Board meeting now.

Ethan Blanton elb at
Tue May 15 22:26:47 EDT 2007

Peter Lawler spake unto us the following wisdom:
> 1) I apologise for not bringing this topic up earlier.
> 2) The initial constitution and board were voted on by a closed loop. 
> That loop was only the people 'involved' in the AOL issue, not 
> necessarily all devs and cpw's (ie, actively interested parties)

This is true.

> 3) The constitution isn't easily available*. One has to ask and then be 
> pointed to a message in a previously closed mail list.

This is also true; however, it *will* be available on,
when that web site is complete.  It was supposed to be complete before
Pidgin became public, but, you know, best laid plans and all.

> 4) The President and Lead of Pidgin work for Corporate IM companies. 
> There is nothing in the constitution that would force them to excuse 
> themselves from any topic based on conflict of interest.

This is probably something which we should discuss.  For your
edification, note that we have already had occasions where some of
those very parties have bowed out of Pidgin development discussions
due to the perceived possibility of conflicts of interest.  (I realize
that Pidgin development and IM Freedom, Inc. are separate issues; as I
said, we should discuss it.)

> 5) is taking monies based partly on my work, yet I have 
> had *no* say in it's initial setup until three weeks ago (well after the 
> horse has bolted).

IM Freedom, Inc. is not taking money based on anyone's work.  IM
Freedom, Inc. has taken money donated by Pidgin developers (and only
by Pidgin developers), to date; that money is not to fund Pidgin
development, but to fund the advancement of and freedom of open
messaging solutions.  (The exact text is in the constitution which you
linked.) Pidgin, specifically (as well as libpurple and finch), is a
separate issue.  It will be clear that donations to IMF, Inc. are
_not_ donations to Pidgin, libpurple, finch, Adium, or any other IM

> One of the reasons, apart from lack of time, that I didn't mention any 
> of this earlier is that I just *know* many of the board members with be 
> saying right now 'Oh, shut up Pete, it's only Pidgin. It's our source, 
> we'll do what we like.' or similar. Which is, of course, my point 
> entirely. It's not all your own source. No one owns it. I find it odd 
> that a corporate entity can take control of my code without any input 
> from me whatsoever.

It is only partly our source, as COPYRIGHT attests.  However, I think
IMF and Pidgin are far more separate concerns than this email
suggests.  IMF exists to protect and support Pidgin, libpurple, and
related projects, not to direct or control them.  There is no
corporate entity which can control any of your code.  The bylaws you
posted should make this clear; we will also be making it clear on the web site.

Note, of course, that some *other* corporate entity could fork Pidgin
and control the codebase of a fork to the full extent allowed by the
GPL, which is simultaneously very broad and quite narrow.  That is
not, however, at all what is happening here.

> I appreciate that the product itself is not a democracy, however as a 
> CPW and occasional IRC contributor, I feel the above whilst worthy of 
> treatment for Random Q User in #pidgin is a bit out of order for the 
> fostering of collaborative input from others. I only hope no one posts 
> similar to 'Pidgin now controlled by Corporate IM employees' to /.

I hope not, as well, because it will be a complete mischaracterization
of what has gone on.  As you are no doubt aware, having been in
#pidgin since the release of Pidgin, nothing with respect to
day-to-day Pidgin development has changed since the founding on IM
Freedom, Inc.  IM Freedom, Inc. is orthogonal to development of
Pidgin, libpurple, and associated code.

I appreciate your input, and I hope that this has clarified some of
the issues which concern you.  I will make sure that the conflict of
interest point is discussed and treated appropriately.  As a
disclaimer, I must point out that, while I am on the board of
directors for Instant Messaging Freedom, Inc., this email cannot be
construed to speak for all directors or for the corporation itself; it
is a representation of my understanding of the issues.


The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws [that have no remedy
for evils].  They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor
determined to commit crimes.
		-- Cesare Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishments", 1764
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