Haiku Inc. Transition Update
It has been several months since we announced the departure of project founder Michael Phipps from Haiku and the transition period that ensued for Haiku Inc. This is an attempt to give the community a most probably long awaited update on where we stand today, what has been done so far and what remains to be done to bring the Haiku Inc. transition to a successful conclusion.
Who we are
First, let's try to put a face to the transition team, so that you know who is behind all this. Under the initiative of Stephan (Stippi) Aßmus, a "transition team" was setup with the main goal of reorganizing Haiku Inc.. To that end, an interim board of directors (BOD) endorsed by the Haiku admins is being put in place; this BOD is only transitional and will eventually be replaced by one elected with votes from a broader representation base. The interim BOD has not been formally sworn in yet, but it is scheduled to include the following individuals:
- Axel Dörfler, President
- Ryan Leavengood, Treasurer
- Bruno G. Albuquerque, Business Relations
- Jorge G. Mare, Marketing
We are also being assisted through the transition by other community members such as Urias McCullough, Bryan Varner and Phil Greenway (Sikosis), as well as former admins Jonathan Yoder (DarkWyrm) and Tyler Akidau. In the grander scheme of things, the BOD will strive to work in full synergy with the Haiku development team, in order to help them achieve their goals.
What has been done so far
Our first goal was to try to understand the state of Haiku Inc., including but not limited to finances, tax status and assets. Documenting intangible assets has been quite a bit of a challenge, mainly due to a lack of written records and poor bookkeeping; after a lot of “investigative” work, we now have a better understanding of assets such as various accounts, domains, etc.. Haiku Inc.'s physical assets were only sent to us recently, so we have finally been able to do an inventory of things like corporate documentation, financial records, t-shirts, software, and hardware.
Haiku Inc. has been a one man operation since its inception, leading to the kind of problems that can arise when the single person in charge is not available. In order to prevent that from happening in the future, we have taken some steps to ensure openness within the BOD. For example, we are documenting all the assets and placing these documents in a protected repository where all the BOD members have access to. We also have setup a common email account and an on-line telephone voicemail box that multiple people have access to in order to manage incoming inquiries (thanks to Dane Scott for the professional voice recording!). All accounts (and there are many, for domains, hosting accounts, PayPal, oneline shop, etc.) have backup contact individuals.
What remains to be done
There is a lot that needs to be done. We still have to finish reviewing all the financial records, and are also facing the ratification of our tax exempt status with the IRS. We will be formalizing the interim BOD soon, as well as the change of address and signer(s) for the Haiku Inc. bank account. Work also needs to be put into creating new bylaws in preparation for the first general assembly to take place at the end of the transition period. While we expect this to happen in the next month or two, you never know when you are dealing with bureaucracy; we will keep the community posted as new developments occur.
In the end, after the transition is concluded, Haiku Inc. will have a BOD comprised of individuals selected through a vote, in which both the developers and other community members will be given some form of representation.
What else to expect in the future
We have a lot of ideas in areas like marketing, funding and business relations. Although it is too early to openly discuss these ideas, we do want to send the signal to the community that we are going to be more aggressive than Haiku Inc. has been in the past, and that we will at least try new (and bolder) initiatives in order to foster the growth of the project.
A lot has happened in 2007 for Haiku, some really good stuff, some not so much. On the one hand, thanks to the hard work of the developers, Haiku the operating system has made a lot of tangible progress, and keeps getting better by the day. But on the other, Haiku the organization showed some unexpected blips like the cancellation of WalterCon and unplanned changes such as those Haiku Inc. is going through now, understandably bringing some uncertainty in the community. It is those areas of the project where there is clear room for improvement that we will try to address.
As we move forward in 2008, we will strive to bring Haiku Inc. up to par with the resilient team of dedicated developers that are making Haiku a reality. But for us to succeed, help from the community will be critical. After all, Haiku is an open source project driven by volunteers. And while Haiku would not exist without the work of the developers, everyone else can also make a difference, no matter how small that may be. One of our self-imposed mandates will also be to try to articulate better the areas where the community can contribute, and provide them with the opportunities and means to make those contributions a reality. Stay tuned.