Issues Within The X.Org Foundation?
For the past two weeks elections have been going on by X.Org members to elect five people to serve as board of directors for the X.Org Foundation, the formal 501(c)(3) organization that backs the development of the X.Org project. The elections for the board of directors takes place annually replacing four of the eight members each time around, but this year the elections have been particularly interesting. The X.Org Foundation itself isn't in the public spotlight too much and there really isn't much in the way of public communication and involvement outside of this gang of eight. Since the elections started there has been a rather explosive mailing list discussion started by Luc Verhaegen and it has revealed new details about this foundation.
It all started out by Luc asking about company affiliations of the candidates seeking a position on the board. The X.Org Foundation bylaws states that only two people from a given company are allowed a seat on the board, but this year there are three candidates from Intel: Eric Anholt, Keith Packard, and Carl Worth. After that, Luc dived in with another question asking about minutes from the X.Org Foundation meetings and the inability for others to see them. Additionally, as an X.Org member, he inquired about the financial position of the X.Org Foundation since that information isn't readily available to its members or the general public. In response to Luc's question, Daniel Stone admitted that they do "an abysmal job at keeping minutes" and that its hard for the board members to even always meet on IRC due to time zone differences. It was then debated why a summary of the X.Org Foundation is not published on the Wiki after the state of the X.Org Foundation is supposed to be discussed at every XDC/XDS conference, but not every X.Org member is present at these events. The lack of time was basically that answer. The X.Org board meetings that take place on IRC are also supposed to be open to the public, but the details surrounding those meetings aren't readily available, up until now.
Next the discussion turned to the financial position of the X.Org Foundation as even some board members are uncertain about the cash levels and haven't seen statements in years. Keith Packard them stated that the foundation currently has around $125,000 USD on hand and then detailed the $10,380 worth of costs to the X.Org Foundation in the past year, which included XDS 2008, XDC 2009, and web hosting for the project. Once that was said, however, the discussion turned to the price of web-hosting. The X.Org Foundation is paying $3,000 USD annually for hosting at MIT across three servers even though they aren't all utilized. For a few days the discussion then turned to these servers and what should be done with them.
Yesterday, Egbert Eich of Novell mentioned on the list that at the start of 2007 the X.Org Foundation had $222,816 within their accounts. If this is the case, their burn rate for the past three years is approximately $33,000 annually, which is a far cry from the $10,380 that was stated for the past year.
So far the last of these questions have gone unanswered, but as always we are watching the mailing list for updates. Hopefully this ongoing discussion will result in greater communication and transparency within the X.Org Foundation as it seems the status quo causes grief for many on both sides of the table.
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