MikeGTN is currently certified at Journeyer level.

Name: Mike Newman
Member since: 2001-03-08 23:31:33
Last Login: 2008-08-17 09:39:19

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Homepage: http://www.mikegtn.net


This diary ceased to be a novelty and therefore got cruelly ignored, but my real diary is here and gets regular enough updates to be very dull indeed.

I used to be a GNOME Bureaucrat, but now I just push buttons for money.


Recent blog entries by MikeGTN

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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.

58 older entries...


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