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Open Letter From The Hildon Foundation Board To The Maemo Community

The following “open letter” was sent to the Maemo Community in an attempt to describe the duties and responsibilities of the Hildon Foundation in relationship with the Maemo Community and the Maemo Community Council.

The original article, written by Tim Samoff, Hildon Foundation Board member, can be viewed here:

Dear Maemo Community,

As long-time supporters and contributors — and, in all humility, quite honored to be counted among all of you — we, the inaugural Hildon Foundation Board felt it necessary that we put forth an open, public statement about how we feel the “Board” should be considered and engaged with.

At this point, the first Board meeting minutes have been published for public review. As we hope you’ll see, it is nothing but the Maemo Community’s best interests that we are concerned with. In fact, the entire reason for the Hildon Foundation to exist is so that the community may continue with as few interruptions as possible. So, as you read on, please keep this in mind.

A little history first…

Sometime in 2007 this community reached a tipping point. There were many active users, new devices, new code, and a lot of questions pertaining to the future of the website and the community’s relationship with Nokia. Because of this, the idea to create a “community council” as a way of fielding community issues and communicating them with Nokia was proposed. Those of you who have been a part of this community for a while will remember that the idea was widely agreed upon and the Maemo Community Council was born.

This new entity, while totally unpaid and volunteer, ended up being an amazingly efficient conduit between community matters and those at Nokia who considered Maemo their charge. Both the community and Nokia flourished because of this relational reorganization.

Fast-forward to the present…

Nokia is leaving the scene (figuratively, of course, as we hope that the community still sees some Nokia faces here and there); the community is in a bit of an identity crisis; the Council and Foundation Board elections are rife with issues… The list could go on. But, regardless of these problems, we now have a new phase of community life to forge.

Because of this, it is necessary to reevaluate how the community operates and who is responsible for its continued operations.

Today’s Maemo Community Council…

Thankfully, the new Maemo Community Council is made up of very dedicated and trustworthy folks. And, as it has been since the Council’s inception, these are the people who will directly fend for the daily life of our community. It is with gratitude that our community should receive this new Council. Treat them respectfully and always give them the benefit of the doubt. They are our dedicated and faithful guides.

The Hildon Foundation…

The Hildon Foundation and, specifically, the Foundation Board should be viewed in quite a different light, though. It is the Hildon Foundation that will oversee the transition of the Maemo Community away from Nokia and into the hands of the community. Of course, the Foundation is also very concerned with ongoing development within both the Mer and Nemo projects, so facilitating their future is also quite important.

It is the Hildon Foundation that will administer such things as community infrastructure, managing money needed to continue the community, and general oversight of features and functionality in and around the strata of the community. Understand that it is the “Foundation Board” — regardless of the individuals who actually occupy the roles within — who accept and administer responsibilities.cleardot.gif

Because of this, it is the current Board’s opinion that the relational dynamic between the community, the Council, and the Board should remain very similar to how they existed between the community, the Council, and Nokia in past years. And, because of this, it is the Boards opinion that the community should continue to communicate directly with the Council, and not necessarily with the Board. (Hence, discussion forums such as “Ask the Board” are quite inappropriate for these purposes as they never existed between the community and Nokia.)

In Conclusion…

All of this being said, the Hildon Foundation Board will make every attempt to run “business” in an open source manner. We will publish as much of our meeting minutes as possible without violating any non disclosure agreements. Likewise, we will make every attempt to respond to community communication via the Maemo Community Council, especially those things that pertain to community infrastructure and daily operations. Lastly, we will remain active within the community as regular community members.

Thank you…

Thank you for supporting this community. It is the reason why we who choose to serve in more political capacities like the Community Council and the Board. There is no other reason. We believe in this community. We desire this community to succeed. We will do everything we can to facilitate the growth of this community.

In service,
The Hildon Foundation Board