On 8/24/20 7:45 AM, Sébastien 'sogal' Poher wrote:
Hi Vinz, Hi all,
Le vendredi 07 août 2020 à 20:22 +0200, Vinzenz Vietzke a écrit :
as you can see in the minutes  for the last board meeting on 2020-
once again talked about the long standing topic of an openSUSE
This came up in the light of the past months and the recent thread on
mailing list where governance structures were discussed. 
Quoting the minutes "We need to broaden the group of people working
foundation" this is where we want to give the topic a push here on
To give everyone an overview of what is done until now I condensed
floating around in the wiki at "Current state". 
The openSUSE community has the reputation of being progressive and
terms of technical aspects. This is where the "do-ocracy" works
Yet our organizational structure sometimes lacks behind, which is why
There are good reasons for an independent openSUSE legal entity that
already been discussed extensively before. Yet this comes with
structures being not only necessary but also obligate. Having had
challenging times recently and an obvious need from the community
progressive discussions makes the picture complete somehow.
So throwing both topics together is just a logical consequence there.
I think that working on both subjects at the same time is not
necessarily a good thing. On the one hand because there is little
chance that these subjects will attract a lot of people, on the other
hand because the mode of governance will be closely linked to the final
form of the Foundation, in particular as regards the nature of its
links with SUSE. In my opinion, it is wiser to wait until we have made
progress on the subject of the Foundation before considering its mode
This does not preclude collecting ideas from the community, but it
would be better not having to start working on this topic then change a
lot of things because the solutions found won't fit in the final
One of the reasons for choosing a Stiftung over a E.V is that a Stiftung
gives us a huge amount of flexibility in terms of governance models,
some of the previous boards advice is that we should be able to take our
existing "board election rules" and "membership rules" drop the fact
that currently the chairman can veto board decisions and it should be
possible to keep basically our current governance model. The previous
boards proposals to both the community and SUSE were all around keeping
the governance model around the same as what it currently is.
I have some more "minor" amendments i'll propose when I have some time
with the idea to have them discussed etc so that the community can make
an informed vote on adopting them or some variation of them during the
board elections at the end of the year.
But if people in the community feel that we should look at significantly
changing our governance structure by adding additional body's or
changing the roles of the existing board then now is the right time for
those discussions so that we can put it to the membership and SUSE at
the same time.
So I hereby invite everyone interested to chime in. Please get to
already been done on the first hand. And then give input,
criticism and ideas on both parts of the story - Foundation and
It's a subject that interests me, I'm also currently working on the
issue of governance at my work (in a cooperative society). The recent
and unfortunate discussions have shown that this is an important
subject which the community cannot ignore and which cannot simply rest
on the shoulders of the Council.
The content of the wiki  is a good starting point which I think
needs to be refined.
I started an Etherpad  by rereading the original topic  (over a
year ago already!) and noting some points in order to summarize past
I also tried to look for resources (in English) on the subject (German
Stiftung) in order to see more clearly concerning the legal aspects.
I have also struggled with this part and have mostly relied on German
speaking board members and somewhat people from other foundations. Here
is a basic summary of the key points as I remember them, I guess it
should also go into the wiki somewhere.
**The Charter** - This is a statement on the aims goals and mission of
the foundation, once the foundation is incorporated this statement can't
be changed, A well written charter will give the community and SUSE
comfort that the board of the foundation can't go off and start doing
something radically different. For example it could state that the
foundation supports free and open software / (hardware?) projects and
that all the code / designs must be publicly accessible. At the same
time we need to be careful not to limit ourselves to certain
technologies etc, because who knows if Linux for example will be the
best kernel in 50 years.
**50k Seed** - Unlike many other forms of foundation setting up a
Stiftung requires 50k as a seed fund. This is something previous boards
have also discussed with SUSE.
**No predefined legal structure.** - Stiftung's don't have a predefined
governance structure in terms of the board makeup and how they are
appointed which gives us significant freedom in this area. However there
are quite strict rules around keeping financial accounts and yearly
reporting to the point where it is unreasonable to be able to expect
volunteers to do this work.
For reference a Stiftung is the same legal structure Libre Office uses
so we can use them as legal precedence and gain alot of ideas from what
Simon Lees (Simotek) http://simotek.net
Emergency Update Team keybase.io/simotek
SUSE Linux Adelaide Australia, UTC+10:30
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