Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
Board election results.

Board election results.

(Apologies for this being late — the announcement isn’t news now, but at least some of the follow-up is fresh.)

As seen here and here:

Tom “spot” Callaway, Jesse Keating, and Seth Vidal have been elected to full two-release terms on the Fedora Project Board. Jef Spaleta has been re-elected to a half-length, one-release term. You can read the entire result set here.

Chris Tyler has been appointed to the final seat on the Board.

It should be noted that out of over 4,000 accounts with a completed CLA, only about 250 people voted, or a little over 6% of the eligible population. However, that is roughly twice the number who voted in the last Board election in November/December 2007, so there is a bit of an improvement at least.

The Board’s mandate is to address the overall progress of the Fedora Project, and in doing that we delegate much of the technical decision-making to other components like FESCo. The Board maintains a stronger focus on community empowerment in the collateral parts of the Project, and addresses other legal, policy, and strategic issues as needed. I believe all the current and new members of the Board will do an excellent job of helping us maintain this focus.

Of course, the Fedora Project has never eschewed change, so there’s been a quite interesting (if at times contentious) thread on the FAB list thread on whether the succession planning for the Board is achieving the goals that we want for the Board and Fedora in general. I’m interested in improving this system too, and there have already been several good suggestions floated on the list. This will be one of the first action items for the new Board to consider.

I’m still a little perplexed as to how to fix one of the most pernicious problems the Board has faced since its formation — how to show accomplishments. Many of the issues the Board takes care of are ones that can’t be posted to lists or written in our notes, because of their sensitivity. This includes legal issues, for example. I’m not sure how many people follow the work of their local (as opposed to national) governments, but separating these issues from public meetings and working on them in “executive sessions” is pretty much de rigeur.

However, this doesn’t mean the Board can’t do a better job of exposing the non-sensitive work publicly — maybe through including additional notes, more frequent public meetings, or other improvements. In addition, Fedora members should not hesitate to ask questions of Board members or on the FAB list, in the same way as people should question their government leaders. If you have a question where a Board member stands on a specific issue, just ask. The answer can guide you in casting your vote in later elections. (And public support matters for appointees too, as Jesse Keating pointed out earlier on FAB.)

This kind of dialogue leads to much healthier governance than sitting on the sidelines and complaining about those guys in {Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, the Board…}. (But we still welcome those discussions too — and after all, “They also serve/Who only stand and wait.”)


  1. @Jeremy: It’s a little disingenuous to focus on a drop in percentage, when our number of account holders has exploded in the last few months. Is it really so much of a success if brand new account holders simply cast votes without better education about what Board members do or think? Suffice it to say that higher voter turnout doesn’t automatically equate to better governance.

    Certainly apathy has something to do with this. But that apathy isn’t necessarily aimed at governance; look at the fact that most people involved in Fedora will spend extraordinary amounts of time debating technical minutiae — not to say that isn’t worthwhile — but rarely get involved in issues involving philosophical bedrock principles or the more “touchy-feely” details of contributor outreach. Given that, and desire to the contrary notwithstanding, should we really be surprised by low voting percentages?

    Nevertheless, I *do* definitely want to see better information coming out to the voters from the Board, improvement in our succession planning, and more general sentiment from project members that the Board is working hard on their behalf.

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