Council 2005 12

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  • Date: December 21, 2005
  • Facilitator: Wren
  • Scribe: Pete
  • Previous Meeting Minutes


Wren (facilitator), Richard/RFS, Oso, Martin, Xen, Pete (scribe), Marie, Laurel, Seamus, Tallwes, Bobby, Debi, Liane, Store Steve, Rev Phil, Rick, Dave, Matteo, Joren, Clout


  • laurel will try to translate board election process into a hiring-checklist like document for the next meeting.
DRAFT IS ON WIKI Board Election Checklist
  • Shawn will try to help Marie get involved with PR stuff
Shawn gave Marie a wiki lesson. Marie can't make it to Outreach meetings. She's on it though.
  • martin will organize a meeting to do with the blind linux development proposal. contact wes, clout, wren, distro group.
Martin got no interest from distro, even with the carrot of Money attached. Has gotten outside interest from Bob Griggs, some org. he can't remember name of, has interest in us doing this and maybe will help fund. However, funding without people to use the funding presents a problem. Martin says maybe this commitment is done. But wait, there's more. Distro group was originally requested to do needs analysis, but had no interest. Wren, Clout, Wes are interested; will they take action? Yes. These four recommit to convene, do needs analysis as a foundation for possible future grant. (Expertise will still be needed; in absence of distro help, perhaps grant to hire expert?)


Staff reports



  • keeping up with adopter requirements. Store wants more, but they're selling more
  • 133 mhz RAM running short, freekbox midrange hard drives too. Currently have enough larger drives to meet demand; expand spec? we get lots of 128/100 MHz for memory. It's just the 133s that are a problem.
  • working on diskless for bolivia
  • software has been changing
  • vagrant switched infrastructure servers to new software; bumpy ride, but generally good.
  • store boxes sometimes get newest ubuntu. good reviews, some hiccups.


Matteo: new brochures at front desk.



quantum and hallmark were mobo and CBM wire folks. but we've switched to calbag metals. looks like more $$ for fg. they offered to take monitors for $6 not $7, potentially significant savings, better turnaround time (so loss of trailer might not be a problem). What's the deal with Ernie? Who the hell is Ernie? He used lots of electricity. He used to "buy" monitors from us, though he rarely actually came through on payment, and never verified what he was doing with them. He has resurfaced using the name All Best Computers but we are still not doing business with him. Phil: goldfingers? Xen: less work for us, perhaps better money for us too if we don't cut off fingers. Oso has found maybe we are being ripped off and is ON THE CASE yo.

Geek Wars

Joren declined to give a detailed Geek Wars report.


  • holiday party: Debi says this was super awesome.

media strategy


check these wiki pages:
Media contact list
Stats and Testimonials
Press Kit
  • Free Geek is basically interesting. So naturally, media interest comes our way.
  • All interested parties (the public, the media, Free Geek) should be well served by any coverage we get.
    • The public wants a view that is informed, accurate, stimulating. They want to know what we've accomplished.
      • everyone please help collect info that shows how great FG is.
      • HELP REALLY WANTED: testimonials, interviewees. Both at Stats and Testimonials.
    • Free Geek wants a vehicle to express its needs.
      • Needs are a Council level concern, council input needed to have accurate and useful portrayal in media. Please keep this in mind and add relevant bits to wiki. Press Kit is a good place for that discussion.
  • Short term (in next month): Pete will pursue 3 stories, report back.

  • upcoming grants
not discussed
  • people's & chinook book
not discussed


  • Oso, Xen, Shawn, Marie have all helped with efforts so far. Kudos yeah!
  • Oso: Veers. Beirly. Some such. Pete should ask him and Richard later.
  • Dave: Wired magazine reporter. (Pete sez thanks! add it to the wiki!)
  • Debi: morning TV. (Pete - ditto above!)
  • Marie: attended OSDL cluster meeting. movement to do coordinated press stuff about open source. We own nonprofit market! Nobody else is talking about NPs.
  • Debi: eBay sellers. We have a program where we provide stuff for people to sell, for profit, on eBay. If they're selling a part from free geek, we should require them to mention us; it's easy and well-deserved publicity. Dave will talk to his friends about this. Bobby will harass Dave.
  • Richard: keep priorities straight, so that if we get burned out we don't miss the important stuff. Outreach has been overzealous in past and gotten burned out, leaving things hanging.
  • Oso: that discussion has started within committee.
  • Pete: apart from immediate concerns, everybody please contribute to the underlying structure (i.e. wiki pages listed above.) It will help now and far down the road with many outreach efforts.


Ambassadors ad-hoc committee

  • Met on Friday. Went over history of sending folks away. Have gone as far as Brazil, as near as Washington. Discussed criteria for deciding if we're going to send folks, how to execute (what we want to accomplish), and who will do it. A lot comes down to "who's paying."
  • N10 conference coming up (National nonprofit.) Oso attended it 2 years ago in Philly. It's a good schmooze fest. Benefits intangible, but numerous.
  • Laurel: has it become apparent why it was good when you went before?
  • Oso: yes, it led to FG Chicago, FG Columbus, Ford Foundation contacts...
  • Martin going to Uganda.
  • Richard going to FG columbus in January.
  • Richard: If anybody finds FG Pennsylvania, report on their existence and location please!!
  • Oso will try to talk to Roy.
  • Martin's his departure date is contingent on stuff getting there. Maybe 2 months.

  • There will be a second meeting after Martin comes back.
  • Ambassadors requested guidelines from Outreach on advocating for Free Geek.


minor bylaws amendment:

see Talk:Free Geek Bylaws

RFS: This was discovered by FG Oly.

A minor mistake in bylaws: board is elected by council, BUT elsewhere it says board can remove "any board member appointed or elected by board." So the only reference to removing a board member for cause comes in a clause that describes precisely 0 board members. So, we should have that clause stricken. Council, can we ask Board to address this at next meeting?

(some minor discussion and requests for clarification.)

  • Wren: do we have consensus?
  • RFS moves to ask the Board to strike "elected or appointed by the board" clause from article 3 sec 10 of bylaws.
  • Wren: questions? comments?
  • Wes asks for's clarified.
  • Clout fakes a block.
  • consensus reached. No stand-asides or blocks.

Q & A on the budget

Current Budget

RFS and Seamus thought they would have more on budget than they do. They're meeting tomorrow.

Current draft at Current Budget by quarter. Shows income and expenses for this year (estimated in Dec) and projects out for next year.

  • Martin: is it budgeted for new staff or raises?
  • RFS: constant salary and number of staff, but also "no grants" assumed by budget.
Line items will be changed in ongoing process, possibly including adding new staff etc.
  • Attempt at consensus for "council doesn't embezzle" is heartily mocked and blocked.
  • Martin: can we propose specific additions to budget?
  • RFS: Project Planning sheets (see next) are the first attempt to formalize the process of requesting new budget items.

Program Planning Sheets on the wiki

(note: this subsection blends with the last, they kinda ran together.) Program Planning Guidelines

We're starting PPS's up; Richard says let's get as many people as possible involved in making them, and standardizing them, so it's easy to look at them side-by-side.

RFS: In the past, FG has done a good job and being usually lucky at "hey what do we wanna do now." But it's set us back a few times, and things are getting more complex. That's why we have Program Planning Sheets. So, any new program can be considered in context of other programs. This gives Board the ability to answer "is this fiscally responsible" question.

  • Oso: once you've filled out a PPS, who does it go to. Some will need to go to staff, but maybe others will go right to council...? can we get guidelines?
  • RFS: Bottom line, all 3 bodies Staff, Council, Board need to be able to evaluate
  • Marie: as a board member, it seems weird to have a budget that is presented as "not accurate." i.e., assumes no grant money.
  • RFS: We are way behind where we should be, this is a rough draft phase 1, and is meant to be conservative and clearly stated as a solid "starting place." Every budget is "inaccurate," but there will be stages of increasing accuracy. We need a starting point, that's what this is. Read the page on the wiki, which describes this in more detail.
  • Marie: you need to have accuracy on expenses.
  • RFS and Martin: expenses are more accurate than income. Expenses are based on maintenance needs from last year, for instance. The main needs are addressed by projected income without grants. So we hope (and reasonably expect) that unknown income is greater than unknown expenses.
  • Marie: stating concern differently:
As a board member, it would be hard to agree to a budget that does not include for instance staff/salary increases. You're saying you want/need increases, but it's not in the budget. What gives?
  • Oso: Part of the disconnect here is that Richard is talking about the beginnings of the budget; it's not yet "The Budget" which requires board approval, but a draft. We still need to GET it to the point where it will be official and need Board approval.
  • Wren: We're starting from a "pessimistic" point, wanting to become more optimistic through measured steps that should give the board confidence because they will be carefully considered.
  • RFS: PLEASE everybody look at Current Budget and give feedback. It will probably be modified quarterly, it will be an ongoing process. It needs your input ahead of time, like NOW.
  • Seamus: How much has Staff been thinking about what their priorities will be? Is it more important to get more staff, to repeal pay cut, etc? Will there be a good sense of this within the next month (before Board considers budget stuff?)
  • RFS: We've discussed it some. Polled on certain issues: what would expanded hours be like. Job descriptions and possible shifts among staff. Some talk has happened on all things you've said. The money probably aint there, but there's a camp in staff that wants more production and sales. That's the "engine." Program planning sheets came from this process. Staff is talking about how far along they'll be before board meeting.
  • Pete: Trying to bridge board concerns expressed by Marie and Seamus with realities of what staff has been discussing. In order for Board to assess budget, they'll need to understand "needs-and-wants for expansion" somewhat separately from "projected income." If windfalls come, there should be a framework for how to allocate them. And having clearly articulated needs might be a good way to encourage windfalls to come.
  • Martin: I don't think the Board's role is to say to FG: "what do you want next?"
  • RFS: These things are more Council responsibility than Board responsibility.
  • Pete: OK, so forget what body is doing the assessing. If it's Council or whoever, my point still applies. Those doing the detailed budget work need to keep things separate in order for it to be comprehensible/assessable by ANYONE.
  • Laurel: Let's look at recent Council hiring decisions for guidance.
  • RFS: We have a plan. (Might be stupid but whatever.) Basically Council has said "first hire Printer coordinater which will bring in more $$ then let's use that $$ to get new Educational coordinator (and other stuff?)"
  • Clout: Is there an Ed program for somebody to coordinate?
  • Wren: it's kinda on hold.
  • Martin: Considering previous Council decision, and the Budget, should we look for a proposal to base budget on PPS's?
  • RFS: Nope. Look at "ed coord planning sheet" etc, take process step by step. First we need to look at ALL Program Planning Sheets. The basic assumption of the previous Council decision may not have been realistic ($$ from printer coord weren't enough.) Let's look at EVERYTHING before tinkering with individual programs.
  • Wren: We had an education program, and wanted to develop it further, and then Laurel was gone and things got kinda stagnant.
  • Martin proposes we rescind directive of "let's hire ed coordinator" till we've evaluated budget.
  • RFS: that's a moot point, we don't have the money. Can't think of a needier program at FG than education anyway.
  • Martin rescinds proposal to rescind and raises his PBR. Mumbles a toast.
  • Debi: where is Printer $$ coming from?
  • RFS: store, cartridges, etc.
  • Dave: if a program is "income generating" does that mean it should pay all salary, health benefits, etc etc?
  • RFS: yeah, but it's tough to draw clear lines between programs.


  • Phil: The dolla is in trubba yo. (Phil gave a big speech and i sure hope he has notes to paste in here cause my fingas is tired.) Basically the dollar is gonna fail, the economy will collapse, those who have gold will have all the...well, gold. (Listen to Coast to Coast for general background.) And check it out, we have gold, so maybe we oughtta keep some, and not convert it to dollars to be put in the bank.
  • Martin: This is all very well and good, but the only thing it applies to is our new $10K cash reserve. If it makes good sense to hoard gold, we might as well just buy it out of cash reserves, cause otherwise we're impacting our daily operations.
  • Xen: we need robot insurance. She'll talk to Calbag and figger out why our gold income aint spikin. No storing stuff in her spot yo!
  • Clout: We want comic book stuff.
  • Oso: If we're going to consider hoarding stuff, it should be gold, not processors. DUH!
  • Laurel: Suggested Calbag pay us for processors in actual gold, not just checks.
  • Pete: let's have a committee, and can I not be on it please thank you.
  • RFS: calls for adjournment of meeting.


  • Facilitator: Xen (backup facilitator is Clout)
  • Scribe: Liane (backup scribe is Laurel)
  • Date: January 18, 2006


Seamus: Jan 4, 5:30 consensus training for new Board members and anybody else who's interested.


  • Marie will add OSDL/nonprofit stuff to wiki.
  • Marie will create a video that can go on the web, etc.
  • Dave, Debi, and Oso have useful media info to get on wiki. Pete will follow up.
  • Bobby, Dave will harass eBay sellers to give FG credit.
  • Martin, Wren, Clout, Wes will convene to do needs assessment for blind linux distro.
  • Martin or Oso will get Ambassadors minutes on wiki