October 30, 2002

Richard Stallman runs for GNOME board again

- by Tina Gasperson -

"I've been working for GNOME since years before there was a GNOME." So says the father of Free Software. We already knew of his visionary qualities, but apparently GNOME was a twinkle in daddy's eye way back in 1983.The GNOME foundation was created as a shelter or shepherd for the technical interests of the GNOME desktop. "The GNOME foundation is interested in the excellence of GNOME software, of course subject to the fact that it is free software," wrote Mark Galassi, a rocket scientist and author of GNU software, in one of the earliest archived posts to the foundation list.

Stallman posted his candidacy to the foundation-announce list yesterday, qualifying himself for the elections to the GNOME foundation board. Here is that post:

From: Richard Stallman
Reply-To: foundation-list@gnome.org
To: foundation-announce@gnome.org
Subject: Candidate Richard Stallman
Date: 29 Oct 2002 06:29:38 -0500

I've been working for GNOME since years before there was a GNOME. In
1983, while formulating plans for the GNU operating system, I decided
it ought to include a window system. Later, around 1988, we obtained
X, but we found out that X only did the lower-level half of the job,
so I decided we needed to develop a free software desktop to do the
rest of the job. After our desktop initiatives in 1990 and 1994/5
didn't produce a working desktop (*), I became aware of another desktop
project based on a non-free library (**), and spoke to the community
about the problem posed by that dependency. This inspired Miguel to
launch our third desktop project, the one that succeeded: GNOME.

As president of the Free Software Foundation, I have had years of
experience working with contributors both individual and corporate.
If I am elected to the board of the GNOME Foundation, I will use the
position to improve coordination between GNOME and the rest of GNU--in
regard to technical decisions, public relations, fundamental policies,
and long-term goals.

(*) The second effort produced Guile instead of a desktop, because we
decided we wanted a Scheme package to customize the desktop with.

(**) That library, Qt, is free software today. This change is probably
partly the result of the energetic development of GNOME.

Last year, following a flurry of controversy regarding the inclusion of non-free software in GNOME, Stallman ran unsuccessfully for a slot on the GNOME board. In that election, Havoc Pennington received the highest number of votes (215), followed by Miguel de Icaza (191), who some have seen as the equal opposite of Stallman in regard to software licensing philosophy in the free software/open source community. Stallman received 50 votes, and Bastien Nocera, who called himself a "relative newcomer to the GNOME world," received 12 votes.

Only those who are members of the GNOME foundation will be allowed to run for office or vote in the election. The deadline for applying for membership is October 31st. Ballots will go out to GNOME foundation members on November 25th, and preliminary results are expected on December 3rd. In case of a tie, there will be another round of voting beginning on December 3rd and ending December 9th.

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