[Foundation] A Vision for the Board

Adam Theo theo at theoretic.com
Wed Jul 31 03:26:26 CDT 2002

My apologies for being pretty absent the past few days. I'd wanted to be 
heavily involved in discussions about the Board when they started, but 
I'm just now getting over a migraine headache I've had for the past 3 
days. I'm having to type very slowly when I get the energy.

I think that all of your pijts are very correct and well said, Peter. 
I'd also like to add "advocacy" to the list, expanding on the "outreach" 
and "fund raising" points. Advocacy would be all about doing or at least 
organizing the writing of articles to publications, being actively 
pro-Jabber with other project's mailing lists, attending "smaller" 
conferences and conventions in an official Jabber copacity, etc... I'm 
sure the list is much longer, but I'll have to put in the brainpower to 
find them when I'm feeling better.

What I have to say on the IP issues (trademark, IETF control over 
protocol, and patent claims) is that while I've been traditionally quite 
in-active in them, I'm beginning to realize the great importance of 
them. This is where the future of Jabber lies even more than with the 
protocol itself. I personally would like to find practical ways for the 
JSF to gain full control of the trademark ASAP, for the JSF to retain 
full control over the protocol instead of the IETF, and for patents to 
be allowed (heck, maybe even encouraged!) but **only** (stressed with 
"over my dead body otherwise") under completely free and open terms that 
don't hinder innovation on the part of members and non-members in the 

Hope this made sense...

Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
> Until now, the Board has played a minor role within the JSF. Indeed, the
> only actions taken by the first Board have been to approve the Bylaws,
> Articles of Incorporation, and initial members of the Foundation, and to
> approve the purchase of two servers for use by the JSF and associated
> projects (e.g., JabberStudio). The Board has been silent regarding the
> Jabber trademark, the JSF's intellectual property rights policy, managing
> the JabberPowered program, recruiting new sponsors, fundraising efforts,
> and the like. Suffice it to say that the Board has taken a "hands-off"
> approach to the management of the JSF, leaving decisions to the members or
> to the executive team (Peter Saint-Andre and Andre Durand).
> With the election of a new Board in August 2002, the JSF and its members
> have an opportunity to change the role of the Board from passive to
> active. Understanding what that really means takes some vision, however,
> because the Board has been so passive until now. This document presents my
> personal vision for the role that the Board of Directors can play within
> the Jabber Software Foundation.
> Some members might object that we don't really need or want an active
> Board. After all, the JSF is a technical organization, so all we really
> need is the Council, right? Well, that's one perspective, but it's not my
> perspective, because I see a great deal of scope for business-oriented
> leadership that can complement the technical leadership provided by the
> Council (always recognizing that the JSF is a membership organization and
> that all decisions need to be in the best interests of the members). Not
> to mention that the Bylaws say we need a Board, so we'd better elect one.
> An active Board can help move the Jabber community forward on many fronts.
> Here are a few of the areas where I see the greatest potential benefit:
>    1. Fundraising. It's a fact of life that certain activities require
> money. For instance, there might be a lot of value in bringing core
> developers together for focused discussions to solve problems like
> pub/sub, security, and service discovery, and feature negotation. But to
> do that, we may need to help defray travel costs for certain participants.
> If the JSF has a fairly steady stream of income, it can make faster
> technical progress. And Board members can help us raise money by
> recruiting more sponsors and managing money-making activities like T-shirt
> sales, specialized Linux distributions, and so on.
>    2. Legal issues. Right behind the necessity for money comes the
> necessity for a solid legal foundation to the JSF. Issues like the Jabber
> trademark and the JSF's intellectual property rights policy need to be
> worked out, sooner rather than later. The Board can provide leadership in
> working through these issues, perhaps by working to find legal
> professionals who are willing to provide pro bono assistance.
>    3. Brand management. The JSF has done next to nothing with the
> JabberPowered program. We need to set up technical standards, testing
> suites, and a focused marketing effort that lets the world know how
> important it is to be "JabberPowered". The Board can provide much of the
> energy to define this program and encourage companies and open-source
> projects to "come out of the closet" regarding their use of Jabber.
>    4. Outreach. The Jabber community could benefit greatly by
> collaborating with interested companies, universities, standards bodies
> (e.g., IETF, W3C, Wireless Village), and open projects such as Apache,
> KDE, DotGNU, and Creative Commons. Board members can actively pursue
> opportunities for working with such organizations.
> Some members might ask: do we really need a Board to get these things
> done? Well, maybe not. But do we really need a Council to move the
> protocol forward? Well, maybe not, but it sure helps. I see the
> interactions between the JEP Editor and the Council as quite analogous to
> the interactions between the Executive Director and the Board. Since I
> currently fill the role of both JEP Editor and Executive Director, I know
> that I could use help on the business side of things, because we haven't
> made nearly as much progress on the items listed above as we have on the
> protocol.
> So my question is: who wants to step up and help with these things by
> joining the Board? Oh sorry, I'll guess I'll ask that officially in my
> next email. :)
> And, of course, discussion of these topics is welcome!
> Peter
> --
> Peter Saint-Andre
> Jabber Software Foundation
> http://www.jabber.org/people/stpeter.html
> _______________________________________________
> Members mailing list
> Members at jabber.org
> http://mailman.jabber.org/listinfo/members

     /\  Adam Theo, Age 23, Tallahassee FL USA
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