Instant Messaging Freedom, Inc.

IM Freedom Board Meeting 2020-04-22 00:00 UTC using Zoom.us. All time listed below in UTC.

  • Preamble and call to order: 00:14
  • Directors Present
    • John Bailey, President/Treasurer
    • Matthew Needham, Vice President
    • Gary Kramlich, Secretary
    • Ethan Blanton, Director
    • Richard Laager, Director
    • Peter Lawler, Director
  • Treasurer’s report:
    • 2019: Opened $29,553.22 USD, closed with $29,875.11 USD.
    • Primary income was spreadshirt at $137.30 USD.
    • Bank fees from 2018 refunded $180.00 USD
    • 2020: Opened with $29.875.11
    • Year to date we have collected $1.43 USD in interest.
    • At the time of this meeting our balance was $29,876.54 USD.
  • Board Election
    • Ethan moves to adopt the existing slate of directors
    • Gary seconds
    • Passes unanimously
  • Old Business
    • Gary Provided an infrastructure update
    • All Instant Messaging Freedom, Pidgin, and Adium domains have been moved under an organization account on gandi.net.
    • We will meet the cut off date for Bitbucket.org.
    • Our Kubernetes cluster has been sponsored by Digital Ocean.
      • Trac and the IMF wiki have yet to migrate.
      • Email will be moved to our nicobar host once Trac has been migrated.
    • Gary created a new Mercurial hosting tool named HGKeeper.
    • Retired planet.pidgin.im
    • Trac is going to move to issues.imfreedom.org.
      • Code needs to be written for this because our Trac destroys the existing migration tools. Gary already wrote a tool for Bitbucket issue importing that will be gaining Trac support to make this happen.
    • John mentions that both YouTrack and Teamcity are using Open Source licenses.
    • Code review will most likely be done via Reviewboard. An demo version is up and running at reviews.imfreedom.org.
    • Concerns are raised about GDPR, John mentions that GDPR only kicks in for for-profit businesses of which we are not.
    • Gary mentions the tooling behind keep.imfreedom.org our new mercurial hosting.
    • Gary Provided Pidgin update
    • Next Pidgin release will be 2.14.0
      • This will be the last 2.x release and mark the end of feature development for Pidgin 2.
      • 2.14.y will be released as necessary.
      • Reasoning is that Pidgin 3 development needs to take precedent when it comes to our resources.
      • This release is stuck on a number of Windows specific issues.
      • John is working through them.
      • We need to ship/patch a CVE in Pango. This is tricky due to our current Glib/Gtk setup on Windows.
      • Gary mentions the Oscar code hasn’t been removed yet due to AIM Phoenix
      • The plan is to pull the protocol plugin out of tree.
    • Pidgin 3
      • GPlugin 1.0 is getting near.
      • This is to get it into the Debian New Queue sooner rather than later.
      • It is already in Fedora, Arch, and other Linux distributions.
      • It did not make Ubuntu 20.04.
      • It’s been put on the back burner because of the Bitbucket migration.
      • Gary mentions the packagecloud.io account for hosting our own distribution specific repositories.
      • Also a lot of gaps in the API were found while cleaning up the purple3 plugin code.
      • With GPlugin as it stands today all Libpurple users will be able to support plugins written in C/C++, Vala, Genie, Python3, Lua, and Perl5. There is no TCL support at this time.
      • There is also the Tiny C Compiler loader that will load plugins from .c files.
      • Talkatu is a re-imagining of GtkIMHTML and was born out of the need to remove webkit1 and not having a viable solution that worked across all platforms.
      • It is a Gtk Widget library containing Widgets for IM clients and contains widgets for input, the format bar, history, a send button. More will be coming in the near future.
      • Long end of the story, Pidgin 3 is still a long ways out.
      • It’s usable right now, but it’s missing some important features.
      • Libgnt got pulled out into it’s own repository.
      • This as been done so that it’s easier to discover and make it usable to others.
      • Pidgin/Finch 2.14.0 will be the first Finch release to use the out of tree Libgnt.
      • Soname will be changed in the near future.
      • Gary’s been given a lot of heat for ignore maintainability with Pidgin
      • There’s a plan to come back on the back end of the release to figure out how to extend an olive branch to the old plugins.
      • Gary mentions the purple2 GPlugin loader that could become an option, but Gary has no interest in continuing it.
      • Gary is trying to make libpurple3 have the features to get people to port their plugins. Stuff like voice and video, reactions, threads, inline images, etc.
  • New Business
    • John renewed the imfreedom.org domain name $145.80 USD John asks to be reimbursed.
    • Ethan moves to reimburse John.
    • Gary Seconds
    • Passes unanimously
    • Gary talks about the idea of dissolving the corporation.
    • Gary mentions it seems like we’re doing a disservice to our goals.
    • Ethan mentions that we never had a way to lose, and that the corporation was created to have a war chest of money in case we ran afoul of any providers. The war chest idea seems less urgent and we’ve attempted to find other avenues to sponsor/support but have yet to find something. He also mentioned that our existence was always the goal especially since the creation of the corporation happened right after a lawsuit was settled.
    • John mentions that typically today, the providers are more interested in terms of service violations as well as trademark infringement and we haven’t seen or heard of a case of a third party client being sued.
    • John also mentions that he doesn’t have any strong feelings on whether or not to keep the corporation going. If we dissolve that’s fine, and if we don’t, that’s fine as well. Gary echoes John’s sentiment.
    • Gary mentions that if existence in the goal, then that is fine.
    • Ethan also does not have strong feelings either way.
      • He mentions that after 12 years he feels he hasn’t been giving it the attention it deserves.
    • Ethan mentions that our Non profit status needs to be filed by May 15th, maybe next year, but it should be done this year. We have to file our e-post card. We also have to file with the state of Delaware.
      • Gary mentioned he believes it is the responsibility of the President.
    • Gary mentions that if we’re going to keep the corporation going, we need to get the address corrected.
      • Ethan to figure out how to get in contact with CT Corp.
    • Gary mentions that spreadshirt is a mess and he hasn’t done anything with it as to his knowledge we weren’t able to be paid at the moment.
      • Matthew mentions that we have a payment coming.
    • Ethan mentions that if we can pay someone to fix our address we should probably do it.
    • Ethan points out that in order to dissolve we have to fix our address and everything as well.
    • Peter moves to pay a reasonable amount of money to our registered agent to sort this out for us.
      • Ethan seconds
      • Passes unanimously
    • Ethan mentions that if we are going to make decisions to dissolve the corporation, we should do it before the end of the calendar year as it is the end of our fiscal year and if we continue to January 1st of 2021, then we might as well wait until the end of 2021.
    • Ethan passed the relevant data for the treasure to John.
    • As well as a signing card out to John.
    • Colin need to be removed from the account.
    • Ethan mentions that our Paypal account might have some issues.
    • Matthew mentions that he created a sub account for the treasure and gave it to Ethan.
    • Ethan verifies that this did work.
    • Treasure email will need to be moved.
    • Ethan mentions he has a folder of treasurer paper work and asks if John wants it.
    • John says it’s fine to send.
    • Ethan says he’s find to hold onto it for now as well.
    • John is fine with him holding onto it for now.
    • Ethan mentions there’s some holes in the paper record due to his move and the bank not sending him paper statements.
    • Ethan moves that we give John the authority to decide if we would like to use CT corp as our mail forwarding agent and that we pay them up to $300 USD a year if that seems like the thing we should do.
    • Peter and Gary Seconds
    • Motion carries
    • Richard mentions that he searched to see if we’re listed at all in Washington.
    • Ethan mentions that, if we were ever incorporated in Washington it’s expired.
    • Richard mentions then we should just worry about Delaware.
    • Both John and Ethan mention that they do not recall ever recall any mention of Washington.
    • Gary mentions that we are listed on Amazon Smile but has no idea if we’ve seen a payout and thinks it could be related to our address as it’s displayed in Washington.
    • Ethan says we have never received a payment from them.
    • John says that this should fall to him after the meeting.
    • Ethan says he has done some work on this previously, he doesn’t remember what happened with it.
    • Ethan will look this up to see what happened with it.
    • Gary and Ethan discuss that we may not yet have hit a threshold to receive a payment.
    • Richard mentions that according to their website the payout is $5 USD.
    • Ethan registers us once a year with Benevity and that we have received a significant amount of money from them in the past.
    • Gary mentions he has started creating archives for releases and source code repositories.
    • He has two copies of each and that he will be mailing the additional copies to John.
    • Ethan mentions that we should get all of our releases put onto archive.org.
      • Gary says he will make that happen.
    • Ethan mentions that archive.org would be a good target for some of our funds.
    • Gary brings up that COVID-19 has put him in a bind since he needs to find a job and was wondering if we could attempt to do something similar to the idea of last year of having a proposal to pay him some amount of money.
    • Ethan is for this, but says there needs to be a proposal.
    • Gary asks if that proposal can include work that was already done as so much of his current workload is done by the seat of his pants and impossible to plan.
    • Peter says we should consider throwing a couple of grand USD in Gary’s direction as he’s been doing work that’s supporting the project and that a proposal for new work isn’t necessary as there has already been a considerable amount of work completely.
      • Ethan is open to this idea.
    • John mentions that Gary has done the legwork to get the Digital Ocean infrastructure, he built HGKeeper, he did all the work to move our XMPP server, he wrote the integration between hub and prosody, and he’s continuing to do work to get us off of Bitbucket and off of Trac to something that is more maintainable. John is definitely in favor of giving Gary $5,000 USD because of the ridiculous amount of work he has put in.
    • Peter moves to give Gary $5,000 USD based on the work he has done in up to this point in time.
      • Ethan mentions he’s taking a minute to think because that is 1/6th of our holdings and we do not currently have an income stream.
      • Richard asks if it’s the opinion of the board that IMF does not make technical decisions for the projects. For example, their choice of version control.
      • Ethan responds with yes.
      • Richard concludes from there that since Pidgin is using hg continuing to use hg is a Pidgin decision and not an IMF one and since there are few viable other options are we in consensus that its reasonable to self host.
      • Ethan mentions there are no other options.
        • Some discussion about the alternatives followed.
        • Ethan mentions that yes Pidgin has to either self host or move away from Mercurial and that it is not a decision that IM Freedom can make. But it might be a decision that Pidgin should have at some time.
      • Richard makes a point that it is not IMF’s place to dictate to Pidgin what Pidgin does.
        • However, given that Pidgin is using Mercurial, is it reasonable for IMF to support the infrastructure.
        • Ethan states that that is our primary charter.
        • Gary mentions that Adium’s project status, while difficult at the moment that more or less their code is still in Mercurial as well. And that to say that this is just Pidgin is a bit short sighted.
        • Richard asks if Gary isn’t involved and if IM Freedom was paying for hosting, we would consider it within the charter of IMF to pay for that service.
        • Both Ethan and Richard agree.
        • Ethan states that if we could have thrown some money at Bitbucket to stay there then we would have.
        • Ethan states that while their is a conflict of interest spectre, and that’s why we previously wanted a proposal and so on. But it’s also not just HGKeeper that we’re talking about, it’s the lion’s share of the maintenance of our infrastructure for a couple of years as well as lion’s share of the development works that’s been done in the past few years as well.
        • Ethan’s only reservation is that it’s 1/6th of our total cash, and what else might we use that on. While in the past 13 years we’ve only had an expanse this large (percentage wise) which was our original branding for Pidgin.
        • Peter points out that was roughly a quarter of our funds.
        • Ethan corrects that to between 1/5th and 1/6th.
        • John points out that this is a once a decade type expenditure.
        • Ethan notes that we haven’t spent anything on branding since then.
          • Gary mentions that he has spent a fair amount for new designs and stickers for Pidgin but has not asked IMF for reimbursement.
          • Peter points out that Pidgin has spent money on branding not IMF.
      • Ethan states that we need to answer this in two stages.
      • Do we think this is a reasonable expenditure of IMF’s funds and how much is it worth to us.
      • With a side question of how do we feel about the conflict of interest concern.
      • John points out that if we were to go out and contract this work from an external party it would cost us a significant amount more and that we would most likely have ongoing fees.
      • Ethan points out that Gary did all of this without expectation of reimbursement.
      • John says that at this point, he believes this discussion has absolved us of the conflict of interest.
      • Richard asks if Gary leaves if we still have a quorum. *** Gary leaves the call ***
      • Ethan asks if Richard had a specific concern or just make sure that we were free of conflict of interest.
      • Richard said the later and that the involved person should be removed from the discussion.
      • Richard states that any money we would have given to anyone else would have been significantly more since Gary has been working on this stuff for months.
      • Ethan states that if Gary had not continued to push on Pidgin specifically there would have been no development on Pidgin in the past 5 years and while the project may not be where any of us hoped it would be including Gary, if he hadn’t been pushing it, the project would have died.
      • Ethan continues that what we’re not just paying arrears from the last meeting, but instead it’s for a span of time that goes back for half a decade.
      • John points out that the infrastructure work has been going on for two and a half years and that HGKeeper wasn’t started until after the board meeting last year. And that the Kubernetes cluster has been going on for two/two and a half years.
      • Richard points out that the infrastructure migration is nearly done, and that once Trac is imported those Network Redux VMs go away.
      • Ethan states that to be clear he is comfortable with this idea. Particularly since we have the precedent of spending this size of our war chest for an arguably less critical infrastructure in the past.
      • Peter is rather pissed at Gary for not writing the proposal last year, and that in the future we need proposals.
      • Ethan points out that we most likely can’t do this again in the future, unless we get more income.
      • Peter points out that this is a special circumstance and that since Gary is in a bad position due to the pandemic when it comes to finding work that this is to help Gary keep the infrastructure running during this time and not just for what Gary has done in the past.
      • Ethan states that he believes this is the argument for not forcing a proposal in the future. Ethan also notes that he’s annoyed Gary didn’t provide a proposal last year noting that he understands that our plan of moving to more Atlassian services got the rug pulled out from under us when they announced they were dropping Mercurial support.
      • Ethan is comfortable with the proposal but not necessarily the amount as he has been treasuring this organization for the past 13 years. But Ethan does agree that if we were to pull it out to going rates, $5,000 USD does not cover a developer for a month. It’s not that it’s unfair it’s that we have so little of it. But if that amount is what others are comfortable with. he is as well.
      • Richard states that if we choose to spend our money to zero, one thing that gives him pause is, are there more potential for underlying costs. Domain renewals may be tricker but he’s unsure of how real these issues are.
      • Peter states that these concerns should be a secondary funding proposal rather than this one.
      • Ethan states that his earlier discussion about history is to make sure that we remember that that pile of money has value just being a pile of money because we got sued. Although that may be a historical bias that is no longer relevant. However, that pile of cash may be better served by giving it to EFF, SPI, or archive.org.
      • Ethan states that we do have somewhere between 100-300 USD a year expenses that he has been paying out of pocket. For keeping our various registrations as well as CT Corp. So we need to keep a few thousand dollars around for those expenses.
      • Peter states that if we’re planning on having another meeting in August, that this discussion is more well suited for that meeting.
      • Richard states that if he’s trying to make sure he’s asking the right questions and that if someone was supporting Adium would ask for support that he doesn’t see a problem with that.
      • Richard feels that it would have been cheaper, at least in time, to move everything to Github. So is there a concern that we’re paying for the wrong thing. However that decision wasn’t done under the IMF umbrella. But if you weigh that against the cost of development, it occurs to him that under any reasonable theory of what we’re paying for you can get to $5,000 USD, so the question becomes, what do we say we are paying for?
      • Ethan says that it does matter what we say we’re paying for and that we will need to lay that out.
      • Ethan states that the Pidgin project should be the one to have the discussion about version control. However, since Gary is contributing and Gary wants to use Mercurial, then that is Gary’s choice right now. That said, he does not see a path that switching to git would magically get Pidgin contributors. If it did, it should be a discussion to have, but he doesn’t believe that is what is slowing down contributors and that instead it’s that people aren’t as interested in instant messaging anymore. However, if Gary’s vision of Pidgin comes to fruition when it comes to inline images, emoji, as well as voice and video, it could bring in a younger audience that doesn’t want to run a million separate applications. So Ethan’s argument is if it keep Gary productive, working, and happy, he is our Pidgin developer right now and that is argument enough for sticking with Mercurial.
      • Peter states that the meeting is running past the scheduled time and he needs to leave in about 30 minutes.
      • Richard asks if there is concern about precedent that Gary isn’t the only one to have done infrastructure work while both John and Richard have as well.
      • Peter mentions that due to the pandemic that the person doing the work is in need of a job and that that is the reason behind it and that it’s not about setting a precedent.
        • Ethan agrees with Peter but is concerned with precedent and that it was Gary’s decision to make this his primary work and it is not the responsibility of the board. That said, all of the other infrastructure work that Ethan, John, Richard, etc have been doing wouldn’t have happened if the project wasn’t alive and that there’s only one person that has kept the project alive.
      • Ethan states that going back to the precedent question, it has to be made clear that this not a thing we can frequently do and that this is potentially opening the door to using our war chest to buy time which is not something we have done directly, but there is precedent for accepting money from other organizations and using it to buy time directly.
      • Ethan and Richard discuss Google Summer of Code payouts and that the amount of money being discussed is slightly less than the Google Summer of Code stipend for a student in 2020.
      • Ethan states that the question isn’t that is it worth $5,000 USD it’s if it’s worth that much to us when we have $29,000 USD in the whole world but he is comfortable with it.
    • Ethan makes a motion to compensate Gary, for among other things, HGKeeper, the migration of our services from Network Redux to Digital Ocean, as well as other infrastructure work, as well as the ongoing development of GPlugin and Talkatu over the last year, but without specifying a dollar amount. If the motion is passed, then a dollar amount will be determined.
      • Peter withdraws his previous motion and seconds Ethan’s motion.
      • Passes unanimously
    • Peter makes a motion that the value should be $5,000 USD.
      • Matthew seconds
      • Passes unanimously
    • Ethan mentions that we simply can’t afford to do this again unless we decide we’re closing the organization or find additional income.
      • Peter mentions that there would need to be a written proposal.
      • John and Ethan agree. *** Gary rejoins the call ***
    • John recaps the passed two motions and basic discussion to Gary.
      • Ethan states he had a concern about how many times we can do this is based purely on our funds and that we would need to find additional income to do this again.
      • Gary thanks everyone for their generosity and asks a few questions about taxes.
      • It is determined that John should be the one to write the check, but Matthew is capable as well. Ethan says he can look it up online.
  • Ethan makes a mention to conclude the meeting
    • Gary seconds
    • Passes unanimously
  • Meeting ends at 02:25