[Spi-private] Bruce's Platform

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Fri Jul 14 03:33:04 UTC 2006

Geez, John. I think you are a little heated up. I'm sorry that you are
not running, as I do believe you were a positive contribution to the
board, and I tremendously appreciate that you were able to do stuff that
I could not, like be in one place to attend board meetings while I was
flying around.

I wish you'd step back a bit and cool off. I recognize that I can get
people annoyed, thus I'll apologize. I also wish you had taken up this
discussion when we could have done something about it, instead of
bottling it up to use in slamming the door as you depart. Can't we try
this again in a more civil tone?

Without discounting your concern, I should note in my defense that some
of those missed meetings were due to things like visiting the U.S.
patent office or speaking to the U.N. or the European parliament in
Brussels. All of those were about POLITICAL POLICY issues that deeply
effect the future of Free Software. And there is one point that I
absolutely should make, since you've decided to stage a debate. I am
concerned with  POLITICAL POLICY. I do things about it, including leave
my kid for 10 days at a time to travel to where I can influence
governments. I see the same few faces from our community every time I do.

Regarding my "few people" statement, one should not be meek about their
own accomplishments in a political campaign or a resume. At the same
time, I do not mean to belittle anyone's efforts. Indeed, the other
folks who are campaigning seem to be meritorious, and I am going to vote
for Josh because he's volunteering to be TREASURER. That's wonderful.
I'm not sure, Josh, if you understand the 0% success record of SPI
treasurers. You have my admiration for taking it on, and no doubt you'll
get the job. I'm not sure you have to fire Mark's Book-keeping, but we
can discuss that later.

But back to the political policy thing. None of the other folks who are
campaigning chose to say anything about the big issues that concern us.
And that is the biggest problem that I see with SPI. Let's face it, SPI
manages a checkbook. And it does that relatively poorly so far. AND
THAT's ALL. Yet, SPI is the same kind of 501(c)3 organization as EFF.
SPI should really be doing more of the things that EFF does, and that I
am currently doing without a non-profit behind me. Let's face it, John.
In the three years I've been on the board, I've seen about one important
decision come to vote. Yawn. No wonder, according to your chart, we've
had two meetings in recent time where ONE PERSON showed up.

But I would not have suggested that the organization do more while its
books were a farce. Nobody would have respected us. That's done, dispite
the fact that the treasurer's report is late and our taxes still need
work. And we're most likely getting new blood for Treasurer. Maybe now
we can be more.

I hope you understand what deep s**t Free Software is in with the
software patent issue. In a  few years, there could effectively be no
Free Software, if political decisions go badly for us. And frankly I
would not be able to sleep if I were to just stand by and let that happen.

Now, it happens that I don't really have to be on SPI's board to do what
I'm doing. But I continue to believe in SPI, and in Debian, and I'd
especially like to see Debian pull through some of the bad times it's
been having. And I think involvement in some bigger issues can help
that. Remember when I represented SPI on the W3C patent policy board,
back when W3C was about to go to patent royalties on web standards? We
got something very important done then. You could be proud to be in the
organization. Now that the embarassing money issues are mostly solved, I
can do more of that as SPI rather than as Bruce operating alone.

> I have no more need to be overly diplomatic about this.
Well, I thought that as secretary, you were in charge of the election.
If so, maybe it would be best for you to restrict yourself to civil
debate until it's over. I shall endeavor to remain civil to you.
> I would also dispute the assertion that most of the real business at
> SPI is on a mailing list.
Actually, I wish _all_ of the business was on the mailing list. I would
vastly prefer it to IRC, and I am on other boards that operate that way.
I submit that it would help the organization operate better and
eliminate the quorum problem, and people in different time-zones would
be able to sleep at night. And regarding where the real business is,
please take an objective look at the board meeting agendas. But this is
not to say that more important stuff was being done on the mailing
lists. We haven't taken on important stuff while the money issues were
being worked out.
> I am heartened that you are no longer trying to make SPI move all of
> this to your own personal assistant.
I have not had that assistant for about two years. At the time I
suggested that, Ean was president and was trying to move the
book-keeping to his mother. I haven't a complaint about our use of a
professional book-keeper. Com'on, John. You're letting go of stuff you
bottled up for two years?

We can do better than this. Please go out and have a beer or something
and then we'll continue this in a more constructive vein.



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