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Alias (5735)

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Journal of Alias (5735)

Tuesday March 28, 2006
08:19 AM

I hereby announce my candidacy for TPF President

[ #29129 ]

I'd like to announce my candidacy, as of today, for the position of President of The Perl Foundation.

As President, my first task will be institute the creation of a member registration system for Perl developers. While NOT a formal skill-based certification, this membership will allow you to do the following.

1. Support Perl and The Perl Foundation via your annual membership fees. Membership will be set at the following approximate levels (in US dollars)

        $50 per year - Registered Perl Student Developer
        $99 per year - Registered Perl Developer
      $249 per year - Registered Perl Professional
    $1990 per year - Registered Perl Partner (company registration)
    $9900 per year - Corporate Perl Partner (company registration)

2. Entitle you to place your registration on your CV and website, and entitle you to the use of the Perl Foundation Membership Logo for your membership level, customised with your membership number.

3. Entitle you to an amount, equivalent to your registration fee, for use at your option in The Perl Foundation Ideas Market, a market-based system for harvesting ideas and voting for them based on merit.

Any registered member will be allowed to add an idea to the market. The allocation based on registration amount is in recognition (in particular for the two company levels) of the importance of businesses in the creation of more and better jobs for Perl programmers.

This market will help you to help me guide the development and direction of the TPF itself, and although the TPF will not be bound by the market we will use the market as the basis for areas we should be focusing on.

4. Entitle you a copy (or 10 for companies) of an exclusive Best of YAPC DVD. This DVD will contain a high-quality edited collection of the best and funniest YAPC talks for that year, recorded live at YAPC conferences around the world, and will ONLY be available to registered members.

5. From year 2007, membership will allow you to vote (1 vote per individual, 5 per company) for your favourite from a nominated group of candidates in the annual White Camel Awards.

And from year 2008, membership will allow you to vote in the first annual elections for members of the TPF board of directors.

6. Registered Perl Partners will additionally recieve 2 free tickets (and Corporate Perl Partners 10 free tickets) to any YAPC event for that year in any of the countries in which it is held, to be allocated to your developers as you wish.

The funds raised from the membership program will help in our ongoing efforts to fund exciting new projects via the grants committee, and to support a variety of efforts worldwide.

The creation of this membership system will be the focus my year as TPF President, in the hope that we can harness the world wide attention and enthusiasm of the Perl development community.

Thankyou and I hope I can look forward to your vote in 2006!

Adam Kennedy

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Now of course, this is an entirely fictional scenario, and I'm _not_ actually putting up my hand for the TPF President role (not this year at least) but it does contain some things I would like to see happen.

I think it's clear that people want some form of official badge as a "serious" Perl developer, even if this isn't a certification-based system.

I think it's clear we need some way for both people and businesses to contribute to the TPF regularly, WITHOUT requiring the TPF to grab your attention year after year. If people are already happy to help you out, why should we make them have to think and decide the next year.

And I think by having people willing to put their money where their mouth is as a Perl developer, we can have a trusted pool of people and companies that can then be drawn from for guidance on what the direction and focus of Perl should be, and give a way for companies that are the ones CREATING the Perl jobs to help provide some leadership on what THEY need to help create even more Perl jobs.

The ideas market is a bit more adventurous, but would mean we can get DIRECT feedback on a day to day basis from the members, and it means that over time people supporting the best and most successful ideas will have an increased influence over the next ideas. A kind of democratic meritocracy, if you will.

It will let people volunteering for the big ideas to get some limelight, while identifying the areas which are important but nobody wants to do, thus pointing out good places for strategic grants, or where a company might find it worth sponsoring a paid developer for a month or two to fix.

But the TPF is a relatively closed organisation, driven by volunteers and merit there is no doubt, but still to some degree by invitation only it would seem.

The leadership would seem to have a strong American focus (and some would say Oregon focus), understandable given it's history certainly, but nonetheless concerning for those of us outside of "the Cabal", who feel we have little chance of participation.

Things happen that might not in a more open organisation.

The previous holder of the Public Relations position was not even aware he held the post for much of his term, and while Allison grew into a much more active and visible President than when she first started, the same cannot be said for our new President, Bill Odom.

Now because I managed to make it to Oregon for the first time last year, I had a chance to meet Bill, and he's a nice guy and quite approachable.

But he has ZERO public presence, and I felt a bit odd at the time in that he was a guy that everyone from Oregon/US seemed to know, but that I'd never even heard of.

He has almost no website, he's released one CPAN module, Win32::ASP, but outside of that I know pretty much nothing, and I'd never even heard of him before I met him. I've never seen him on a mailing list, or IRC, or anywhere for that matter.

And I'm sure, like I would have been if this were the situation last year, there's a lot of people asking "Who the bloody hell is Bill Odom?".

Bill, mate, you are the President, the public face of The Perl Foundation. But not only can't we see your face, nobody that hasn't met you has any idea who you are. No introduction speech, no journal entries, no commentary, nothing.

Just "Bill Odom has been appointed as President", and since then silence for 3 months now. A quarter of your first term is over and you haven't even introduced yourself.

You seem like a great guy, but if there's no way for us to vote and do anything about who the President is, then the people in the worldwide Perl Community that don't know who you are deserve a little better than silence from their appointed leader.

Is that much to ask Bill?

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  • The mechanism of a non-profit membership organization in the United States is quite complicated and overly complex. It basically further cripples any action that the administration can do. When I started Perl Mongers, a couple of lawyers explained it all to me and my research all turned up the same answer: don't form as a membership organization if you can help it. If TPF becomes more like a guild (which is what you propose), its tax situation is completely different.

    If you were only in the presidency for a
    • the onyl Perl magazine

      Does that have something to do with onions? :-)

    • As I said, it's a fictional scenario, but one that (ignoring the details of implementing it) I think many people would like to see.

      More participation, more feedback, more opportunity.

      As one of the partners of Stonehenge and the publisher of the only Perl magazine, your view is from a position far closer to the action than people on the other side of the world, with little to no access to the North American community.

      I personally got more out listening into a stream of Allison from Randal's laptop at one mee
      • People don't not particpate because they don't have a way to give money. A membership organization is not going to change that.

        In reality, charitable organizations will always have to beg for money. You get that by developing personal relationships with the people who give out the money (not just the organization that has the money). As a charity, no one can inure private benefit, which means that your plan turns TPF into a non-charity, which cuts you off from charitable giving.

        Changing things to an foreig
      • The TPF has too much money? Where did you find that out, because from out here I had no idea. There's no financials visible since 2003.

        Go to the TPF Web site [perlfoundation.org]. On the left side, near the top of the page, is a clearly visible "tax returns" link. Click on that and you'll see our tax returns through 2004 (I've no idea if this year's return has been filed as I don't handle the money).

        A little below that link is the Fund Drive Status [perlfoundation.org] link. Click on that and you'll see the money we pulled in for last year

        • Go to the TPF Web site. On the left side, near the top of the page, is a clearly visible "tax returns" link. Click on that and you'll see our tax returns through 2004 (I've no idea if this year's return has been filed as I don't handle the money).

          In Adam's defense, the tax returns had only gone through 2003 when he wrote his comment. When I read it, I double-checked to make sure he was right and noticed that the tax returns were only up through 2003. I had the 2004 return in PDF form, but I forgot to po

    • Having been on the Board of several US charities under section 501(c)(3) and an officer of one [former Secretary MoP [museumofprinting.org]], I endorse brian d foy's comments regarding non-profit governance. Membership organizations are possibly the most complex , but all non-profit governance in the US is complex. Not only does it depend upon the exact IRS chapter a corporation is registered under (scientific & educational, good works, fraternal, religious, ...), but also under which options under the local law of whichever
      --
      Bill
      # I had a sig when sigs were cool
      use Sig;
  • I think it's clear that people want some form of official badge as a "serious" Perl developer, even if this isn't a certification-based system.

    Uh, that's not clear at all. I hear very little support for certification of any kind from the Perl developers I know.

    • Agreed. I'm not interested in anything like that.

      I'd rather wave a certificate and say I took a class from Randal Schwartz or somebody (which I didn't), as it would have some real meaning. As it is, my resume says far more than any such meaningless certification would say, and my ability to demonstrate that I can do something useful for a potential employer says far more than even that.

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • I think it's clear that people want some form of official badge as a "serious" Perl developer, even if this isn't a certification-based system.

    Something mildly related was in this thread [perlmonks.org] on perlmonks recently.

    I would like to see some kind of certification for programmers and some more professionalism in the field in general (particularly after a recent look at some PHP code from the "copy/paste engineering" school of thought.) But, who is going to put that system in place and what is it going to look

  • You know, Bill called me when he found out he would be accepting the job and I told him rather frankly that he was crazy for even thinking about taking the job with this sinking ship and that, aside from the need for transparency, if he could do nothing else it would be to make sure TPF stop treating volunteers and donors like expendable shit found on the bottom of their shoes.

    The problem with this organization is not money or a lack thereof. An organization that has no capacity to thank its donors prop

    • You forgot to mention one problem which has sometimes plagued TPF. People who are a part of it and do nothing but complain about this and that, that and this and hinder progress. People who say they will do things, then don't come through. I think I'm still waiting for a promised newsletter from you from back in '02 to put on the TPF website.

      Allison always returned my emails on TPF issues. Lenzo always returned my emails on TPF issues. In fact, I think everyone has. Maybe it was selective silence.

      As someone
    • Most of your efforts, community participation and comments predate my entry to the Perl community, so I'm afraid can't relate as well as others.

      I just wish sometimes you would articulate your complaints with a little less pesimism, and a little more clarity. Behind the venom I've always you to have good ideas, and so I thank you for the comments. Maybe it IS a crazy idea, it _was_ pretty late, and I _was_ essentially pulling ideas out my ass to see what might pollinate from them.

      The feedback from this, and
  • I spent a bit of time earlier this evening on the phone with Bill Odom, TPF president. It can't be denied that he's been quiet the past few months, but there's a reason for this. Elaine, his wife, has spent most of that time in the hospital, including quite recent emergency surgeries and readmittances. Bill has spent most of that time with her there. (This is why Bill hasn't commented on this topic himself. He has been out of action of a sort he hopes none of us will ever know.)

    Naturally, he has tri