Resolution Changes to the Bylaws of Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

Nils Lohner lohner at
Tue Sep 21 17:35:07 UTC 1999

The resolution below has been accepted and unanimously approved at the 
general meeting of Software in the Public Interest, Inc. on September 21, 

The original bylaws for SPI that these changes apply to are available at 
the following location:

Changes to the Bylaws of Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

  These two articles may not be changed, as they are taken from SPI's 
Certificate of Incorporation.

[completely rewritten - will replace current article three]

Membership in this organization shall be open to all who meet the approval 
of the membership committee.  Members have the right and responsibility of 
overseeing the board members, officers, and committees and ensuring that 
they operate in accordance with the goals and principles of the 
organization.  All board members, officers, and committees are ultimately 
responsible to the membership, and should act in accordance with its 

  Contributing and non-contributing memberships are available within 
this organization.  Members agree to support the principles and help 
further the goals of this organization.  All membership applications and 
renewals will be reviewed by the Membership Committee.  Applicants must 
meet the criteria set forth in the charter of the Membership Committee.

  Members may be individuals or organizations.

  Members wishing to leave the organization may do so at any time by 
notifying the membership committee in writing of their desire for the 
membership to be terminated.

Contributing Members

  Contributing memberships are open to persons and organizations who have 
made significant contributions to the free software community, as determined 
by the membership committee.

 The membership committee and its charter will make reasonable and fair 
procedures for these determinations, including for acquiring necessary 
information such as lists of projects a prospective member has participated 
in or testimonials, and for regularly reviewing the status of contributing 

  If a contributing membership is not renewed, the member's status will be 
downgraded to a non-contributing member.

   Board members, by virtue of their office, are automatically granted the 
status of contributing members.

Non-contributing Membership

 To become a non contributing member, the applicant must apply for a 
non-contributing membership.  This membership will not expire.

 To become a contributing member at a later time, non-contributing members 
must follow the application process for contributing members.

[mostly rewritten, will replace the current article four]

The annual board meeting of this organization shall be electronically 
held on the first day of July, each and every year except if such day be a
legal holiday then and in that event the Board of Directors shall fix the
day but it shall not be more than two weeks from the date fixed by these
bylaws. The Secretary shall cause to be mailed (electronically or otherwise)
to every board member in good standing at his or her address as it appears 
the membership roll book of this organization a notice telling the time and 
place of such annual meeting. 

Regular meetings of the board of this organization shall be held quarterly.

The presence of not less than two-thirds of the board members shall 
a quorum and shall be necessary to conduct the business of this organization,
but a lesser number may adjourn the meeting for a period of not more than 
weeks from the date scheduled by these bylaws and the Secretary shall cause 
a notice of this scheduled meeting to be sent to all those members who were 
not present at the meeting originally called. A quorum as hereinbefore set 
forth shall be required at any adjourned meeting. 

Special meetings of the board of this organization may be called by the 
President when he deems it in the best interest of the organization or by 
two members of the board.  Notices of such meeting shall be mailed to all 
members at their addresses as they appear in the membership roll book at 
least two weeks but not more than 30 days before the scheduled date set for 
such special meeting.  Such notice shall state the reasons that such meeting 
has been called and the business to be conducted.

At the request of one-third members of the organization the President shall 
cause a special meeting to be called but such request must be made in 
at least thirty (30) days before the requested scheduled date.  No other 
business but that specified in the notice may be transacted at such special 
meeting without the unanimous consent of all present at such meeting. 

[completely rewritten- will replace current article five]

 Any contributing member of SPI is eligible to vote.  Non contributing 
members of SPI may not vote.  Each voting member shall have exactly one 
vote.  Ballots concerning election or removal of officers shall be secret 

 The quorum for a vote by the membership shall be set at 35% of eligible 
voters.  All votes (unless otherwise stated) are approved by a simple 
majority (>50%) of voters being in favor of the issue in question.

 At any regular or special meeting if a majority so requires, any question 
may be voted upon in the manner and style deemed appropriate by the 
secretary of the organization or chairman of the meeting.

 All votes by the membership shall be cast in the manner specified by the 
Secretary. The default method of voting shall be by cryptographically signed 
email ballots.

Any proposal submitted to the secretary with N or more number of seconds 
shall be put before the membership for a vote within 30 days.  N is defined 
as follows:
N = sqrt(M) 
where M is the number of contributing members of the organization.

Votes and tallies are not revealed during voting but votes cast are listed 
after the election is over.  The ballots for the election of officers shall 
be kept secret even after the vote is over.

 No inspector of election shall be a candidate for office or shall be 
personally interested in the question voted upon.


 Resolutions are voted on by the board of directors.  Resolutions may be put 
before the board for consideration.  If the board decides not to consider 
an issue, the membership may vote on the resolution.  The membership may 
also override a vote of the board by a 2/3 majority vote.

[not changed]


[Only the first sentence is changed for clarification] 

The business of this organization shall be managed by a Board of Directors 
consisting of eight to 12 members, four of whom shall be the officers of 
this organization.

[remove the names of the officers and replace with the following text:]

  The officers of this organization shall hold the positions of President, 
Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.  The names and positions of the 
current officers are found in Appendix A of these bylaws.

[no change]

[completely rewritten - will replace the current article nine]

 Committees are an extension of the board of directors and take care of the 
day to day business of the organization.  The board of directors forms 
committees by issuing the committee charter.

 Committees are governed by the board of directors and are accountable to 
the board and the membership.

 Committees may propose resolutions and motions within the scope of their 
charter, and may also make decisions on behalf of the organization if and as 
authorized by their charter.  Discussions should be held in a public forum, 
but the committee may have private discussions if they are deemed necessary.

Committee Charter

 The committee charter completely describes the rights and responsibilities 
of the committee, as well as its structure, membership policies, and any 
other relevant details.  The charter should also provide an outline for how 
discussions will be conducted, and how the membership and public are to be 
informed of its actions.  Charters are issued and revoked by the board of
directors.  The charter shall be put before the membership for review and 
discussion before it is voted on by the board of directors.
 The charter shall also define the membership structure of the committee.  
Both contributing and non contributing members are eligible to serve on 

Permanent Committees

 Permanent committees are in charge of issues that are vital to the basic 
functionality of the organization.  Their charters shall not be revoked but 
may be modified by the board of directors if necessary.

The permanent committees shall be as follows: 

- Membership Committee 
  This committee is responsible for handling all membership related 
issues, including verifying the identity of new members and ensuring that 
the membership rules are being observed.

- Administrative Committee
  This committee is responsible for maintaining the computers and other 
technical systems that Software In The Public Interest, Inc. is using and 
other technical resources.

[no change]

[add a second paragraph to this section]

  Appendices containing organizational information shall not require a vote 
of the membership for modification.  They may be modified by a 2/3 vote of 
the Board of Directors, unless otherwise stated therein.

[newly added... see article eight changes]

 This section shall contain the names and positions of the current officers. 
It shall be modified to contain the names of new officers of the 
organization when necessary, and shall not require a vote beyond the 
approval of the resolution appointing the officers.

The officers of the organization shall be as follows: 

                 President: Ian Jackson 
                 Vice President: Martin Schulze 
                 Secretary: Nils Lohner
                 Treasurer: Darren Benham

Nils Lohner                         Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
E-Mail: lohner at          PO Box 1326 
Board Of Directors <board at> Boston, Ma. 02117 USA

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