So this happened. It’s the first time I’ve served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, and I thought it would be good to write about the experience.
The GNOME Foundation Board can often be a bit opaque. Generally it works in the background, and while you can get a sense of some of its activities through the minutes, it is easy to forget that the board is out there doing its thing.
It has been a bit of a revelation to see just how active the board is. It’s a bit like I’ve discovered a new, secret world inside the GNOME project. And there’s a lot happening in this world – it is always busy.
There’s an IRC channel and several private mailing lists, which are very active. And there are tasks being taken care of all the time – I already have a list of three or four things that I’m sorting out, for example.
I was impressed by the first board meeting I participated in. There was a clear agenda that was followed, minutes were recorded as the meeting went on, and the meeting ran to time. Many of the agenda items weren’t particularly glamorous, but they were things that need to be done, and there was a good level of scrutiny around each one.
There have been a few other things that have surprised me about the board. I wasn’t fully aware of how institutionalised it is. We are governed by our bylaws, which set out how the board has to operate, as well as some of its obligations. I read them recently, and was surprised by a couple of things that are in there. If you’re a Foundation member, you might be interested to take a look.
Another thing is just how important Rosanna is to the board. For those who don’t know, Rosanna is the Foundation’s Director of Operations. Not only does she take care of a lot of the Foundation’s adminstration, but she is a valuable source of knowledge and expertise, having worked for the Foundation for numerous years. She’s another one of those aspects of the Foundation that is both important and, often, hidden from view.
I’m still busy learning the ropes, and there’s a lot I have to learn. So far it is satisfying work though, and good to see another side of the GNOME project.