First Board Meeting

Disclaimer: apparently board members aren’t supposed to comment on board meetings until the official minutes have been published (up to 2 weeks after the meeting). However, Jonathan does publish timely summaries of the meetings to bridge that gap. This post isn’t intended as an official record of the meeting. Read it as if it was a summary by a non-board-member listening to the public part of the meeting.

I attended my first OpenStack Foundation Board meeting today.

When I was observing the board from the outside (yet not listening in on their calls), I found the meeting minutes a fairly colourless way of following what was going on. I’m going to attempt to write up some thoughts after each meeting, but no promises :-)

The first thing that struck me is that we spend a fair amount of time messing about with the conference call system, taking a roll call, debating proper procedure and the like. My guess is that over the course of the 150 minute call, we spent 30 minutes on this stuff. Still, given that the Foundation is still relatively new and there are 24 board members attending along with some Foundation staff members, it actually wasn’t terrible.

Another thing is that I’d say roughly only half of the folks on the call actively contributed to the discussions. I’m curious whether that was because it’s difficult to jump into a discussion on such a big call or just that all points were being covered satisfactorily by those contributing. I myself often sit through conference calls without saying a word for the latter reason. Not today, though.

The first meaty item on the agenda was Jonathan giving a nice 30 minute summary of how the Foundation has progressed since it was formed. At one point, Jonathan had too keep going while some hold music played in the background. It was all really positive stuff, nicely putting our achievements into context. I hope the slide deck will be forwarded to the foundation mailing list.

Next up was Alice King with a proposed charter for the Legal Affairs Committee (which doesn’t have a page on our governance page – we should fix that). The committee was formed under the bylaws:

4.15 Legal Affairs Committee. The Legal Affairs Committee shall be an advisory committee to the Board of Directors and shall be comprised of no more than five (5) members. The Board of Directors shall appoint the members of Legal Affairs Committee. The Legal Affairs Committee shall advise the Board of Directors on the management of: (i) compliance with and enforcement of the Trademark Policy, (ii) strategies to promote the efficient intellectual property protection of the OpenStack Project, including without limitation, the resolution of patent and other intellectual property issues and disputes related to the Members’ use of the OpenStack Project, and (iii) all programs that the Board of Directors is considering relating to intellectual property management and protection.

but this proposed charter attempted to elaborate that the role of the committee would be as policy advisor in the area of Intellectual Policy. This seemed to catch some board members by surprise (including me) and there were a bunch of really good points like whether a name like “IP Policy Committee” would be more appropriate and that more diversity (including non-laywers) beyond the existing 5 members is needed for such a charter. I’m very happy to see the level of interest in getting this right, because it’s hugely important. In the end, we agreed to the charter as propose but without the list of specific projects the committee might undertake. The whole topic will be revisited in more detail at our next meeting.

Next up, I was presenting as a Technical Committee representative about the progress of the Incubation and Core Update Committee. More specifically, I was briefing the board on how the TC intends to proceed with the incubation process for Ceilometer and Heat based on our understanding of the TC’s existing mandate. This is all covered by an excellent diagram from Thierry and a wordy etherpad. This seemed to be fairly well received, barring some confusion about whether a vote was required.

At this point, our scheduled time was almost up but we still had two agenda items that really needed covering. Both needed to be discussed in private (for good reasons IMHO), however one of them will be adequetly summarised in the minutes while the other will be open to public discussion very soon.

All in all, I have to say I enjoyed the meeting and look forward to the full day meeting on Feb 12 in San Francisco.

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