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PSF Meeting Minutes for Oct. 11, 2005

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The Python Software Foundation
Minutes of a Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors

October 11, 2005

A regular meeting of the Python Software Foundation (the "PSF") Board of Directors was held over Internet Relay Chat beginning at 17:15 UTC, 11 October 2005. Martin von Löwis presided at the meeting.

1   Attendance

The following members of the Board of Directors were present at the meeting: Martin von Löwis, Andrew Kuchling, Steve Holden, Tim Peters, and Stephan Deibel. Neal Norwitz (Treasurer), Kurt B. Kaiser (Assistant Treasurer), and David Goodger (Assistant Secretary) were also in attendance. D. Goodger prepared these minutes.

2   Minutes of Past Meetings

The September 2005 minutes were approved by a 5-0-0 vote.

3   Status of Past Action Items

The following are action items from the September 2005 meeting, as highlighted in the minutes. The referenced sections are from the September minutes.

  1. Section 4, Donor Levels: S. Deibel will add [this topic] to the agenda of a future meeting, and may begin discussions via email before that.

    S. Deibel reported that this discussion is still in the future.

  2. Section 5, PyCon 2006 Sponsorship: The first change is to add S. Holden to the PSC (S. Deibel).

    Discussed below, under Public Support Committee.

  3. Section 6, Redesign: S. Holden will encourage Tim [Parkin] to proceed in [the] way [described in the September minutes]. A transition plan will be drafted and sent to the psf-board mailing list.

    S. Holden reported that he and A. Kuchling had some discussions with Tim Parkin. S. Holden and Tim are meeting face to face to discuss this on Friday. S. Holden hopes to have a transition plan within a couple of weeks.

  4. Section 7, Infrastructure Committee Status Report:

    • A. Kuchling is targeting the move [of to a new server] within the next month, possibly within the next two weeks.

      A. Kuchling reported that the move didn't happen yet. He will try to change the DNS in the next day or two.

    • Kuchling will be working on [setting up a PyCon 2005 audio repository].

      A. Kuchling reported that this is done. It ended up as a wiki page:

  5. Section 8, Conference Committee Status Report:

    • The Treasurer should have a copy [of the PyCon 2006 contract] [A. Kuchling].

      A. Kuchling reported that he has yet to do this. He will try to send a copy of the PyCon 2006 contract this week.

    • [The proposal submission system] will be live today or (more likely) tomorrow [A. Kuchling].

      A. Kuchling reported that this is done, at We already have 8 submissions. The deadline is still October 31.

  6. Section 9, Grants Committee: M. von Löwis will have to contact [Brian Zimmer] again.

    M. von Löwis reported that he didn't actually contact Brian, but Brian sent in an invoice on his own. M. von Löwis will verify whether this is the invoice previously discussed (i.e. a reduced amount of work, and a reduced payment).

  7. Section 10.1, Trademarks & The .com Domain: N. Norwitz said he would ask the lawyer.

    N. Norwitz reported that he hasn't done this yet, but still plans to ask the lawyer about the domain.

  8. Section 10.2, Open Source Foundations Meeting at EuroOSCON: M. von Löwis said he would check his availability [to attend; Amsterdam, October 21 & 22].

    M. von Löwis reported that he has booked a flight, but he still needs to get his employer's approval. He talked to the organizers, and will report about the event to psf-board.

  9. Section 10.4, SSL Certificates: K. Kaiser will check whether he has something with [the PSF's official] address that could be sent to Barry [Warsaw].

    K. Kaiser reported that this is done. There were issues with the address on the registration, but he was able to update the billing and admin addresses. A. Kuchling reported that Barry Warsaw now has an SSL certificate for

4   Public Support Committee

S. Deibel reported that the PSC may be dead, and he wanted to discuss how to proceed. The PSC's function is a critical part of the PSF but the committee is clearly dysfunctional; dissolving it may be a good idea. There was no real interest from a mailing to psf-volunteers. The only offers for help came from S. Holden and N. Norwitz. If the PSC is dead, adding S. Holden as a member would make no sense.

M. von Löwis noted that the PSC "owns" a lot of infrastructure, like the PayPal account. If the PSC is dissolved, how would this be maintained? Would the Treasurer deal with all of it? S. Deibel replied that the PSC hasn't really been maintaining anything even if it is supposed to have been; K. Kaiser and to some extent S. Deibel himself have been dealing with these.

S. Holden noted that he would like the PSC's help with setting up sponsorship alternatives for PyCon. He needs to get started on PyCon sponsorship this week, whatever happens to the PSC.

M. von Löwis asked if people are donating, through PayPal & SourceForge. S. Deibel replied that people do donate sometimes. Donations have been dropping off steadily lately and are sometimes $0 for a whole week. S. Holden noted that there was a nice donation today, though: $20,000 from Google.

N. Norwitz asked if the weekly donation report should be sent to the board as well. K. Kaiser noted that the monthly Treasurer's report does not contain a figure for donations. N. Norwitz noted that the income report does include this information though. N. Norwitz said he would investigate setting up a weekly or monthly donation report via email.

D. Goodger asked if there was any advantage to dissolution. The PSF would start with a clean slate, but would that be any better? He suggested that the PSC just remain dormant until more volunteer bandwidth becomes available. M. von Löwis agreed, noting that the PSC is not impeding anybody.

K. Kaiser asked what has been done in the past to increase donations. D. Goodger replied that PyCon will raise awareness, and offered the following ideas:

  • There is no donation link from the download page. Adding one could bring in more donations from satisfied customers.
  • A mention of the PSF and donations in Python release announcements wouldn't hurt.
  • Perhaps even a link in the installer, if it's not too big a deal.

S. Deibel thought these good ideas, and asked if D. Goodger was volunteering for the new PSC. D. Goodger agreed, and also agreed to pursue the ideas above.

S. Deibel decided not to dissolve the PSC, but to change its membership to include S. Holden, N. Norwitz, and D. Goodger, with himself as chair.

5   Ubuntu Development Meeting

D. Goodger reported that the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution project will be holding their twice-annual development meeting in Montreal from the end of October. He plans to attend the first day ("Ubuntu Love Day") on behalf of the PSF. Ubuntu uses Python extensively, as does founder Mark Shuttleworth, who is also extremely wealthy. D. Goodger will see if Ubuntu wants to become a sponsor or donor.

S. Deibel noted that we should be sure to tell sponsors they can donate on top of sponsorship; they should not feel obliged to limit their donation to the $2000 sponsor member fee.

A. Kuchling asked if any supplies were needed. S. Deibel suggested T-shirts with the new Python logo. D. Goodger said that he would order one for himself from CafePress. It was a bit short notice to make more available as swag though. Perhaps swag for events is something to discuss in future [D. Goodger].

6   Grants Committee

M. von Löwis asked if the PSF should proceed with another round of grants in the next few months. He noted that the PyCon worst-case-scenario commitment would not allow for grants. He also noted that he doesn't have the bandwidth to do much work on another round of grants, but with volunteers to delegate to, he could continue chairing the committee. He underestimated the follow-up work (contracts, review of reports, etc.). N. Norwitz said he might be able to help more next time. He also noted that he might also be able to get some Google resources, if we know exactly what we want/need.

S. Deibel suggested that we wait until after PyCon; to wait for financial stability and to wait for more people having time. A. Kuchling suggested that once we have sponsorship commitments for PyCon, we can revisit this.

N. Norwitz asked if it would help to have a long proposal submission window, like 3 months. S. Deibel replied that 3 months is probably OK, but it might be hard for people to wait so long for a decision if they need the money and would make other plans if rejected.

D. Goodger suggested there be a PSF grants session at PyCon. [He meant a session about how to apply for grants and how to write grant proposals.] S. Holden suggested that we offer grantees a free place at PyCon as a bonus, possibly in exchange for a progress report session. Perhaps a 30-minute session (3 x 10 minutes) on grants project feedback. A. Kuchling said he would add a Grants BoF session to the list for PyCon.

7   Reserve Funds

S. Holden raised the question of setting aside some funds for a reserve. He noted that we have almost $200,000 on hand, and asked what interest we are getting. K. Kaiser replied that we're receiving $200 to $300 per month, or about 1% per annum. S. Holden suggested that the Foundation is now in a position to earmark part of that as a reserve, say $100,000, to be placed in an account with a higher rate of interest. This account could be less liquid (perhaps with 3-month access), but would obviously still count as an asset on the balance sheet. K. Kaiser suggested CDs at Suntrust. M. von Löwis noted that setting this up would be volunteer time, which he values higher than interest. K. Kaiser noted that it's not a problem, and that he had already discussed it with the bank.

D. Goodger asked if this needed a board resolution. It was the consensus that it is within the power of the Treasurer to make this decision, and that a formal resolution was not required. N. Norwitz (the Treasurer) noted that it would still be nice to have a plan, with general agreement, before implementation. S. Holden opined that the disposition of funds where they are less than immediately available should be approved by the Board as a whole even if it's not strictly necessary -- we don't want to make the Treasurer solely responsible.

M. von Löwis and S. Holden asked K. Kaiser if he could come up with a proposal. K. Kaiser replied that he would send a proposal to the psf-board list. He also noted that since it doesn't need formal approval, a favorable discussion on the list would suffice.

8   PSF Weblog

A. Kuchling asked if he could post a request for an editor for the PSF weblog to the psf-volunteers list. S. Deibel noted that anyone with PSF business can use the psf-volunteers list.

9   Adjournment

M. von Löwis adjourned the meeting at 18:03 UTC.