Foundation board size

gnome 1 Comment

For those of you who aren’t regular readers of foundation-list, I have started a petition to have a referendum on reducing the size of the board. If you agree that reworking how the board works is important, please add your name, or send me an e-mail expressing your support if you’re uncomfortable using the wiki, and I’ll add it for you.

Why is this issue important?

I believe that having 11 people on the board, with no established structure for decisions and delegation, is death to momentum. The board gets its head up its own ass regularly about very small issues – we end up discussing issues, deciding that we’ll explore the issue, and after exploration, deciding that maybe we’ll wait a while before we make a decision.

Or worse, someone mails the board with a question, and because there are so many of us, everyone things “someone else will answer that one”, and the issue drops through the cracks. In fact, I was told last night that asking for help on board-list was a bad idea, since “asking for a volunteer in a large group of people isn’t usually effective”. My point exactly.

For the foundation, and the board, to be effective, we have to be fast-moving, sleek, panther-like. So people don’t have time to do board stuff – OK, then they shouldn’t run, or we shouldn’t elect them.

Being on the board is (or should be) about disseminating information, and delegating authority. The board is there only to answer questions that no-one else can answer (“Yes, we will spend money on this”, or “No, this is not a reasonable use of our trademark”). So I think that reducing board size, and having a group of people who actually take responsibility for that, is a good thing.

Free wine

General 3 Comments

I live in France, and just found out that Hugh MacLeod’s free wine to bloggers promo has been extended to French residents. The man has balls, sending bottles of South African Stormhoek wine to people who have the very best that Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Alsace and the Côte du Rhône have to offer on their doorstep.

It’ll be interesting to see how the wine fares in a taste test with the Givry I got earlier at Leclerc.

Updated to correct boo-boo

Blogging about work

work 8 Comments

OK, against my better judgement…

The new job has not turned out to be the opportunity I was hoping for. A number of factors have led to some conflict, and a total lack of passion or momentum.

I am currently considering my options – start a free software company (the problem is so many ideas on the one hand, and figuring out where the revenue stream is going to be on the other), re-entering the job market and just admitting that taking this job was a mistake, or try to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear, buckle down, build character, and try to do the best I can in the circumstances.

I’m interested in hearing ideas people might have, by e-mail or in blog comments.

Libre Graphics Meeting

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Due to the increasingly varied nature of the projects which will be represented in Lyon March next year, the conference will undergo a name-change. The GIMP developers conference will still take place, but it will be as part of the Libre Graphics Meeting – LGM for short, if you’re into acronyms, pronounced glam. Don’t ask. Just pronounce it glam. Or say LGM. Whichever you feel like. Or just use the long name, so people know what you’re talking about.

The Libre Graphics Meeting will be a meeting of minds and bodies involved in libre graphics. That is, people who program, work with, or want to find out more about free software graphics applications. It’ll be a blast.

The web-page for now is in the GIMP wiki. Please feel free to aliment it with ideas, feedback, comments and abuse.

Trademark issues

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Was it inspiration or coincidence that Luis’s take on the conflict between trademark protection and the free software ethos should come out the day after Branden Robinson’s description of Debian’s trademark problems?

GimpCon update

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It’s been a busy 24 hours.

  • Ton Roosendaal of the Blender Foundation has tentatively accepted to present Project Orange in Lyon.
  • Developers from littlecms and Inkscape have expressed an interest in coming and presenting their projects.
  • There will be a contingent from Scribus, the free desktop publishing app.
  • We will have at least 2 presentations around the GIMP.

I need to write all this up in a schedule, as soon as these are confirmed properly. But for the first 48 hours after the confirmation of the dates, it’s not bad at all. This’ll be a real Free Graphics dream team.

The GIMP Conference 2006

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I have a huge backlog of news – I guess I’ll not get rid of it any other way that one item at a time.

So, let’s get started – a new conference will hit people’s calendars next year. For the time being, we’re calling it GimpCon, but that may change, because it’s increasingly inaccurate.

The 17/18/19 March, in Lyon, France, there will be a gathering. There will be lots of GIMP people, obviously, but also people from the Scribus project, hopefully also from Blender, Inkscape, littlecms, Krita and other free software graphics projects. I am putting together the basics of a schedule now (consider this a call for proposals, if you’re interested, although I will be doing the rounds of graphics projects mailing lists).

There will be 2 days of presentations, tutorials, technical talks – these are aimed for people interested in image processing in general, and probably about 2/3rd aimed towards application use (professionals and home users, roughly 50/50) and around 1/3 aimed towards people who want to learn about the principles involved (potential developers, students). A third day is unplanned – since the main point of the weekend is to get together, meet people, maybe do some brainstorming and hacking, this day is completely freeform. The public are welcome on all 3 days.

There is a real buzz about this conference – people on different projects are telling me “finally, I’ve been dying to meet people on these projects for years”, or “I have so much to learn, and I’d love to meet all these people”. I have no idea what to expect, but I think it’s going to be great, and the attendance levels are probably going to blow us away.

David and Oscar, I hope ye know what we’ve let ourselves in for…

Air France update

General 2 Comments

I got this mail (verbatim) from Air France “cyberservice” this morning. Interesting read, even if it doesn’t really explain the variations in price I saw on different flights yesterday.

Cher internaute,

Merci d’avoir pris contact avec

Vos remarques, que nous avons lues avec grand interet, appellent quelques
precisions sur la politique tarifaire d Air France.

Chaque Compagnie definit sa strategie commerciale en fonction de ses propres
criteres, mais globalement celle-ci repose sur deux

axes principaux : la satisfaction de la demande et l equilibre des couts.

Air France

Pour un meme parcours, differents tarifs sont proposes avec des dates de vente
specifiques pour des periodes bien determinees, ainsi

qu un quota de sieges limites pour certains d entre eux. Les tarifs les plus
interessants sont souvent les premiers vendus et les offres de

sieges fluctuent tres rapidement selon les demandes. De plus, en echange d un
prix attractif, ces tarifs comportent certaines contraintes

tels les changements de reservation non autorises ou un sejour limite.

A la date de votre devis, nous vous avons propose le tarif le plus interessant.
cependant, dans un contexte concurrentiel evident,

Air France doit adapter en permanence son offre commerciale et en particulier
ses propositions tarifaires.

Il est alors effectivement possible que notre offre soit evolutive dans le
temps, pour devenir plus attractive.

Ceci rejoint d autres types d activites pour lesquelles les pratiques
commerciales sont similaires a celles du transport aerien.

Nous esperons que ces informations vous donneront une meilleure connaissance de
la politique tarifaire de la Compagnie.

En souhaitant qu Air France sache garder votre confiance, nous restons a votre
disposition au 0820 320 820 (0.12 euro/mn) tous les jours
de 08h30 a 20h00 .

L Equipe du Commerce Electronique

In other words, “we have cheap tickets for different dates. Sometimes, the price can come down dramatically if you wait a while, but usually the cheapest tickets get sold first.” Like I said, it doesn’t explain the way every flight on the Friday went from 42 euros to 71 euros in the space of 25 minutes (maybe they only had 1 42 euro flight left for that day?) but it’s incredibly frustrating to be “segmented” like this.

Joel Spolsky wrote about segmenting and said:

The airline industry got really, really good at segmenting and ended up charging literally a different price to every single person on the plane. As a result most people felt they weren’t getting the best deal, and they didn’t like the airlines. When a new alternative arose in the form of low cost carriers (Southwest, jetBlue, etc.) customers had no loyalty whatsover to the legacy airlines that had been trying to pick their pockets for all those years.

He also said that segmentation resulted in “a long-term erosion of customer goodwill caused by blatant price discrimination”.

I agree whole-heartedly.