November 9, 2001

Stallman running for a spot on the GNOME board -- no, really

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -
In a last-minute bid, the man many say is the father of Free Software announced his candidacy for the GNOME board of directors. Could he be jockeying for a position of authority because of recent displeasure with GNOME's mentions of non-free software in its GNOME Summary?RMS posted this notice to the GNOME-foundation-announce list on the evening of November 8. Several other candidates announced earlier with less serious-sounding notices.

"Candidate Richard Stallman

"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, 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."

Several weeks ago, Stallman wrote to Christian Schaller and Steve George, who put together the GNOME summaries. RMS asked them to "stop all mentions of non-free software in the GNOME summaries," according to a post by Schaller to the GNOME-foundation mailing list. Schaller said that they had mentioned the beta of StarOffice "some time back."

Schaller said that RMS felt GNOME was legitimizing the use of non-free software by mentioning it, and he asked Schaller and George to confirm that they would not mention non-free software anymore.

Schaller tossed this out to the foundation list for advice, and the members agreed that the summary could indeed mention non-free software as it relates to GNOME, and that although GNOME is a Free Software project, Stallman has no ultimate authority over it.

November 8 is the final day for announcement of candidacy. The roster of candidates for inclusion on the GNOME board of directors has grown rapidly over the last 48 hours. The latest slate of hopefuls, in no particular order:

Glynn Foster
Jody Goldberg
Alan Cox (may have stepped down from candidacy)
Nat Friedman
Chema Celorio
Jonathan Blandford
James Henstridge
Miguel de Icaza
Jeff Wawugh
Ariel Rios
Michael Meeks
Andy Tai
Chris Lyttle
George Lebl
Havoc Pennington
Chris Phelps
Rhett Creighton
Bill Haneman
Bastien Nocera
Richard Stallman
Tim Ney
Ian McKellar
Jim Gettys
Daniel Veillard
Federico Mena-Quintero
Telsa Gwynne

The list may continue to grow tonight. The election will commence over the next week, with winners announced sometime after November 20.


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