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PSF Meeting Minutes for 2008-05-12

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

May 12, 2008

A regular meeting of the Python Software Foundation ("PSF") Board of Directors was held over Internet Relay Chat beginning at 16:00 UTC, 12 May 2008. Steve Holden presided at the meeting. David Goodger prepared these minutes.

1   Attendance

The following members of the Board of Directors were present at the meeting: Brett Cannon, Stephan Deibel, David Goodger, Raymond Hettinger, Steve Holden, Martin von Löwis, Tim Peters, and James Tauber. Also in attendance was Kurt Kaiser (Treasurer; arrived 16:58).

2   Minutes of Past Meetings

The 14 April 2008 Board meeting minutes were approved by a vote of 8-0-0 (in favor – opposed – abstentions).

3   Status of Past Action Items

(Pending action items appear like this.)

3.1   Carried Forward

The following are action items carried forward from the 14 April 2008 meeting, as highlighted in the minutes (Section 3, Status of Past Action Items):

  1. Originally from October 2005, Section 4, Public Support Committee: D. Goodger will pursue web page and installer donation link ideas.

    Status: carried forward.

  2. Originally from June 2006, Section 6, PSF Records: The Board agreed to assemble the existing records in one place, have them scanned, and enter them into the PSF data repository. D. Goodger will coordinate this work and maintain the records.

    Status: carried forward.

  3. Originally from August 2006, Section 10: T. Peters will ask the advice of Larry Rosen regarding concerns with the contributor agreement.

    Status: carried forward.

  4. Originally from December 2006, Section 4, Jython Contributor Agreements: D. Goodger will write to the Jython contributors and ask them to sign contributor agreement forms, in combination with item 2 above (transferred from A. Kuchling).

    Status: carried forward.

  5. Originally from March 2007, Section 18, Bylaw Change Survey: S. Holden will call for a separate discussion of changes to the bylaws [with S. Deibel's help].

    Status: carried forward.

  6. Originally from May 2007, Section 7, PyCon Uno (Italy): D. Goodger will look into making PSF banners.

    Status: carried forward.

  7. Originally from January 2008, Section 7, Awards Program: K. Kaiser will research the tax implications of an awards program (both domestic & international recipients).

    Status: carried forward.

  8. Originally from 10 March 2008, Section 10, Python Certification: S. Holden will rework the proposal with Van Lindberg and Tennessee Leeuwenburg as a discussion document to be posted to the members' list, as the Board considers the members' views essential.

    Status: carried forward.

3.2   New from April 14

These action items originated at the 14 April 2008 Board meeting on IRC.

  1. Section 4, PSF Logo: D. Goodger will send the candidate PSF logos (from Marc-André Lemburg and himself) to the members for comment, noting that the Board intends to choose one at the next meeting.

    See Choice of PSF Logo below.

    Status: done.

  2. Section 5, Treasurer's Report: S. Holden will assist K. Kaiser with accounts receivable reminders.

    See Outstanding Receivables below.

    Status: in progress.

  3. Section 7, PyCon Asset Record-Keeping: D. Goodger will update the assets file in PSF CVS with the details of the laptops and VGA2USB boxes purchased for PyCon 2008.

    Status: in progress.

  4. Section 8, PSF Awards Program: S. Holden will have PSF Community Award certificates designed.

    S. Holden: "I have contacted a designer, and hope to have a design for the next meeting. The idea is to mail framed copies to the recipients."

    Status: in progress.

  5. Section 9, PyCon FR Sponsorship: S. Holden will publicize PyCon FR 2008 on the PSF blog.

    Status: done.

  6. Section 9, PyCon FR Sponsorship: D. Goodger will publicize PyCon FR 2008 on the PyCon blog.

    Status: done.

  7. Section 9, PyCon FR Sponsorship: S. Holden will inform Tarek Ziadé of PyCon FR that they may use the PSF logo on the sponsor list, that the PSF will provide some publicity, and that the PSF may be able to assist by funding the travel for one invited speaker.

    Status: done.

  8. Section 9, PyCon FR Sponsorship: S. Holden will ask the French Python Association to revise their logo, which uses a derivative of the obsolete Python graphic.

    Status: done.

  9. Section 10, 2008 Frank Willison Award: D. Goodger will ask Guido van Rossum for his input on the 2008 Frank Willison Award. Assuming Guido delegates the decision to the Board, David will ask previous recipients and the PSF membership at large for nominations, to be submitted no later than Friday May 9.

    See 2008 Frank Willison Award below.

    Status: done.

  10. Section 12, Sponsor Membership Issues: S. Holden will contact ILM to request a new sponsor membership application.

    Status: carried forward.

  11. Section 12, Sponsor Membership Issues: S. Holden will contact AT Battery to inform them of the results of their sponsor membership application (election at members' meeting).

    Status: done.

  12. Section 12, Sponsor Membership Issues: D. Goodger will update the member information in members.xls (sponsors & nominated members) & sponsor-addrs.txt, in PSF CVS.

    Status: in progress.

  13. Section 12, Sponsor Membership Issues: D. Goodger will inquire with sponsor Hostway about the unsubscribed PSF representative.

    See Hostway Sponsor Membership Termination below.

    Status: dropped.

  14. Section 12, Sponsor Membership Issues: S. Holden will contact OSAF and inquire about their outstanding 2007 PSF sponsor invoice.

    Status: carried forward.

4   Outstanding Receivables

K. Kaiser was not present at the beginning, but he sent a report on accounts receivable to the Board list: $14K outstanding for 2007 dues, $6K for PyCon 2007, $12K for 2008 dues, $63K for PyCon 2008.

S. Holden:

This does not substitute for a Treasurer's report, but it's of great concern. We can't claim to be fiscally responsible with a receivables situation like this. We need to get this in order quickly if we are going to be soliciting increased contributions from sponsor members as a part of the general bylaws reorganization.

I have put a lot of time into it. But we also need to be more systematic, so it doesn't recur.

D. Goodger noted that "having regular reports from the Treasurer is important."

S. Holden: "So far everything's been done by email. Next job is 'phone calls and letters." M. von Löwis volunteered to help with letters, and R. Hettinger volunteered to help with phone calls.

[Later, after K. Kaiser joined the meeting:]

R. Hettinger reminded K. Kaiser that he (Hettinger) is now the Assistant Treasurer and stands ready to help.

5   Hostway Sponsor Membership Termination

S. Holden reported that Hostway has dropped out of PSF membership.

They were valuable early PyCon sponsors, but the interest has dropped with the departure of the individuals concerned. I think no further action is required, unless someone feels they should be emeritus?

S. Deibel:

In general I'd prefer to use emeritus only for individuals. For example, Archaeopteryx is emeritus for no reason I can think of. Note that there is a "Former Members" section on http://www.python.org/psf/members/.

6   PyCon 2009 Venue Update

D. Goodger:

We've chosen the Hyatt as the venue. It has advantages over the conference center: all in one place, most people will stay there. It's more expensive than the Crowne ($135/night vs. $109 at the Crowne). We still have an obligation for rooms at Crowne, which is still the budget option. Also catering: we'll have one reception there, which will cover the $65K obligation. The bottom line is that we'll need some growth to meet the room obligation.

There are two contracts to sign:

RESOLVED, that the PyCon Chairman be authorized to sign the necessary contracts for PyCon 2009.

Approved 7-0-1.

7   PyCon 2010 Bids Summary

D. Goodger:

We have 3 bids: San Francisco Bay area, Atlanta Georgia, and Cleveland Ohio. The next step is to get CTE's input on rates, venues, etc. That's ongoing. There's no decision yet.

We should be getting info in a few days to a couple of weeks from CTE. Then RFP's go out. We're scheduled to make a decision by August 1st.

The bid process is described here: http://wiki.python.org/moin/PyConPlanning/BidRequirements

The PyCon organizing committee, led by the PyCon Chair, will prepare a recommendation for the Board, who will make the final decision.

D. Goodger will inform the members of the bids for PyCon 2010 as well as the bid process.

8   2008 Frank Willison Award

The Board reviewed the nominations solicited from past winners and from the PSF members. A winner for the 2008 Frank Willison Award for Contributions to the Python Community was decided.

RESOLVED, that the Board recommend Martin von Löwis as the 2008 Frank Willison Award recipient.

Approved 6-0-2.

It was noted that last year another PSF Director was chosen, and "we may not want to give the idea of always patting ourselves on the back". However it was felt that Martin is clearly overdue for recognition of his well-known and wide-ranging contributions, including recent infrastructure work.

[Decision details were initially omitted, and restored after OSCON 2008.]

D. Goodger will inform Guido van Rossum, O'Reilly Media, and the PSF members of the Board's recommendaion for the winner of the 2008 Frank Willison Award.

9   2008/2009 Budgeting

S. Holden:

Directors present last year will remember David [Goodger]'s attempt to budget. This is becoming increasingly important. As a first step, I would like you all to consider what you feel the Foundation should be spending money on through the end of 2009.

R. Hettinger asked "How can you budget 2009 when you have [accounts receivable] from 2007? ;-)" S. Holden replied, "Agreed, but that issue is being addressed".

S. Deibel noted "I'm much more concerned about failure to track down unpaid dues than our lack of budget." S. Holden: "Which is why the unpaid dues are taking priority. But we can't suspend the budget process in the interim."

M. von Löwis: "I think we should plan for one permanent employee. I think everything else follows from that (e.g. the amount of donations needed)." R. Hettinger: "A permanent employee is going to become a must-have." See PSF Employee below.

S. Deibel:

One note from another non-profit I'm on the board of: major donors tend to not give to foundations that are entirely volunteer run; in general having employees is seen as the only way to be effective as an organization (and they're probably right).

S. Holden will write to the members asking for input on a budget for 2008-2009.

11   Developer Documentation Project/Bounty

S. Holden reported that there were suggestions that we might incentivize development of better documentation. Essentially, pay for documentation.

B. Cannon: "Problem with this is you will need a core developer to write those docs."

R. Hettinger: "I don't see the point. We're getting more and more doc patches. Georg made it pretty easy to update."

S. Deibel: "Maybe the goal should be to eventually be able to hire a few core developers full time."

Further discussion was deferred.

13   Trademark Issues

S. Holden reported that Van Lindberg has raised serious concerns about non-approved logo usage, about EuroPython and especially PyCon UK.

13.1   Repository of Approved Logos & Dates

S. Holden recommended that we should establish a list of approved uses of the logos. Every time the Board approves a derived logo it should be logged along with the date.

S. Holden: "We originally meant to approve commercial uses for a limited time, I believe." D. Goodger: "We haven't been specifying 1-year limits on approvals."

D. Goodger recommended that the trademark policy be modified to clearly require approval for ALL derived logos, no matter the purpose (commercial or not).

13.2   Copying Correspondence

S. Holden:

We MUST copy Van Lindberg on all trademark correspondence. Best if we copy the Board list too.

D. Goodger: "Van isn't on the Board list. Perhaps he should be invited?"

The PSF Board mailing list is restricted to directors, officers, and official counsel. The official counsel status of Van Lindberg was unclear; if he isn't already official counsel, he should be so engaged.

S. Holden: "My intention was that Counsel become an officer position."

K. Kaiser:

[There] might be an issue about him being an officer and compensated but not an employee. There is an IRS determination about not considering officers contractors.

S. Holden will investigate the appointment of Van Lindberg as official PSF counsel, perhaps as an officer (for further discussion via email).

14   PSF Employee

D. Goodger reported that he has begun working on a rough job description. S. Holden has also collected a few tasks such a person could do. Also see 2008/2009 Budgeting above.

S. Deibel:

What made ... (the other group whose Board I sit on) work was the first employee they hired was this woman who is just amazing. Her vision and effectiveness has turned them into a very successful non-profit with a budget in the millions from being very tiny at the time. So ... I'm not interested in ... task lists [but] the opportunity to hire someone with vision.

D. Goodger will send the PSF employee job description (work in progress) to the Board list for further discussion.

15   Renewal of the PSF Board Server Domain

K. Kaiser reported that this is being done. DNS is renewed, and the domain transfer is in progress. The domain is owned by "Kurt Kaiser for the PSF".

16   PyCon Singapore Support

The PSF was contacted by Dr. Liew Beng Keat of the Republic Polytechnic school, who is interested in holding a Python conference in Sinapore, possibly in August 2009. There is no action to take at this time. The Board encourages and supports the formation of PyCon Singapore.

17   License Simplification

S. Holden:

Van [Lindberg] is attempting to track down relevant people to allow us to remove various oddities like the BeOpen license from the stack. He is keen to see it as untrammelled as possible.

Van also has some interesting ideas about how tactial rewrites might remove license restrictions.

The Board agreed that this is worthwhile to try, though the results of previous efforts do not leave it hopeful.

S. Holden will have Van Lindberg report on Python license issues to the Board mailing list.

18   Infrastructure Committee Report

B. Cannon:

XS4ALL is moving a machine to another rack. [We're] understaffed as always in terms of volunteers. If MvL fell off the face of the earth we would be screwed.

19   Adjournment

S. Holden adjourned the meeting at 17:24 UTC.