I am happy to see that many people giving their opinion about what the board discusses in its meetings, but also really disappointed with the tone of some of the discussions and that some people got offended. After that much polemic, I think I should also give my opinion on the topic. In my view, there are two kind of ways the board makes a decision:
- We manage to agree on something That means that even if I disagree on the first place, the arguments of the others make that I agree after discussing it. In this case, I of course agree and support the decision. I think this is the most normal case.
- We don't manage to agree and need to vote to decide In this case I accept and respect the decision because it was democratically voted, but I do not agree on it. That means that if someone ask me, both privately and publicly, I will still defend my opinion. Richard says that decisions made collectively are defended collectively. I don't know if the board decided this in the past, in which case it should be documented somewhere and re-discuss when new members join. But I have never agreed that I should defend something I don't agree with.
I also would like to clarify how the discussion about the football team was, just because I have the feeling that people have the impression that it was much worse than it really was. After the voting, I remember saying that we should put it in the minutes to see what the community thinks of such an unusual sponsorship and that everybody agreed. My perception was that it was not something confidential at all and because of that it was fine for everybody that I give my opinion about it. After realizing that it was not fine for everybody, I brought the topic to the last meeting. I would like to mention two points made during the last board meeting, which were the reason why I answered to the mailing list to apologize: - I used the first opportunity I had to make clear in public I disagreed with the decision, without nobody asking me. - Making use of my right to make my opinion public, I was in this case making everybody else opinion public, without knowing for sure if it was ok for them.
After that many answers in this email thread I think the board should discuss in the next meeting if we should make public who voted what (I'll ensure this happens). As others already gave their opinion, here is mine: When the board doesn't agree on something, but votes about it, who voted what should be public except if there is a good reason to not make it public (the reason should be included in the minutes). That includes for example, that we are resolving a conflict for which people wrote as expecting anonymity and that it is discussed in private.
To finish - this is email is getting as long as one from Richard ;) - I would like to give my opinion about something Richard said:
The fact we do every vote transparently means that on a rolling basis, every Board member has a perception of their popularity (or lack of it) compared to their peers in the Board
openSUSE is not a company but a community (as Richard and Knurpht have pointed out). In a company it may happen that the company interests are not the same ones as the employees interests. But in the openSUSE board we are just trying to take the best decisions for the community which represent what the community wants. This in my opinion means that the decisions we make should be popular. Otherwise we are taking the wrong decisions.