tytso at mit.edu
tytso at mit.edu
Thu Nov 28 01:17:38 UTC 2002
I'm pretty busy these days too (aren't we all?) but I am willing to
serve as a board member for the SPI.
I currently serve on the board of the Free Standards Group, which is the
legal "home" of the Linux Standards Base. (I noted with amusement that
on the SPI web page, the LSB is listed as a project of the SPI; although
I'm on the board of the Free Standards Group, and work on the LSB, this
was news to me.) I recently became a Debian Developer, and am a Linux
kernel developer. In the IETF (the standards body for Internet
protocols), I serve on the Security Area Directorate, and currently
chair the IPSEC working group.
In my opinion, the important question which needs to be answered is
whether what the SPI should be doing. I don't mean the very broad words
listed in as goals in the SPI web page. That's required to be in the
bylaws to give the organization maximum flexibility. What I mean is
does the SPI organization *itself* do? Is it merely just a legal entity
for groups such as Debian? Does all of the interesting work happen in
SPI "projects"? Or does the SPI, "the organization, itself" wishes to
do try to do something beyond mere administrative work. This I think is
the core question.
And please don't give me pablum about how Debian is really part of the
SPI. It may be legally, but the SPI is irrelevant to most Debian
Developers; it is there merely as a legal/financial holding company, and
elections to the SPI have little to no effect on the Debian's governance
I will note that this problem isn't unique to the SPI. The Internet
Society (ISOC) has a similar problem; it is the legal umbrella for the
IETF, and pays the liability insurance for the IESG and the IETF working
group chairs; yet most IETF'ers view the ISOC as being largely
irrelevant. So this is a problem which the ISOC is struggling with as
Why do I think this is relevant to the current problem at hand? If the
purpose SPI as an organization is clear, then I believe it will be very
easy to recruit enthusiastic board members who are willing to give of
their time and energy. If however some board members feel that the SPI
should be nothing more than a rubber-stamp legal entity, and others feel
that SPI should be doing more as its own, independent organization, then
that way will leed to contention and frustration.
Anyway, that's my two cents as an outsider, as someone who has taken the
time to read the mailing list archives (not hard, there's not much
traffic), the board meeting minutes (including the last two "failed"
board meetings), and the rather pathetic SPI web site (with no new news
I do not know if SPI would consider my views and experience useful. If
they do, however, I would be willing to serve.
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