Meeting minutes for November 17, 2001 Board meeting

Nils Lohner lohner at
Thu Nov 29 15:50:00 UTC 2001

The following minutes have been accepted and approved by the Board of 
Directors of Software in the Public Interest, Inc. at the meeting on
November 26, 2001.

SPI Board Meeting Minutes from November 13, 2001

* take attendance
* approve meeting minutes
* modification of email voting
* treasurer report
* membership report
* OS committee report
* LinuxPPC update
* Legal issues and `crypto-in-main' update
* miscellaneous
* next meeting

  Branden Robinson
  Ean Schuessler
  Manoj Srivastava
  Nils Lohner
  Wichert Akkerman
Advisors present:
  Ben Collins
  Martin Michlmayr
Absent with Regrets:
  Martin `Joey' Schulze (mostly)
  Darren Benham
  Ian Jackson
  Scott McNeil

The board meeting was held using Internet Relay Chat. Nils opens the
meeting at 20:13 UTC.

1. Approving minutes from previous meetings

Nils asks Ean if the missing minutes were completed with the open
issues addressed. Branden suggests that the minutes be accepted
in their current state and be amended later. Wichert is unsure if
we could technically do that considering minutes become official
records once approved. Branden moves that the current minutes be
accepted as-is and we consider anything not covered in them as
not having happened. Ean mentions that he does not have the time
currently to properly produce minutes and would like to resign as
secretary. The board accepts this and a new agenda item to select
a new secretary was added to the agenda.

Vote to approve the minutes of the July 10 meeting minutes as
posted to the SPI board in message 20011011125037.A23013 at

 Branden: against
 Ean    : against
 Nils   : against
 Manoj  : against
 Wichert: against

The July 10 minutes in their current form are not approved.

Vote to approve the minutes of the August 6 meeting minutes as
posted to the SPI board in message 20011011125211.A23036 at

 Branden: against
 Ean    : against
 Nils   : against
 Manoj  : against
 Wichert: against

The August 6 minutes in their current form are not accepted.

Vote to approve the minutes of the September 17 meeting minutes
as posted to the SPI board in message
200110221914.f9MJEsR4017246 at Votes:

 Branden: against
 Ean    : against
 Nils   : against
 Manoj  : against
 Wichert: against

The September 17 minutes in their current form are not accepted.

Branden asks about the minutes for October's meeting. It is
determined no minutes have been made yet, only an IRC log is

Nils promises to look at the IRC logs for the meetings and
produce updated minutes in the next 2 weeks. Branden commits
to put the relevant IRC logs in his home directory on purcel.

2. Modification of email voting

Ian proposed earlier to regulate the email voting so that it is
still usable with 8 to 12 board members. Nils asks if anyone is
opposed to modifying the voting procedure to require a quorum of 75%
of the board if they agree unanimously. Manoj adds that a minimum
of 4 should be required. Branden suggests 75% plus unanimity
might be too strict. Nils explains `the thought is that email
voting should be for obvious issues where not much discussion is
required to get things done quickly', and as such unanimity
should not be a problem. There is some confusion on the
definition of quorum, which Wichert describes as the minimum
number of people voting required to make a vote legal. Branden
suggests `Quorum shall be 4 or 50% of the board membership
eligible to vote, whichever is greater". Wichert is in favour of
that suggestion. Nils asks if anyone objected to it, and if not
he would write something the board could vote on at the next
meeting. Nobody objects.

3. Treasurer report

Branden has an update:

    ``Sean Perry has continued to make attempts to contact Darren
    Benham. Contact has been made, but no fruit has been borne
    yet.  Sean spoke to me today and said he hopes to talk to
    Darren again today.''

4. Membership report

Martin Michlmayr mentions some technicalities that need to be
fixed on the web-server and the list-server. It is agreed he should
take that up with SPI-admin. He also mentions that there were at
the moment 116 contributing and 27 non-contributing members.

5. Open Source committee report

Unfortunately Ean has to leave for a meeting, so this agenda item
is postponed until next meeting.

6. Linux PPC update

Wichert apologises for not having any updates due to having been
too busy with finding new employment and settling in at his new

7. Legal issues and `crypto-in-main' update

Manoj has some interesting news:

    ``The FSF is interested in their hiring a lawyer and paying
    someone to go through all licences in main, and telling us of
    any problems They shall bear all costs for this exercise.  In
    return, I committed to bringing up a policy proposal to set
    up an email address to which all *new* package licences
    should be mailed to prior to initial upload to incoming
    Also, they shall vet any and all packages in main and see if
    we have LZW encoded gifs, and warn us
    the FSF is also committed to providing legal expertise to
    enable crypto in main''

Nils says this sounded like a good idea, but it is something that
the FSF needs to discuss with Debian instead of SPI, and asks
Manoj to discuss this with Ben and Debian. Manoj agrees and adds
that this was just a FYI.

Ben has an update about the cryptography policies for Debian.
Debian is ready to allow crypto in its main archive. All the
documents are in order and all questions have been resolved.
Branden asks Ben who bears the responsibility of the notification
requirements, because ultimately it is SPI's responsibility in a
legal sense. Ben explains:

    ``the day-to-day will be handled by a mixture of archive
    emails to a designated person, who will then send in paper
    form and push things through incoming afterwards it's
    somewhat more complex than it sounds, but the majority of the
    mechanism is automated and yes, precautions are being made to
    keep in-waiting crypto from being public, even to

Wichert asks if the SPI board will be able to read and approve
the documents before Debian proceeds. Ben agrees with this, as
long as the board is just in its decision. Branden adds he would
not mind expediting things as much as reasonable.

7. ALS

Branden and Manoj are not happy with the way Debian was treated
at ALS. Debian was presented with a bare booth, no chairs, net
connectivity, tables or power. This was partially the fault of
Sean Perry who requested the booth but had not realized he needed
to ask for (the free) power and net connection. A table cost $131
and was paid for the by FSF. Chairs and trash cans were too
expensive and not rented. External chairs, tables and food were
not allowed for `security reasons'.

Branden proposes that Debian/SPI, the FSF and other groups
organise a boycott of ALS. Nils tells Branden to propose that to
Debian since it is not an SPI issue. Branden counters that if
Debian has to pay for such costs this is done either from
developers' private pockets, or SPI funds, so a policy on who
pays for Debian's booth expenses is needed. Nils responds that
this was still a Debian matter. Ben thinks that a boycott is a
start, but more is needed.

Wichert wonders what exactly the problem is. Branden explains
that the problem is that ALS was not what it used to be in that
it doesn't respect the non-profit and informal organizations
that ALS has recognized as the `heart and soul of Linux' in the
past, and is is upset that no external equipment could be brought
in.  Wichert thinks that is true for most shows (including Linux
shows these days).

Everyone agrees the FSF will be refunded for the costs they
incurred on Debian's behalf.

Branden mentions that reimbursement might be a problem
considering AmEx froze SPI's account. He explains that buying
drives for auric's new RAID raised red flags since they have not
heard from SPI's treasurer in ages so they froze the account.

8. SPI mailing-lists

Wichert mentions that he set up as a
replacement for the current (Debian hosted) a
while ago but has not received any feedback on it. If nobody
objects, he wants to populate the lists using the current
subscriber lists and switch DNS in the next 10 days. A method for
verifying spi-private subscribers with registered members still
has to designed. Nobody objects.

9. Attendance

The attendance list is verified.

Branden proposes to remove Darren Benham and Scott McNeil from
the SPI board under the board attendance policy, considering they
have missed 3 meetings in a row without regrets. Nils says he
wants to talk with both personally in this or next week first.
Wichert does not mind voting on Darren immediately but would
rather wait with Scott until Nils has spoken with him. Manoj also
prefers voting now.

Vote to remove Darren Benham from the SPI Board of Directors for
violation of the Meeting Attendance Policy:

 Branden: in favour
 Nils   : in favour
 Manoj  : in favour
 Wichert: in favour

The vote is accepted.

Branden moves to ask SPI's attorney-at-law to draft a letter to
Darren requesting the surrender of all SPI materials, which
we can send if Darren hasn't done so by next week. After some
discussion it is agreed to proceed with this.

Branden notices that according to the web-pages Scott is not a
board member so a motion to remove him was not necessary.  Nils
adds that Scott also mailed a semi-resignation when he found he
did not have enough time for SPI so he prefers to let Scott
resign formally.

10. SPI Secretary

Since Ean resigned as secretary earlier in the meeting, a new
secretary needs to be elected. Nils nominates Wichert for the
position. Branden seconds the nomination.

Votes for nominating Wichert Akkerman as the new secretary of

 Branden: in favour
 Nils   : in favour
 Manoj  : in favour
 Wichert: abstained 

The vote is accepted, and Wichert accepts the position.

11. Next meeting

The next SPI board meeting is set for November 26 at 20.00 UTC

Nils Lohner				E-Mail: president at
Software in the Public Interest, Inc.   Web:

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