[Squeakfoundation]Withdrawing some objections

Paul Fernhout squeakfoundation@lists.squeakfoundation.org
Sun, 27 May 2001 17:01:54 -0400

=== withdrawing some objections ===

Making the Squeak Foundation purpose a community one that supports a
"meta object-community protocol" :-) has many benefits. Here is one:

I had previously written in DanI's "The Natives are Restless" thread:
> I would also suggest that (no offense intended) we not expect 
> SqueakC members to be in charge of SqueakF. This is in part 
> because SqueakC has lots of other things to do, 
> and in part because what's the point of just
> having a second SqueakC with the same exact strengths and weaknesses?
> (Liason or advisory roles is a different story, as would also be the
> situation for ex-SqueakC people.)

If we shift to a community focus for the Squeak Foundation, (which might
be reflected by changing the name to the "Squeak Community Foundation"),
then my feelings would change greatly about the involvement of SqC
personnel in a SqF (or "SqCF"?).

A "Squeak Community Foundation" would benefit greatly in credibility and
fund raising appeal by having people like Dan Ingalls or Alan Kay on its
board of directors, or steering and executive committees.

When any SqC people gave talks on the "Squeak Community Foundation" (as
opposed to their own SqC work), it would then be clear from the start
just from the name that they would be talking about the Squeak community
as a process first, and some current versions of some Squeak artifacts
second. Naturally they could talk about their own work as part of that,
the point being that SqC work at Apple and later Disney was a key
"quantum barrier reducing" enabling effort that allowed the Squeak
community to tunnel through comp.lang.smalltalk and coalesce, 
and that they are still active participants themselves in the larger
Squeak community.

There still might be issues concerning SqC people in leadership roles
that would apply for anybody, but those would be based purely on issues
of time availability (or employer restrictions). There couldn't be a
major conflict from the directions in which SqC thought Squeak should
progress, because those decisions would not primarily be made by SqF but
would ultimately emerge from the Squeak community, which SqC staff might
be supporting in general in their voluntary SqF role. 

I might still be concerned if SqC had the majority of board of trustee
positions (given their focus on education and individual empowerment) in
a foundation that was supposed to support a whole community of Squeak
interests. However, I would feel that way too if, say, "business
squeakers" or "embedded squeakers" or even "singularity squeakers" had a
majority of board seats.

The Squeak Community Foundation might also provide opportunities for
some people to support Squeak while still accepting some of the
constraints any employee of a company that produces copyrighted material
(which would include SqC staff) might otherwise be under from their
employer regarding ownership of copyrights or patents. Whatever the
status of copyrights or patents produced by employees in their spare
time (sometimes assigned to the company), generally speaking employers
don't put many restrictions on other forms of charitable activities
employees may do on their own time (like organizing swim meets or giving
public talks at their local ACM chapter) and some even encourage such
activities as part of personal and professional development. So, if such
employees were willing to help with all the non-copyright aspects of
supporting the Squeak community, they would have a way to do that
through participating in a non-programming ways (educational outreach in
schools, giving local ACM chapter talks, fund raising, running booths at
conferences, managing finances, making badges, etc.) through the Squeak
Community Foundation. Talks by anyone from SqC at universities about why
to get involved with the Squeak community, done under the banner of the
Squeak Community Foundation (not Disney), might do wonders for
increasing the size of the Squeak community. Obviously, anyone out there
working for a company (including SqC staff) should still ideally first
make sure their activities (even if not copyright or patent generating)
do not violate the terms of their employment, just to be on the safe
side, since open source or free software involvement of any kind is
still probably a gray area at most companies.

-Paul Fernhout
Kurtz-Fernhout Software 
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator