Jim Jaglieski’s Letter of Introduction

Jim Jaglieski and Craig Woodward have been appointed as a replacement board members after the departure of Tim Samoff and Iván Gálvez Junquera. You all should know Craig from his work on the Maemo Community Council and as one of the primary drafters of the Hildon Foundation by-laws. Jim, however, is new to this community and has posted a letter of introduction on Talk:

As promised (threatened), I’m posting a intro about myself, how I got involved in all this, why I agreed to get involved in all this and what I plan to “do” in all this.

First of all, a bit about me. I’ve been hacking and developing FOSS for several decades, making me an old-timer. I was part of the Apache Group, the original team of Apache httpd developers who later went on to found the Apache Software Foundation, which is likely one of the best known Open Source Foundations in existence. I’ve been on the board of the ASF since day 1, serving as Sec/EVP, Chairman and President. All directors are elected by the ASF membership. Despite some vague allegations, I am not some FOSS politician; I am a coder, and still am active on numerous FOSS projects, as a simple look on Ohloh would show. Because of my work, I was also elected into the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and the OuterCurve Foundation. I also speak at conferences about FOSS, communities, licensing, etc… I work for Red Hat.

There is a mailing list (foundation@) for those within the FOSS spheres related to issues/concerns/questions about running/organizing/etc FOSS foundations. Maybe 2 weeks ago there was an email posted on that list asking for help with HiFo. I did some research and it seemed to me that the community and foundation has great spirit, great potential and a great mission (a real open source mobile OS). It also looked like the foundation was in danger of dissolving, so I contacted the 2 posters and indicated my interest in helping however I could. At the time, I was attending and presenting at ApacheCon and things went quiet for awhile… we tried to connect but due to the con, timing was bad, and it wasn’t until last week when I pinged board@HiFo again that I was made aware that I had actually been proposed as director!

So why did I even bother? True enough, up until the post on foundations@, I had not even heard about HiFo, and Maemo was just a vague awareness. First of all, as indicated above, I also believe that the mobile world would greatly benefit from a real open source mobile OS. iOS ain’t, and neither is Android. “Real” open source for me is more than just a license, it’s a community. And despite being treated like crap, from what I saw, the Maemo community was still holding up. Since it seemed to me that the existence and the health and viability of HiFo was crucial to Maemo continuing, I wanted to help. I figured that my experience in creating and running FOSS foundations might be useful, and maybe my experience and “reputation” might make Nokia feel more comfortable in the endeavor. Also, I thought that my PoV that foundations exist for the community and not the reverse aligned 100% with this situation. HiFo would exist and run for the simple legal aspects required to allow Nokia to donate the assets and allow the community to continue growing, developing and having fun… This is how the ASF works and I saw similarities.

So I know nothing about the code, and would not presume to direct or manage how it’s coded, what to add, etc… IMO, that’s not the function of the foundation or the board anyway. My desire was, and is, to help get HiFo on solid footing and then step away.

But as my initial post indicates, I don’t suffer fools. I’ve been told that people are upset with the “processes” associated with HiFo; I’ll be honest: if you are running a legal entity (and HiFo is), especially one that aspires to be a true NPF (501(c)3), you better follow the rules required, and I’m sure that Nokia wants that assurance. You can also bet that any entity that would even think of using code developed my Maemo would want to ensure that it can track IP and the like. That’s what HiFo needs to ensure. If people think they can be lazy or lackadaisical about such things, then, well, you can develop the code of course, but no entity will use it; the risk would be too great.

And finally, I would like some sort of straw poll on whether or not you, the community, would like me to continue. In many ways, I was “forced” upon you, either rightly or wrongly. Now I’d like to hear from you.

10 Responses so far.

  1. Andrew Flegg says:

    Welcome on board Jim, and thanks for the introduction.

    I think you’re a bit off with the situation, though:

    I also believe that the mobile world would greatly benefit from a real open source mobile OS. […] Since it seemed to me that the existence and the health and viability of HiFo was crucial to Maemo continuing, I wanted to help. […] So I know nothing about the code, and would not presume to direct or manage how it’s coded, what to add, etc… IMO, that’s not the function of the foundation or the board anyway.

    This seems to suggest you think there is a product called “Maemo” that is owned (or managed) by the Hildon Foundation. That’s very far from the truth.

    “Maemo” was a product owned and published by Nokia on their Internet tablet devices (770, N800, N810) and N900 and N9 phones. It was built on open source products (Linux kernel, Gtk+, Qt, GStreamer) and resulted in Nokia sponsoring lots of open source projects. But, the majority of the user interface, and many of the bundled applications were closed source.

    There is are community projects to provide updates to the open source components for the N8x0 (Diablo) and N900 (Fremantle) as part of “community SSU” projects, but Maemo isn’t a viable product which anyone else would take. Instead, offshoots of Nokia’s merging of Maemo with Intel’s Moblin to form MeeGo – specifically the triumvirate of Mer/Nemomobile/Jolla are far more likely to be used by anyone wanting a new OS.

    Maemo is, at its best, a community around a series of increasingly long-in-the-tooth Nokia products. They are well-loved and well-used. But I’d be surprised if the Foundation is able to get anyone to produce any form of viable commercial product on the open sourced components around Maemo.

    I realise you don’t know who I am, but I’ve been a member of the Maemo community since before the Nokia 770 launched in 2005, came up with the idea of the Community Council and have served on it many times. I’ve owned, and used, every single Maemo device (well, apart from an N810 WiMax Edition) and still use an N9 as my primary phone.

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