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Bruce Perens Voted off SPI Board 99

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the making-time-for-the-important-things dept.
An anonymous reader writes "ComputerWorld is reporting that open source evangelist Bruce Perens has been ousted from the board of Software in the Public Interest. Even though he founded the organization he said it was time to move on, stating that he probably shouldn't have run but just couldn't let it go. It seems that for the time being Perens in content to focus on the truly important things, like watching his son grow and making time for his family. I just hope that he isn't gone for too long."
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Bruce Perens Voted off SPI Board

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  • Miswording (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dshaw858 (828072) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @05:21AM (#15872216) Homepage Journal
    It sounds like he was forcefully ejected from his own board, but the story leads me to believe that this is what he wanted- even the slashdot summary states that he had said it was "time to go" and that he wanted more time with his family and son... so why was he 'ousted'? Or perhaps I'm simply reading something wrong...
    • Re:Miswording (Score:5, Insightful)

      by retrosteve (77918) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @05:27AM (#15872224) Homepage Journal
      Could actually be a bit of both. Running for a position when your heart isn't in it can lead to losing that position. Or getting booted off your own board can help you see that you really haven't been prioritizing it.
    • Re:Miswording (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @05:30AM (#15872237)
      'ousted' is almost certainly the wrong word, it implies he was kicked out, whereas in fact the article shows that essentially he was simply not re-elected at a normal set of elections, and that he understands why, and thinks he probably shouldn't have stood in the first place...
    • Re:Miswording (Score:3, Informative)

      by portmapper (991533)
      > It sounds like he was forcefully ejected from his own board, but the story leads me to believe that this is what he wanted-

      "forcefully ejected"? He was not re-elected.
    • Re:Miswording (Score:5, Informative)

      by lxs (131946) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @05:33AM (#15872242)
      Well, looking at the attendance records (which were posted with the election announcement, I can't seem to find them now), you'd see that he was absent from meetings very often, more than anyone else in fact, so I guess this solution is best for all involved.
    • Re:Miswording (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:41AM (#15872393) Homepage Journal
      I missed oh, 8 out of 12 board meetings due to being on airplanes (doing stuff for Open Source) and otherwise being busy. And that really pissed people off. I am working on things like the software patents issue and have prioritized that over stuff like SPI. Although I am spending time on my son and view that as my highest priority, I have not retired and am still working full-time. Half of my paid time for Sourcelabs is to work on Open Source issues of my own choice under my own direction. The other half is to work on Open Source issues for Sourcelabs customers.

      I think working full-time on Open Source issues of my own choice may be in my future. I'm not sure when, but am reasonably sure I could get that funded now.

      Bruce

      • Re:Miswording (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hope Thelps (322083)
        I missed oh, 8 out of 12 board meetings due to being on airplanes (doing stuff for Open Source) and otherwise being busy. And that really pissed people off.

        That shouldn't piss people off but it is a good reason to not re-elect you. It's better that someone with the time to attend the meetings is on the Board (provided that they are also otherwise suited to the position). That in no way denigrates the other things you do with your time.
        • Re:Miswording (Score:5, Informative)

          by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:04PM (#15874433) Homepage
          The problem wasn't that he missed the meetings. OSI has a policy that if you miss two meetings in a row without excuse, you can be removed from the board. You can MISS all the meetings you want, but you have to say why. SPI has a similar policy, and Bruce didn't follow it.

          But more than that, Bruce made his election a referendum on changing SPI's role from organizing other projects to the role of an activist position against software patents. It's understandable that Bruce wants some place to stand to push his (our) agenda, but the SPI membership decided that the SPI board was not that place. I encouraged Bruce to start up a project underneath SPI, which advice he is yet to take.

      • Re:Miswording (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Thanks for the explanation.


        I've always wondered if rich organizations (read microsoft) could hijack the boards of groups like the FSF, OSDL, etc.


        IMHO it's already happened with the OSI - largely corporate sponsored, and makes decisions like it is -- but by grooming a few trojan-horse-board members it'd be an interesting way to attack open source.


        Am I paranoid, or does this actually sound like it could happen?

        • Re:Miswording (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Russ Nelson (33911)
          Oh, yes, no question but that I'm a corporate tool. I suck up to Microsoft every day. Heck, I'm even wearing an Open Source Labs at Microsoft T-shirt (they were giving them away at OSCON)! I've taken the pledge, drunk the kool-aid.

          Or maybe you're an idiot?
      • Re:Miswording (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        A mere 1 hour and 20 minutes after first post, the subject of the discussion begins to participate in the conversation. I just think that's really cool. :)

        Bruce, thanks for adding your side of the story and thanks for reminding me why I read Slashdot.
        • Re:Miswording (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:38AM (#15872716) Homepage Journal
          It's lucky that I was in the right time zone and not in a meeting where I would not be able to do this or away from good net access. I don't catch stories like this every time. But you are all welcome to email me (bruce at perens dot com) if there's anything you think I should look at. Usually I'm able to write back. Once in a while I miss a message, it's OK to send a repeat to get my attention.

          Bruce

          • Re:Miswording (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Marcion (876801)
            I think it is really brave that Bruce came on here to discuss a post about himself.

            As for the random SPI board, as an old Catholic Priest I used to know said when asked why he did not attend formal meetings, "For God so loved the world, he did not send a committee".
      • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:50AM (#15872537)
        From the site [technocrat.net] linked in Bruce Perens' sig:


        Another of our roots is a similar site called Slashdot.org . Slashdot played a formative role as the community voice of Open Source / Free Software during a time of tremendous growth in that community. Unfortunately, Slashdot has more recently abdicated that role to become, in the words of its editors, "a geek culture site". We recognise the lure of the mass-market. As we write this, Slashdot is within the top 300 sites on the web by readership, and we congratulate them. But the serious work is going to need to go on elsewhere. We're taking up that flag.

        Another issue with Slashdot is immaturity. It's rife with trolls and other detriments to the signal-to-noise ratio. We start out on a path to improve the level of discussion over that in Slashdot by eschewing the "Anonymous Coward" who is rampant there. If you don't want to take responsibility for your words, they don't belong here. We encourage you to put your full name in your login, and participate in all discussion as a known individual. We will take other measures to maintain the highest possible quality of discussion as they become necessary.


        So, whaddya saying, no ACs and if I want to read about Joss Whedon's grocery list I'll have to call his press agent?

        I am *SO* there, Bruce! Congratulations!

        (But do you kinda sorta think that your new competitive venture against slashdot is why your own dirty laundry got posted here by an AC? I'm just askin'...)
        • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:27AM (#15872663) Homepage Journal
          (But do you kinda sorta think that your new competitive venture against slashdot is why your own dirty laundry got posted here by an AC? I'm just askin'...)

          I don't know. Technocrat.net is still very small potatoes next to Slashdot. Makes about $10 a day on google ads, which I pay to Zogger, the only paid editor. I doubt the Slashdot operators would mind a bit. But I do find that stuff I submit is less likely to run than links to stuff I submitted to other sites which are then submitted to Slashdot by third parties. You would think that Slashdot would like to get the news from the horses's mouth rather than some other part of the horse :-) One of the editors explained to me once that they do defensive postings, which means that they get so many people submitting the same article that they post it just to get them to shut up, but they really did not want to run that story at all. Maybe that's what happened this time. Interesting the effect that the internet has on editorial policy.

          Bruce

      • The fact that you were busy for 8 out of 12 board meetings is semi-justifiable if you had more important things to do, but the fact that you didn't send regrets (which you've apologised for elsewhere) was entirely unjustifiable. I think you can reasonably argue that you felt SPI wasn't high on your list of priorities, but some of your behaviour made it seem like it wasn't on your list of priorities at all. The electorate seemed to agree, and I'm glad you seem to agree that it was probably the right choice.
      • I think working full-time on Open Source issues of my own choice may be in my future. I'm not sure when, but am reasonably sure I could get that funded now.

        Ah, if only the rest of us could get such an opportunity! (Speaking of which, do you have any suggestions for a computer science student/Free Software advocate like myself?)

      • It seems to me that Bruce is trying to take on too much. It's a problem people fall victim to who are self-motivated to solve some of the harder problems.

        I see the change as a good thing -- if Bruce can keep the personal finances going well to have party-time Sourcelabs and part-time focused advocacy, then this is great! I've met Bruce in the past, and have seen him present a number of times, and am glad that he is putting a priority on some of the advocacy work. Sometimes organizations will come with

  • by Error27 (100234) <error27&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @05:51AM (#15872286) Homepage Journal
    Here's a link with election info [spi-inc.org]. Here are the election results [spi-inc.org].

    But for me the real question is whether it is time for a magnetic floating bed? [slashdot.org]
  • What is SPI? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:17AM (#15872336)
    Could someone give a short description of SPI? How is it different from other similar organisations? What does it do that these organisations don't?
  • Most of the time, people are not re-elected because of personality clashes with the rest of the board. Perhaps Bruce has an abrasive or forceful personality that didn't sit well with the rest of the board? Perhaps there's an ego problem somewhere here? Ego is what drives this industry, and ego is what gets most people into problems with others, no matter how much they want to cover it up or deny it or not even admit it to themselves.
    • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:48AM (#15872402) Homepage Journal
      SPI and Debian have always been a home of personalities and strongly-held opinions, and I have no shortage of either :-) . But for me, this was really a matter of where I can and can't put my time. Raising my son is #1. After that, there's the most important issues of Open Source at the moment - and I judge the software patenting problem to be the biggest of those right now. SPI and Debian, unfortunately, are lower on my list. So, no, I should not have run.

      Ever hear me on the air? Not much time for ham radio right now, either. I made it to Dayton and turned down a position on the TAPR board. So much to do, so little Bruce. Sigh.

      • So much to do, so little Bruce. Sigh.
        My suggestion is to clone yourself [wikipedia.org].
      • Ever hear me on the air? Not much time for ham radio right now, either. I made it to Dayton and turned down a position on the TAPR board. So much to do, so little Bruce.

        I hear ya. I'm sure I've heard you on the air at some point. I'm fairly active in using packet for tactical disaster comm, but I hadn't heard anything really useful come out of TAPR in some time. I guess now I'm in Sedona, I need to revisit the issue. I've gotten really, really busy with a horse business I got involved in, and most of m
  • by dkone (457398) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:12AM (#15872444)
    How am I supposed to hear rampant rumor and speculation when the subject of the story is posting the truth? This is Slashdot after all; there is a tradition to uphold here people.

    I for one welcome our... ahh never mind that won't work here.

    DK
    • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:26AM (#15872478) Homepage Journal
      You're also welcome to call me at 510-375-0820 if you want more truth! I am in Norway at the moment, so watch the time zone. That's a GSM phone, Sourcelabs will pick up the bill.

      How the hell can rumours spread when the darned subject PUBLISHES HIS PHONE NUMBER ON THE INTERNET. This is no fun at all! :-)

      FYI:

      10 times as many people are willing to converse with me on slashdot as to send me an email.
      10 times as many people are willing to email me as call on the phone.
      So, the phone calls end up being managable. This is a social phenomenon worthy of study. Something about the relative intimacy of various forms of communication and willingness to engage in them.

      Thanks

      Bruce

      • by capt.Hij (318203) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:48AM (#15872533) Homepage Journal
        Okay, this is obvisouly the worst kind of karma whoring possible. How about we take Bruce's highest moderated replies and we all post our own questions?
        • OK, here's my question for the grandparent post:
          Hi Bruce.

          What phone number would I call if I wanted some real good phone sex?

          How many /.ers do you think would call if you told us a good number? Do you think the phone sex operator could handle all the calls?
      • On a phone call, you might figure out that we're dogs.
      • by Progman3K (515744) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:40AM (#15872729)
        Good luck to you.
        You're an inspiration to many.

        By the way, I have a buddy who was up until very recently working in Montreal for a fairly big hardware/software firm. His wife got offered a job with Cisco in the US (South Carolina) and they (plus their two children) decided to move.

        This meant (for him) abandonning his well-paying, well-established job.
        I asked him what he planned to do for a job down in Raleigh, he answered "Take care of the kids"
        "What?"
        "Yup, that's it, that's all. I've been too busy with a million activities" he went on "I want to take care of my kids"
        I thought about for a second, smiled and said "Those kids will be luckier than most"
        • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:51AM (#15872777) Homepage Journal
          Thanks! Valerie (my wife) and Stanley (my 6-year-old son) are here in Norway with me. I am teaching about Open Source at HiA (Agder University College) in Grimstad, but the main reason for the trip is so that Stanley can live in another country for three weeks and see that the way we do things in the U.S. is not the only way. I am very, very lucky to be able to do this. It's all because I gave away my software and talked about it! Everything that I've given away has come back 10 times over.

          Thanks

          Bruce

        • "His wife got offered a job with Cisco in the US (South Carolina)..." | "I asked him what he planned to do for a job down in Raleigh..."

          Raleigh, *NORTH* Carolina -- I know few people care, but those of us from NC are a possessive bunch. :) Either that, or the wife will have *quite* the commute!

          I agree with your sentiment wholeheartedly, though, nitpicking aside. Being able to put family and life first is one of the best decisions anyone can make, especially for people like Bruce with such a wide range of in
      • Now that's balls for you - publishing your mobile# on the net.

        Hope you don't get too many weirdoes calling you

        (PS mod parent up) :-)
        • Do you want to know where manners still exist? People don't call until they have something really important. It's always been that way.

          Bruce

          • Do you want to know where manners still exist? People don't call until they have something really important. It's always been that way.


            You don't have to endure the sales calls I get. :o)

            Then again, now that you've published your mobile number...
          • I'm really important and I'm lonely. So if I call you, will you hand the phone to the nearest hot chick? Preferably one who is a Linux freak and video game robot?

            More on the subject of the story (or maybe not) yesterday my kidney doctor told me next month she was going to work once a week so she could see more of her kids. What a coincidence.

            Anyway, why not make technocrat.net P2P? I know at least The Circle [thecircle.org.au] has a way of filtering out undesireable posts using P2P. There really needs to be a good P2P new

        • He's done this before, but I jotted it down then and the number was different. I wonder if this is a habit, and/or if these numbers have expiration dates. Maybe that wasn't his mobile.
      • Holy crap, Mr. Perens, I can't believe you just invited the internet to /. your cell phone, **while you're in Europe**. Wow, you're dedicated. Also quite possibly insane. Or will be once the ACs are through with your digits:)

        Best of luck to you with everything.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Bruce is correct - remember Steve Wozniak phone?

        In the early 1980's Steve Wozniak still had a published phone #. (actually 2 published #s I believe, one was a polish-joke-of-the-week answering machine, the other was in his den)

        But you could still call the two lines. Steve Wozniak did not mind callers, and had a lot more fans and interested parties in 1983 than Bruce typically has.

        I think Bruce is a stand up guy and to be RESPECTED.

      • Jeez, dude, you should have used the LeetKey extension to encode that number as a hex or something :P Would have ensured that only technical folks would call. As is, you will just have to learn to keep that phone off at most times.
        • Jeez, dude, you should have used the LeetKey extension to encode that number as a hex or something :P

          Then people would call just to demonstrate they'd figured it out. And also some poor old grandma would be bothered by the rest who didn't figure it out properly. ;-)

      • I'd say its a matter of respect for you and your time, more than anything else. Notice that from /. post to phone we get increasingly more intrusive- a /. post takes seconds of your time, and can be easily ignored. An email takes more time, as a response is more likely. A phone is an interruption into your life, when you might have important things to do. So the threshold of importance needed to initiate each level up increases. Take me for example- I respect you, and its always interesting to talk t
      • It's also a lot more expensive to call a voice line than send an email. Slashdot is the here and now phenomenon, whereas email is more effort.
        • And completely traceable most of the time as well. My Dad was a high school teacher as a second career and received more than his share of prank and threatening phone calls. The pranks he ignored, but the threats and obscene calls got tracked and about 95% resolved. That included the kid who called threatening to firebomb the house or somesuch from a public phone. Mall security cameras for the win, Bob. The police evidently take that sort of thing pretty seriously.
      • Something about the relative intimacy of various forms of communication and willingness to engage in them.

        Something about using the least intrusive means of communication that still has a reasonable chance of success, I think.

        People are naturally reticent about wasting others' time or being too intrusive. If they have a reasonable expectation of getting a response on a forum, they will go that route, if not - e-mail, if not - IM, if not-phone, if not - they'll door-step you.

      • So, the phone calls end up being managable. This is a social phenomenon worthy of study. Something about the relative intimacy of various forms of communication and willingness to engage in them.

        I'd say it's more a function of the natures of the different modes of communication, and common courtesy. First, phone calls are different from emails because they're synchronous (both parties have to be communicating at the same time) and emails aren't. Second, emails are different from Slashdot comments because t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:41AM (#15872512)
    I'm sorry but the code is more important than watching some bag of meat grow up.

  • Dead (Score:5, Funny)

    by Richard W.M. Jones (591125) <[gro.aixenna] [ta] [hcir]> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:52AM (#15872544) Homepage
    I think they just kicked him off the board because he's dead [geekz.co.uk].

    Rich.

  • Thanks, Bruce (Score:3, Interesting)

    by osgeek (239988) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @09:55AM (#15873261) Homepage Journal
    Just answering the /. questions/comments as they're posted beats the heck out of one of those interviews where /. picks the top-rated posts and you get this long carefully-planned monologue-type response two weeks later.

    Good luck with the software patents thing. You obviously understand how important it is, and many of us here do too. Thanks for spending your time on it.
  • A while back, a former boss and I were talking, about moving to new jobs, etc. Came across a cool quote that day:

    "No one ever got to the end of their life and looked around and said 'I wish I had spent more time working'"

    You go Bruce.

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