[personal profile] mjg59
The Linux Foundation is an industry organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and standardising Linux and open source software[1]. The majority of its board is chosen by the member companies - 10 by platinum members (platinum membership costs $500,000 a year), 3 by gold members (gold membership costs $100,000 a year) and 1 by silver members (silver membership costs between $5,000 and $20,000 a year, depending on company size). Up until recently individual members ($99 a year) could also elect two board members, allowing for community perspectives to be represented at the board level.

As of last Friday, this is no longer true. The by-laws were amended to drop the clause that permitted individual members to elect any directors. Section 3.3(a) now says that no affiliate members may be involved in the election of directors, and section 5.3(d) still permits at-large directors but does not require them[2]. The old version of the bylaws are here - the only non-whitespace differences are in sections 3.3(a) and 5.3(d).

These changes all happened shortly after Karen Sandler announced that she planned to stand for the Linux Foundation board during a presentation last September. A short time later, the "Individual membership" program was quietly renamed to the "Individual supporter" program and the promised benefit of being allowed to stand for and participate in board elections was dropped (compare the old page to the new one). Karen is the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, an organisation involved in the vitally important work of GPL enforcement. The Linux Foundation has historically been less than enthusiastic about GPL enforcement, and the SFC is funding a lawsuit against one of the Foundation's members for violating the terms of the GPL. The timing may be coincidental, but it certainly looks like the Linux Foundation was willing to throw out any semblance of community representation just to ensure that there was no risk of someone in favour of GPL enforcement ending up on their board.

Much of the code in Linux is written by employees paid to do this work, but significant parts of both Linux and the huge range of software that it depends on are written by community members who now have no representation in the Linux Foundation. Ignoring them makes it look like the Linux Foundation is interested only in promoting, protecting and standardising Linux and open source software if doing so benefits their corporate membership rather than the community as a whole. This isn't a positive step.

[1] Article II of the bylaws
[2] Other than in the case of the TAB representative, an individual chosen by a board elected via in-person voting at a conference

Good News!

Date: 2016-01-21 05:59 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It sounds to me like the Linux Foundation has dropped it's principals in favor of funds. I wonder how Torvalds feels about this?
(screened comment)

Re: Good News!

Date: 2016-01-22 12:52 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Could you mention an article or something on the potential bankruptcy? I can't find anything about it.

Re: Good News!

Date: 2016-01-22 03:09 am (UTC)
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
From: [personal profile] marahmarie
Could somebody who isn't a sexist troll mention an article or something about the bankruptcy?

I feel like I could just sit around and count the assholes on some of Matthew's posts.

This is one of those posts. Already.

Re: Good News!

Date: 2016-01-22 03:55 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi there. GNOME Foundation Director here. It is true that Karen Sandler served as the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation, though I would not describe that role as the "head of Gnome". Aside from the fact that the GNOME Foundation does not make technical decisions, the Executive Director has almost no decision-making power. Her job is to carry out the decisions made by the Board of Directors, an all-volunteer group of elected community members.

GNOME came nowhere near bankruptcy. There was a temporary spending freeze put in place because our treasurer recognized that we weren't receiving payment on some invoices quickly enough. Far from diverting funds, GNOME actually made money on the OPW by acting as a fiscal sponsor for other projects.

Please stop the libel.


Re: Good News!

Date: 2016-01-24 09:33 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
If she was doing such a fantastic job, why'd you get rid of her... /eyeroll

Re: Good News!

Date: 2016-01-24 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Where did you get 'she was doing such a fantastic job' out of that?

Someone needs to get their eyes and/or brain checked /eyeroll

Re: Good News!

Date: 2016-01-29 04:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
We did not get rid of her. She decided to go help another non-profit org, and she sent her resignation letter waaaaay before the occurrence of the temporary cash flow problem (where late sponsor payments made us effect a spending freeze while we collected the payments). As a matter of fact, she actually continued to help as a volunteer for a year afterwards to collect those outstanding invoices. And she still helps us to this day in many ways.

Stop the libel.

- Jeff


Matthew Garrett

About Matthew

Power management, mobile and firmware developer on Linux. Security developer at Google. Ex-biologist. @mjg59 on Twitter. Content here should not be interpreted as the opinion of my employer.

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