Open and voluntary membership is a point of principle for me, so I see SPI’s membership structure as a big plus. As I wrote back in August:
In my opinion, a key difference of Software in the Public Interest is that it is managed by free software developers in a more-or-less democratic fashion. Even though I’ve failed in two elections, I still think it’s better than the alternatives.
One of the other major free software organisations has moved in the right direction this month, with the announcement that FSFE adds Fellowship representation to General Assembly. It’s not perfect – I still disagree with fellowship being conditional on payment instead of effort – but I think getting democratic representation in FSF Europe is a big step forwards for free software developers. If only FSF.org would do that too.
One challenge of representation is that members have a responsibility to oversee the organisation. That’s a bit difficult if the board adds reports and resolutions to the agenda at the last minute, which happened at the December 2008 meeting. Ian Jackson has asked the board to “arrange that all the appropriate notifications are sent” and I ask other SPI members (contributing or non-contributing – both seem to be fine for this) to second it.
Finally, happy Christmas or whatever other festival you’re celebrating (if any).