[maemo-community] maemo.org paid contributors (was Re: Monthly Sprint Proposal)

From: Quim Gil quim.gil at nokia.com
Date: Wed Apr 8 10:25:53 EEST 2009

ext Jeremiah Foster wrote:
> Hello,
> On Apr 7, 2009, at 8:20, Quim Gil wrote:
>> when it's the time for contract renewals (every six months)
>> Tero will basically come to you (the council) and ask whether you are
>> happy or not in order to proceed.
> You have an obligation to be a bit more formal than that.
> The professionals who work on maemo.org work very hard, they deserve
> the courtesy and respect of being treated with professionalism.

I think I'm being as formal as you can be. And I think the way of
working described proofs how big is our respect to your professionalism,
and to the seriousness of the council as well.

Nokia would not fund full community salaries in these times when so many
corporate salaries are being cut and it wouldn't have the amount of
trust is putting on the maemo.org team and the council if we wouldn't
believe that you are professional, responsible and able to manage that work.

Maybe someone thinks that just because Nokia is a big company we can
throw away money in whatever makes the community feeling good. No,
people like Tero or myself are accountable of the results obtained with
the budget invested in maemo.org. We could have tried a path of
micromanagement treating the maemo.org team just as Nokia employees at
our service that happen to work out of our premises. Instead we have
decided to go for the path of 'liberating community members', letting
them work based on the tasks and agenda agreed between themselves and
the community.

The fact that the community (represented by the council) is ultimately
who evaluates that work is just a consequence of that. Of course Tero
and myself are following what you do and of course we expect
professionalism, deliveries and solutions to the most urgent and
important problems. We will raise the flag if we see something is
utterly suspicious or wrong. But I'm certain is the community (council)
who ultimate decides.

Some examples to be more clear:

- The council hired you, Jeremiah. They asked for our opinions but they
decided to hire you. It makes sense that they are the ones deciding
whether you have worked according to the expectations when hired or not.

- Imagine the council liked you a lot but we at Nokia thought you
contract should not be renewed. What kind of emancipated community would
allow them Nokia to have the veto?

- Imagine the council disliked you a lot but we at Nokia actually liked
your work. They don't want to renew you but we want? Same question as
above + how comfortable and efasible would be your work at the end when
everybody knows you are 'the guy Nokia wanted to be in the post'?

- Look at Stormy Peters, executive director of the GNOME Foundation. She
was hired by the foundation board (equivalent to our council) but she is
paid with the funds donated by the advisory board companies (that in our
case would be Nokia). It's the board who decides whether Stormy gets
renewed or not, and any veto coming from any company in the advisory
board (or all of them) would be probably considered a corporate
interference in the community life.

> For  
> example, the virtual machine which runs garage.maemo.org is heavily  
> burdened and has spikes in polling making it hard to administer. I  
> think Niels does an amazing job keeping it running and available to  
> the community, but that might not be visible to the council since they  
> do not log in to the server and do actual work there.

The work is visible to the council and whoever if you report it. Just
like you just did in these 5 lines. That's the whole point of this thread.

> Turning to the council for a judgement of people's performance leaves  
> lots of room for personal opinions and unprofessional appraisals, this  
> will almost certainly be an area of contention that will require  
> delicate handling.

Only if you think the council is opinionated and unprofessional. If we
would think so we wouldn't give them such decision, nor the trust and
exposure we are giving them in other areas.

"Every country has the government it deserves", says an adagio in
international politics. It can be translated to free software community
projects as well. We believe the Maemo community is good-willing and
mature enough to have a mature and good-willing council.

> What you both (qole and Quim) seem to forget is that there are people  
> in these positions. Neither of you are being particularly professional  
> in your ad hoc decision making. I strongly encourage both of you to  
> think about the people involved, how to clearly define the roles so  
> that those in them understand their responsibilities and can execute  
> them, and to clearly define the roles and obligations of the council  
> vis-a-vis the maemo.org staff.
> If you want greater transparency and accountability, you need to  
> assume greater responsibility for that to happen.

I wasn't asking for greater transparency and accountability for Nokia,
but for the whole community (including Nokia).

I don't think the community (including Nokia) forgets that the maemo.org
team is made of  people (on the contrary, you are getting much more
personal trust, understanding and appraisal an average employee would
get in an average corporate job).

I think roles and obligations need to be defined, just not by Nokia only
and directly. The maemo.org team and the council (again, as
representatives of the community) are the ones driving that. We follow
and say whatever we feel like saying.

Sorry if my email was misinterpreted. I hope you don't feel unvalued and
ignored, because actually we think the maemo.org team and the way it
works is one of the most valuable things this community has.

Quim Gil
open source advocate
Maemo Software @ Nokia

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