average person?
      • Allan: The computers.
    • Allan: I see having an environmental impact strategy as part of good governance. I expect that having enough data to have a robust strategy is still far away, because once we decide what data we need to collect, we still need to collect it for a while. However, that shouldn't stop us from making changes that have an impact now.
    • Tristan: I would be interested in benchmarking power consumption of successive GNOME releases.
    • Neil: I can start to come up with an environmental policy for different areas. I have a concern that doing so immediately is going to be a big piece of work; doing so in February would be better work-wise.
    • Allan: It would be worth going separately through this list of ideas and see which ones we can do short-term; maybe we can have things like guidelines for hackfests. Maybe for data gathering we could target next GUADEC. Regarding power consumption, we should start a conversation among the developers.
      • Philip: For hackfests and such we should start gathering data from travel sponsorships.
      • Allan: Let's talk to Philip Withnall to see what sort of data or capture infrastructure he needs.
      • Neil: I agree, we should have a measurement in place. Before making changes that are potentially expensive I would like to have some information on what will be most effective. Otherwise we may be making costly changes, without being sure if that is the best way to spend those resources.
      • Allan: For large scale changes that we need to enforce, I agree. For smaller changes I believe there are things we could do immediately without much cost.
      • Tristan: In Europe, taking trains can sometimes even be more economical.
    • Philip: We should take into account the effect on our goal of becoming a global project; countries that already have GNOME contributors are more likely to be able to connect via other means than travel, than countries where we want to establish a presence.
      • Federico: This ties in with the discussion about the location of GUADEC. We should get to a point where contributors can feel confident that they won't miss out substantially if they don't go to every conference.
    • Allan: It sounds like we should start a conversation about improving the power consumption, and figure out what data we need in order to put together an environmental policy.
  • Announcements
    • Allan: The committee guidelines discussion is waiting on help from our committee liaisons.
    • Allan: Next session will be an ED report and board-only discussion.

FoundationBoard/Minutes/20191028 (last edited 2019-12-10 01:47:45 by PhilipChimento)