[Spi-private] Bruce's Platform

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Fri Jul 14 14:51:40 UTC 2006

Matthew Garrett wrote:
> How many of them? Why did you not offer apologies in advance?
Actually, I was distressed to find the IRC logs were not online, as I 
wanted to check that the count was accurate. But I will not dispute it 
at this time. And the answer might be "I messed up". We have had much 
larger mess-ups, mostly concerning money.
> If elected, how will you ensure that you attend a higher proportion of meetings?
I have now been nudged on the issue and will keep a closer eye on it.
> This makes it sound awfully like you want to be involved in SPI so that 
> you can use SPI to justify your political campaigning.
Actually, it's sort of the reverse. I want SPI and you to be more 
involved in that stuff.
> What procedures will you be using to ensure that you have the backing of the member organisations?
The last time I did this, which was the W3C patent policy thing, I asked 
the SPI board first.
> Which of the goals outlined in the SPI bylaws do you believe would justify this?
It would be education - one of the main reasons for the organization 
that we gave at its formation, and to the state and tax authorities. 
501(c)3 organizations may educate others about political issues. This is 
the reason that organizations like EFF and Public Knowledge give. There 
are some things we must avoid as a 501(c)3. We can't operate as a PAC.
> There are already lobbying organisations that exist for the purpose of fighting software patents. Does SPI really need to become another?
It wouldn't hurt. EFF does not directly speak for software developers. 
We have our member projects, so we do. We are currently losing the 
political fight for Free Software, and the fight could use more hands, 
representing more different parties.
> Indeed, so I'm struggling to see what this has to do with anything...
Because SPI's mission can be more relevant than just managing a checkbook.
> With all due respect, SPI has very little influence on Debian right now 
> and I think most developers are quite happy with that situation.
It is, however, sort of strange. SPI is their organization and a good 
many DDs haven't joined. Why they should have to join separately from 
being accepted as an acitve Debian contributor is beyond me.
> Would this aim not be better furthered by, say, getting involved in Debian instead of a separate organisation?
I gave you the social contract and it's been the right one for the 
project. The activism role belongs in SPI, and Debian's role is to be a 
member software project of SPI.
> And then proceeded to claim that there was a problem with the process. I'm not convinced that's civil.
It was posed in civil language. John's messae sure wasn't a proper 
campaign announcement.
> The by-laws would appear to make it rather awkward to run the meetings in anything other than real time. How would you change this?
It's the law we need to concern ourselves with, since we have the power 
to change the by-laws. Under the law, we are required to have one board 
meeting per year. At that time, we'd delegate an Operating Committee 
composed of the board members, which would do its business via email. 
And we'd repeat that every year. Simple, and legal.



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