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Three Seats Up for Grabs as AlmaLinux Foundation Expands Board by Two

Foundation members will be voting to elect a total of three board members. One will be to fill a seat that was vacated when its holder stepped down. The others are completely new seats.

If things really do happen in threes as some people say, then that means we’re soon going to get news that some open-leaning tech organization has decided to expand its board of directors by two.

I say this because on Monday we learned that the board at the nonprofit digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation had been expanded by two seats, and then today we learned that the board of directors at AlmaLinux OS Foundation, the group that watches over the eponymous Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based distribution, is also expanding by two seats.

There are some differences between the two announcements, however. For example, when EFF expanded its board, it didn’t really tell anybody in advance or give a reason for the expansion. With the AlmaLinux OS Foundation, though, today’s announcement is not only our advance notice that the board is going to expand, but that the expansion is set to happen sometime after the middle of December, which is when the polls will close on a planned election to determine who’ll be filling the two seats.

As for the reason for the expansion, the foundation’s chairperson, benny Vasquez, handled that nicely in a blog she wrote announcing the expansion and the upcoming election:

“Our bylaws allow us to expand our board every time we sign a new platinum sponsor (which we did earlier this year when CyberTrust Japan joined us), and with all of the changes and shifting in the last four months we certainly think it’s time to bring in more representatives from our community.”

Also, while the two people filling the two seats at EFF were elected by the board on which they’re going to serve, the decision about who takes the new seats on AlmaLinux OS Foundation’s board will be determined by a vote of the organization’s membership.

That’s not all. Unlike most US political elections, there won’t be such a thing as a low voter turnout in this election. The foundation’s bylaws dictate that the polls don’t close and no winner is chosen until at least half of the organization’s members have voted.

Pretty damn cool, eh?

RHEL Clones Tough Year

It’s also cool that AlmaLinux had it’s very first board election last September, which makes AlmaLinux something of new democracy getting established. To say the least, it was a difficult year for the newly elected board, or perhaps more precisely, it was a year of difficult decisions.

Mostly those decisions were centered around Red Hat’s decision to remove access to its source code because it no longer wants to play nice with downstream RHEL clones. This resulted in Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux’s most formidable competition in the downstream RHEL market, making the decision to maintain bug-by-bug compatibility with upstream RHEL, and entering into a partnership with Oracle and SUSE to make that happen.

AlmaLinux’s board took what might be considered to be a more nuanced approach that put its distro in uncharted water in the RHEL clone arena. It decided that line-by-line compatibility with RHEL wasn’t as important as ABI compatibility, meaning that going forward AlmaLinux is building a distribution that appears on the outside to be the same absolute clone of RHEL that it’s always been, even though the software might not be a line-by-line copy under the hood.

Electoral Politics, AlmaLinux Style

In the upcoming election, foundation members will be voting to elect a total of three board members, both to fill the two new seats, as well as to fill a third seat that was recently vacated. Candidates on the ballot will also have been nominated by foundation members, and those elected will serve three year terms.

In a nutshell, the way it works is that any foundation member in good standing can nominate any other member in good standing, as long as the nominee’s membership was approved three months or more before the election. Members are not allowed to nominate themselves. The election will start on December 1 and will run until at least December 16. If 50% of the foundation’s members haven’t voted by that time, voting will be extended until that threshold is reached.

Voters must have been members on or before November 29th, and not all member votes have equal weight. Votes from Contributor, Alumnus, and Mirror members are counted on a one-person/one-vote basis, with Silver sponsors getting 5 votes, Gold sponsors getting 15 votes, and Platinum sponsors getting 50 votes each.

In the end, the three candidates with the most votes will win seats.

One Comment

  1. Liam Nal Liam Nal September 16, 2023

    >Our bylaws allow us to expand our board every time we sign a new platinum sponsor

    Platinum sponsors get fifty (50) votes each, and yet they want to say their board is not for sale. I wonder if the foundation and CloudLinux realizes the irony.

    >This resulted in Rocky Linux […] entering into a partnership with Oracle and SUSE to make that happen

    Are you sure about that?


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