X.Org Foundation Board of Directors 2010 Election

Luc Verhaegen libv at skynet.be
Wed Feb 10 12:56:08 PST 2010

On Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 07:47:11PM +0000, Daniel Stone wrote:
> (tl;dr: Yes, I agree that the Foundation needs to be doing a lot more,
>         but nothing we've done is hidden from our members, i.e. board
>         members know basically as much as you, and that this is a result
>         of lack of time/etc, rather than any desire to keep any
>         information private.  Yes, we should be doing better.)
> Hi,
> Disclaimer: All of this is off the top of my head.  I could be and am
> probably wrong on some of the details.  This does not represent an
> official statement on behalf of the Foundation, etc, etc.
> Rather.  For the record, I think the current balance is on the order of
> ~$us150k.  Around the time we dissolved the sponsors' group, we decided
> to temporarily stop seeking funds from previous financial contributors,
> as we already had more than enough to fund our operations for several
> years.
> I assume that this will be re-evaluated within the next couple of years,
> assuming that we continue to spend money (again, my personal opinion and
> guesswork only).
> I wouldn't say that's really true at all.  The X.Org Foundation's
> mission is to do things which benefit the X.Org community as a whole,
> rather than just its members.  As an example, we agreed to sponsor the
> video hackfest, despite many of the people present not even being X.Org
> developers, let alone Foundation members, as we felt it would advance
> the cause of X.Org in general.
> When we sponsor individuals, we strongly encourage them to become
> Foundation members if they are not already, but our remit is not limited
> to them.  Otherwise non-Foundation members would have to be excluded
> from XDC/XDS, lest Foundation spending benefit non-members.
> I think this is entirely fair, and see no reason to change it.
> We've been doing an abysmal job at keeping minutes, but in fairness,
> this isn't because of any particular desire to keep anything closed.
> Part of the reason I resigned is because of timezones: you get to pick
> any two out of America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific when you have meetings.
> It's unfair to ask the bulk of the board to shift into inconvenient
> timezones and I can't make it work with my schedule, so I haven't been
> able to make it to meetings.  I don't even particularly know what goes
> on in the meetings because I kept forgetting to rejoin the board meeting
> channel, and minutes weren't generated for the board list, either.
> Bear in mind though that the channel is open and meetings are held at a
> regular time, so everyone has as much opportunity to find out what goes
> on during the meetings as me. :)
> Sure, that's fair.  One of our appointed duties is to produce a
> financial report every year.  This is presented, along with the current
> 'state of the Foundation', at every XDC/XDS.  I believe this was
> presented at XDC2009, but not recorded in detail as the note-takers were
> all board members.
> For what it's worth, our ability to do anything financial is constrained
> by the ongoing saga that is our transition from a Delaware-registered
> LLC, where legally the only people who have any say are the original
> eight board members, to a 501(c)(3) non-profit, in which the board is
> more directly answerable to its members.  However, between the elections
> and such, the board already directly answers to its members.
> Yes, our financial reports should definitely be available for all years
> dating back to the Foundation's, er, foundation, on the website for
> everyone to see.  That this has not been done is a result of a general
> lack of time, as well as things like the 501(c)(3) transition dragging
> on for orders of magnitude longer than anyone ever expected, rather than
> any explicit desire to keep it hidden.
> Individually, our expenditures are reasonably well documented already,
> but for various reasons[0] the collective documentation, such as annual
> financial reports, have not really been done.  I can guarantee you that
> we've not been blowing all the Foundation's cash on 'entertainment' for
> Board members and such[1].
> It's worth noting that you're pretty much the first person to have ever
> asked about this, and that members at foundation.x.org is almost entirely
> dead but for traffic around election time; board at foundation.x.org is
> also almost entirely devoid of questions from members.
> It'd be great if the membership was more involved, and you're all more
> than welcome to attend our IRC board meetings, et al.  Part of the
> reason I resigned was because I don't even really have time now for X
> development, let alone board stuff, so I quit in the hope that fresh
> blood would spring up who could be more actively involved, especially
> with things like this.
> Hope that helps.
> Cheers,
> Daniel
> [0]: Namely, it's been incredibly difficult to even get a statement out
>      out of our current bank.  We've been hoping to switch for quite
>      some time, but unfortunately this is basically predicated on the
>      501(c)(3) transition.
> [1]: When basically the entire board is present at a conference, we have
>      generally taken the opportunity to have an extended -- usually two
>      hours plus -- meeting over lunch or dinner, which is then expensed.
>      When this was done at Cambridge, I believe the cost was on the order
>      of £20 per head.

I have no idea when such meetings are supposed to be held, how regular 
there are. No such information is available publically, or at least not 
available to my knowledge.

Secondly, if it happens openly on irc anyway, why not put the logs up on 
the wiki? Nothing easier than that.

Third point: you say that the state of the foundation is being 
disclosed at every XDC. Unless you want to send every X.org foundation 
member over on a then very limited amount of Xorg foundation money, 
please make the details available on the wiki. This is very little work. 
Heck, since we are in the iphone generation anyway, how hard is it to 
organise a short video or audio recording which can serve as a basis for 

All of these things seem to be easy to fix, without much in the way of 
overhead. Why were none of these things thought of directly?

I am the first person to think of this, because that's just who i am. 
Since then I have heard of several others who confirmed my sentiments.

If someone needs help splitting his board meeting irc logs, i will be 
happy to lend a hand. I am sure that many who, like me, still need to 
vote will be happy to have a scroll through them, before making their 

Luc Verhaegen.

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