Board meeting now.

Ethan Blanton elb at
Tue May 15 23:30:55 EDT 2007

[Comments inline.]

Peter Lawler spake unto us the following wisdom:
> Ethan Blanton wrote:
> >Peter Lawler spake unto us the following wisdom:
> > >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.
> Best laid plans are fine for a voluntary grouping such as Pidgin, I was 
> kind of hoping for something a bit, for want of a better term, 
> professional, from an LLC that's had several thousand dollars donated to 
> it to which Pidgin has placed it's hopes, etc. This might be hard to 
> take, but from what I'm reading IMFreedom is a company and I'm currently 
> less than impressed with their 'service' (the exception being the 
> settling of the AOL foo). Pidgin development time is being wasted by 
> this company because Pidgin developers are one and the same for the 
> company, thus in the limited person-hours available one is going to 
> suffer, or worse still, both, due to time constraints.

While IMF, Inc. is an incorporated entity, it is far from a "company";
in fact, as is in the transcript of the board meeting (which you
cannot be expected to have read, yet, as it was only just released and
you were not attendant), we are in the process of gathering up the
information to apply for non-profit status.  All of the work which has
gone into IMF's creation and development, so far, has been volunteer
-- even the legal work which was done for us was done on a pro bono
basis.  As someone who has donated several thousand dollars to IMF, I
personally have to say that I am *glad* that that money is not being
spent on nonessentials, which up to this point has included the web
site.  Now that the settlement is in place, and Pidgin development is
back under way (which, as you rightly point out, was a better use of
Pidgin developer time than working on IMF issues), this is becoming
more of a priority, at least in my mind.

Let me make this 100% clear: while IMF is incorporated, it is not a
"company".  We (as directors and officers) are not being paid.  At
least as long as I sit on the board, I will not support any measure
which pays any director for anything other than reasonable expenses
incurred in the course of performing IMF duties (to date, this has
included a grand total of about $7 in postage).

> > >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.)
> >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
> >product.
> Right, this is certainly one other bit I was unclear of. What your 
> saying, for want of a better bunch of words, is that a group of senior 
> gaim/pidgin devs went looking around for an LLC to provide certain 
> services, and decided to set up their own. I would be concerned if any 
> dev was leant on to 'donate' to the LLC from their own income stream and 
> then had no (or limited) input into IMF's establishment. I'll just have 
> to take it as read that no one was co-oerced as I know that a lot of 
> this discussion was off the record (eg, IRC, private/closed mail lists).

Yes, that is precisely how IMF was created; as Sean pointed out, its
primary purpose is to provide a legal shield for those individuals who
have donated code to the Pidgin project.  To the best of my knowledge,
no one was coerced into giving any money to IMF; I certainly know that
those who sit on the board of directors (who represent the majority of
that money, by the way) gave their donations freely.

> >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.
> OK, fair enough. I'm glad that raising these points has cleared my mind. 
> I *am* concerned that others may remain ill-informed and will be 
> required to ask around for any emails that'd clarify the matter. I would 
> suggest that Pidgin should offer IMFreedom a quick sub-domain just to 
> introduce themselves and give a quick rundown on the relationship whilst 
> IMFreedom get their act together ;)

We passed a resolution for a number of the issues discussed here to be
laid out on the web site, which will hopefully be up and
running sooner rather than later.  I would be hesitant to suggest that host such information, as this simply supports the
(erroneous) notion that Pidgin and Instant Messaging Freedom, Inc. are
one and the same.

It sounds like, after clarification, you are more comfortable with IMF
and its position in the Pidgin/Free Software world.  I hope that I am
understanding that correctly; please let me (or any other member of
the board) know if you continue to have concerns.

> The fact of the matter is the previous and current Pidgin leads *are* 
> corporate IM employees. I think you're probably aware that I have been 
> concerned for some time that we (Pidgin) have no procedure in place for 
> what on earth to do when conflicts of interest arise (witness the 
> speex/gstreamer pre-AOL suit disagreement that took place iirc a couple 
> of months before the AOL suit hit with the practical ramification that 
> the hopes of gstreamer audio/video in 2.x went down the can).

This is, of course, a completely separate issue from IMF.  I was
present and aware of this particular issue at the time, and as a
disinterested third party I personally do not believe that there were
any issues caused by a conflict of interest.  There were certainly
disagreements on how development should proceed, but my own opinion is
that the conflict of interest topic is a red herring.  I understand
that, as a participant in the issue at the time, you feel that your
camp got the short end of the stick, and I am sorry that that is the

> >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.
> Understood. It's a bit hard to 'speak for IMFreedom' as their (first?) 
> board meeting was underway when I sent the original email - not to 
> mention you posted as and not ;)

Honestly, I don't even know if I have an email address.


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
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: Digital signature
Url : 

More information about the Board mailing list