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Roundup: GNOME Foundation Board Candidates

Nov 08, 2003, 15:00 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

The GNOME Foundation Membership & Elections Committee has announced the close of nominations for the 2003 elections for the Foundation's Board of Directors.

Thirteen candidates have been nominated for 11 board positions. They have provided their platform statements on why they feel they should be elected to the GNOME Foundation's Board of Directors. Linux Today is reprinting these statements to give Foundation members and the rest of the community an idea of who wants to guide the direction of GNOME and its Foundation in the near future.

The preliminary list of the candidates running for the Foundation's Board of Directors are listed below. Candidates have until 2359 UTC Sunday, November 9 to submit their entries, so it is possible there will be additions to this list and the platform statements as that dealine approaches.

Michael Meeks (Novell)
Glynn Foster (Sun)
Luis Villa (Novell)
Bill Haneman (Sun)
Leslie Proctor (?)
Nat Friedman (Novell)
Jody Goldberg (Novell)
Jonathan Blandford (Red Hat)
Owen Taylor (Red Hat)
Dave Camp (Novell)
Sri Ramkrishna (Intel)
Malcolm Tredinnick (CommSecure)
Jeff Waugh (Flow Communications)

Ballots will be e-mailed to all eligible voters on November 21, 2003, and must be returned by December 5, 2003, 2359 UTC.


Name: Jonathan Blandford

Affiliation: Red Hat, Inc.

Summary:

I am a long-time member of the GNOME community, and an employee of Red Hat, Inc. Having been active on the Board for two years and treasurer for the past year, I am aiming to serve again.

Statement:

Hi, I'm Jonathan. My experience in the GNOME community is as follows:

  • Current Treasurer for the GNOME Board
  • Member of the Board for two years.
  • Active contributer to the GNOME Project over five years.

Being treasurer has been enlightening. It has taken some time for me to fully come to grips with all the nuances involved. Moving to the Boston area has given me much more of an opportunity to keep in contact with Tim Ney, our Executive Director. Being treasurer from a different state was very hard -- it has proven invaluable to be able to go over the books in person.

For the coming year, my main goal is to make GNOME more financially secure. I aim to build an endowment, so that we will always have the funds to sponsor events such as GUADEC regardless of the fluctuations in the world economy. I want to make sure that we end the board this year in a better financial state than we started it.

Thanks,
-Jonathan


Name: "Captain" Dave Camp

Affiliation: Novell/Ximian

During my senior year of high school, I was the rally commissioner in student council. I brought heavy metal to the pep rallies. It was totally awesome. I want to bring heavy metal to the GNOME Foundation Board. Figuratively, I mean. Not actual heavy metal. That would make the phone calls annoying.

What do I do now? I work for Ximian's Desktop Team. I maintain Nautilus, along with Alex. I do some printing work. Lately I've been doing more travelling than I'd like to, going to various places talking to Novell about GNOME.

Why do I want to do this? I care about GNOME, and I care about its success and adoption. The board is starting to play a crucial role in this - getting the developers together with each other (fund raising), and getting the developers together with customers (marketing). And the board is a good group of people, that I really enjoy working with.

Please vote for me.


Name: Glynn Foster

Affiliation: Sun Microsystems Inc.

Summary:

I'm not in this for the glamour, the title or girls. I'm not in this to feel popular if I get voted. I'm not in this so that I can sit on the board and avoid the real work. I'm not in this so that I can fanboy the other board members. I want to help the GNOME Project achieve, and I will donate my time and energy to make the ideas become a reality.

Full Statement:

I am a 25 year old Irishman, currently working remotely on Sun's Java Desktop System in New Zealand. I have been involved in the GNOME project for 3 years and was a member of the Foundation Board last year. I helped in bringing GU4DEC to Dublin, wrote 'battfink' and 'zenity', and sometimes maintain 'gnome-utils', among other things.

Although I am employed by Sun as a developer, I am not bringing those skills to the table [1].

The Foundation Board's motto has always been something like 'We have so many ideas, we just don't have the time'. If you don't have the time, you should not run for the GNOME Foundation Board. The board is about a group of passionate people wanting to see GNOME evolve and succeed. For the most part, it's an amazingly unglamourous role but it does have its benefits. I have the time, the passion and honesty to say that I am running for the board to get the ideas turned into reality, not for my ego or the directorship title.

I believe in consistency, and believe that it's crucially important as we move forward, especially at Foundation Board level. When I look back at the archived meeting minutes, I sometimes ask myself

'Did we actually achieve anything this year?'

Perhaps the answer is

'Not as much as we wanted to'

but from a board perspective we've created a better understanding of what we are trying to achieve, where we are trying to go and more fundamentally a better structure and synergy to work from.

Glynn

[1] Or lack of them ;)


Name: Nat Friedman

Affiliation: Novell, Inc. Baby.

Summary:

Vote for me because I care deeply about the success of the foundation, GNOME, and the open source dekstop; because I've devoted the last five years of my life to advancing the Linux desktop; because I believe that we are engaged in a peaceful and bloodless revolution to end poverty, hunger and disempowerment; and because I will keep pushing until we have won.

Also in some circles I am known as "the lambada king."

Full statement:

I served as chairman of the GNOME Foundation's board for the last year. In my 2002 candidacy statement, I summarized my achievements for the previous year:

http://mail.gnome.org/archives/foundation-announce/2002-November/msg00011.html

In the last twelve months, I did the following things:

  • Chaired and ran those board meetings I was able to attend, which, due to recent industry events, was a few less than I'd hoped.
  • Recruited two new advisory board members for the GNOME foundation.
  • Developed a number of GNOME case studies; shared those with the board; I'm in the process of being able to announce those.
  • Raised money to cover the travel expenses of some individuals at GUADEC.
  • Ran probably the most successful GNOME advisory board meeting of all time, in Dublin in June.
  • Led a short-lived for-fun project called Dashboard (nat.org/dashboard).
  • Sold Ximian to Novell, which has given us a lot more resources for GNOME, Mozilla and OpenOffice.
  • Flew around the world evangelizing open source desktops, and GNOME in particular.
  • Planned and oversaw the release of Ximian Desktop 2, which I think helped get people to think seriously about OpenOffice as a usable and integrated part of the GNOME desktop. You can read the release notes for that here:

http://mail.gnome.org/archives/gnome-announce-list/2003-June/msg00034.html

And I cheered on the sidelines as Jim Gettys led the charge to get the Bitstream Vera fonts open sourced.

Reading over my candidacy statement for last year, I still agree with what I said there, goal-wise. The foundation needs more money so it can help the project better, and the foundation needs to make better use of the money it has.

Substantial improvements need to be made to our fundraising processes. We've started some of that this year, with Friends of GNOME and more aggressive recruitment of advisory board members. This can be improved further. The Mozilla foundation charges more than 10x what we do per year for membership. We also could reallocate our cash disbursement to greater advantage to the project.

Next year, I plan to push harder on our fundraising efforts, and have more of the cash directly and visibly benefit the project; bounty hunts, paying for web site work, flying hackers to conferences, subsidizing summits, and so on.

Feel the love,
Nat


Name: Jody Goldberg

Affiliation: Novell/Ximian/HelixCode/IGS    (note to self : see what we're called)

Short Version

I'd like to keep a focus on GNOME development and improving our platform. Co-existing with other projects is useful, but it would be far more effective if the disparate efforts could share a platform, rather than writing bridges between. In my opinion the Getty's 'Drain the swamp' doctrine makes activities like, freedesktop.org, and small share-able libraries like libgsf good contenders for pulling communities together.

Long Version

Credentials

  • Maintainer of Gnumeric, libgsf, gnome-control-center and long time contributor throughout the stack
  • Advocate for developing software on the GNOME platform and building bridges to expand the user base of that platform.
  • Board Member for the last two years, as backup secretary, and assistant to the treasurer

The Good

  • This year's board came together as an effective unit. Follow up and activity where much better.
  • Helped to deliver the first coordinated version of GNOME-Office and had some success in encouraging other applications to join, or cooperate with that effort.
  • Raised money for a free spreadsheet test suite
  • People are clearer on what the board is and is not for.
  • Communication within the community has improved immeasurably. Gone are the wild flames and velvet hammers of days gone by. This is directly attributable to the various teams (release, bugs, membership) solidifying with time and decreasing the amount of uncertainty.

The Bad

  • Funding could be expanded. Whether it is getting more developers to GUADEC, having a presence at more conferences, or being able to provide some monetary incentive to fix boring things, more funding would be helpful.
  • Still more follow through. The Glynn/Jeff/Luis tag team has been riding the other members of the board, doing huge amounts of work, and nagging/guilting the rest of us out of torpor.
  • We need to improve coordination with marketing. Selecting conferences to attend early, and getting press releases reviewed well before target dates.
  • Sleep deprivation has decreased my contribution level recently

Goals

  • Fix 'The Bad'
  • Continue 'The Good'

Campaigning

http://www.thegoldbergs.ca/gallery/album02/aai


Name: Bill Haneman

Affiliation: Sun Microsystems

I'd like to put myself forward for re-election to the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors for another term.

I think it takes awhile for a newly-elected Board member to get traction on issues, so I think a certain degree of continuity from year-to-year in the Board is very important. I also believe that I represent GNOME positively in attendances at various FOSS and accessibility conferences and represent the interests of the GNOME community well in Board meetings. The current Board has been reasonably successful at handling some of the key issues that fall outside the day-to-day GNOME development activities, like GNOME branding and outreach, and organizational duties. That said, I think there's room for improvement in the effectiveness of the Foundation Board and in my own contribution, and I'd like to have the opportunity to work hard to multiply our effectiveness in these areas. It's been an exciting year for GNOME, let's make sure that we make the most of it. I think the Board has a key role to play in serving as a conduit between the Advisory Board and the core GNOME developer community (a role which I think has been neglected of late), in looking for ways to protect and improve the visibility of the GNOME 'brand' (i.e. 'GNOME inside', the foot logo) and coordinate developer and user events, and generally holding the GNOME banner high.

Fortunately there has been little reason for the Board to get too involved in policy issues regarding the 'direction of GNOME' over the past year; I think that's as it should be. On the other hand I think the Foundation Board may be in a good position to facilitate and improve communication between the Advisory Board and the developer community which is the heart of the project. As GNOME gains visibility and "market share", and is used in new and larger contexts, we need to keep the flow of information going between the development and end-user communities, and unite them where possible.

As a co-maintainer of atk. at-spi, gnome-mag, gok, and other GNOME modules, I am a very active GNOME hacker; as a presenter at a number of conferences and an architect of the GNOME accessibility project I am also focussed on the 'big picture' of "GNOME for everyone". As such I believe I am well qualified to make what I hope will be an increasing contribution to the Board.

best regards,

Bill


Name: Michael Meeks

Affiliation: Novell Inc.

Blurb:

On the board I would push for closer integration with other parts of the Free software desktop, particularly OpenOffice.org. I'm also concerned that Gnome stays a meritocracy and yet has a coherent strategy for companies to invest in. I'm interested in the board and it's organs promulgating only non-invasive decisions.

Of course - my real reasons are more related to wanting to pay less for the pure joy of contributing to endless confused ramblings on the phone [ or something ;-].

Vote early, vote often, vote for me ! ;->

Regards,

Michael.


Name: Leslie Proctor

Affiliation: Not Given

Hi Everyone:

I'd like to throw my hat in to the election process.

I've been working with GNOME since the very beginning--I did the media relations around the launch of GNOME. That hooked me and I've been an active member since then.

Having a marketing dweeb on the board has some advantages - most importantly, I look at things through different eyes. If I were a member of the board, I could spot potential marketing opportunities early and more often. I wouldn't have to play catch up as often as I do (which is pretty much always) and could take full advantage of our accomplishments to make some noise for ourselves.

I can also be useful in fund raising - I have a great deal of experience in this arena as well.

Most importantly - I'm a good team player, am very diplomatic and I communicate well.

Guess that's it.

Cheers,
Leslie


Name: Sriram Ramkrishna

Affiliation: Intel Corporation

SUMMARY:

Having been convinced to run. I'm running for Foundation Board of Directors. I believe my background as a softare engineer at Intel Corporation will provide experience and a different outlook from others who have backgrounds more devoted directly to Linux and the desktop.

I'm also a damn good socialite. :-)

Introduction:

Has noted above I work as a Unix Systems Engineer at Intel working with microprocesor designers for the past 7 years. I've been working on Unix Computer systems since the late 80s and have dealt with a variety of different kind of systems.

I've been involved with GNOME since nearly the beginnign probably sometime after the 0.5 release. So about 5 years or so.

Contributions to GNOME:

  • This year, not a lot. I hosted the GNOME booth at OSCON using my own money. (sorry Tim Ney, no need to give me a refund. :-)
  • I've done some patches here and there, but mostly I do evangelizing and promotion wherever I go. While I generally I can convince people to have interest. Strangely, not with my family. Go figure.
  • Also help answer newbie questions on IRC when I know the answer.

IDEAS:

You're going to have forgive me on this. As I said earlier, I hadn't quite planned on running but apparently people seem to like the idea of me running. :-)

The short answer is that I believe we need to continue with making the desktop an easy to use experience. Make working on Unix a dream. That means working on getting things like DBUS into our framework, implementing HAL etc.

We need to continue to evangelize GNOME in companies. Especially now with Europe, Latin America, and Asian countries moving towards Free Software.

Finally I think we need to get more developers and people interested in the foundation. Just from our current list of candidates we see that we do not have enough candidates. That might be a signal that interest is waning or people are not feeling encouraged to join and participate.

Thanks,
sri


Name: Owen Taylor

Affiliation: Red Hat, Inc.

Summary:

I'd like to use the experience I have in the technical and organizational side of GNOME to continue the good work the current board has done in moving things forward smoothly, sort out remaining sticky areas, promote cooperation with other parts of the free software world to solve problems for users, and expand the visibility of GNOME in the broader computing world.

Introduction and background:

I've been working at Red Hat on GTK+ and GNOME since 1998 and using and hacking on free software for just over 10 years now. I won't claim to have had the vision to see how far Linux, GTK+, and GNOME would have come by now, but I'm glad to have played a part in getting them there.

Contributions to GNOME:

  • I've been one of the lead maintainers for the GTK+ toolkit since 1997, and also designed and implemented the Pango text layout library. Over the last four years, I've coordinated two major releases of GTK+ with contributions from hundreds of developers.
  • I've been closely involved with GNOME system administration, doing coordination, routine maintenance, and the occasional 6am drive in to the collocation facility on Sunday morning.
  • I was a member of the steering committee that did the original organization for the GNOME foundation, and of the GNOME foundation board for the first year.

A few of the directions for GNOME I'd like to see in the next year.

  • More interaction with the broader technical community; we need to promote GNOME technology and also keep abreast of developments elsewhere.

    The board can help here by encouraging and even sponsoring GNOME hackers to attend non-GNOME technical conferences, by inviting non-GNOME people to GNOME events, and by generally acting as a liaison and contact point.

  • A clear roadmap for where we are going with the development environment. C has worked well for us in the past, but shouldn't be the only standard choice. We need to make GNOME a compelling development environment both for GNOME developers and external developers.

    The board can help here by organizing people to work on such a roadmap, and making sure it gets written.

  • An active and open system administration team so that we can harness more of the knowledgeable and talented people in this area.

    I've posted plans for this recently to foundation-list; what needs doing now is officially blessing it, making sure it has the resources necessary, and keeping track of the status.

  • Growth. We've gotten good at producing a well-designed, self-contained desktop. We need to grow out and tackle problems - performance, sound, multimedia, performance, advanced graphics, security - that we can't solve at the desktop level in isolation. We'll have to get better at external communication, and even better at internal communication.

Name: Malcolm Tredinnick

Affiliation: CommSecure

So why me....

The past twelve months has seen GNOME gain some serious traction in the world at large. That is something it is encouraging to see. I would like to help push that further. In particular, I would like to help assist more developers to build applications using the GNOME platform. More third party applications that Just Work is good for everybody. Sometimes I think the GNOME developers' group put less priority on that goal than may be necessary.

The board has already made great steps towards involving large corporations. It would be nice to take that to the smaller groups as well; the sort of people who cannot necessarily go to GUADEC each year or spend a lot of time reading GNOME development lists.

Looking over the minutes for the past twelve months, I am alternately disappointed and pleased with the work that is public enough to announce in the minutes. It seems the loose group of people that create GNOME (developers, administrators, artists, the works...) are on the verge of becoming very coordinated in the face presented to the outside world. But not quite there yet. A few things got dropped, some publicity opportunities were missed. Hopefully with a few different agitators on the board, combined with some of the experienced members, the new enthusiasm can help push a few more of these things into action.

I started playing with GNOME as a user back in early 1999 (just before 1.0 came out, from memory) and began to contribute as a bug fixer and general nuisance on mailing lists and IRC in mid-2000. In my day-to-day job, I work with a bunch of people who are generic GNOME users -- they are comfortable using their computers and they want things to work in a way that helps them get things done. They don't care about what happens under the covers to make this happen. They do care (and apparently expect me to care as well) when things are unpleasant for them. The motivational issues for me here are strong and I believe I have a realistic awareness of how our products are perceived by general users. My day job does not involve any GNOME development at all -- it is all a free-time gig for me.

I have experience serving on large and small committees, including those that influence events at a national level.

Oh, and one more point: being on a board with both the Lambada King and somebody who wants us to use more Heavy Metal is a motivational factor: Heavy Lambada is a dance crazy whose time has come, I think.


Name: Luis Villa

Affiliation: Novell, Inc.

74 word 'why me':
Getting adjusted on the board is a long-term process- I thought I'd have a massive list of accomplishments from my first term, and I'm disappointed to say I don't. That said, I now have a deep understanding of the board, what our shortcomings are, and feel like we can do a lot in the next year while becoming more focused on what is most important supporting GNOME development and developers.

Big picture:

In the past year on the board, I feel like I've accomplished a fair amount- I've been able to represent the board and GNOME in a few places I might not have otherwise, I've helped organize the upcoming summit, and I've chipped in in a lot of little ways, like polishing the budget and working for more open finances in general.

That said, I've learned far more about what I don't know than anything else. To that end, I've been reading a lot on how foundations work in the rest of the non-profit world, how boards and executive directors can market non-profits, and other such. [I'd intended to take a Harvard Business School class on non-profits, but my travels to Utah and India prevented that. :/ I still bought the whole reading list. :)] So... my goals for the new year:

  • re-focus the board by concentrating on specific goals. We've done a lot of scattered stuff, which has damaged us, I think. I want to frame virtually everything we do in terms of two things: (1) how does activity X help the GNOME developer community? and (2) how does activity Y help market GNOME? I don't think that looking at everything through one of those two lenses will eliminate many of the things we do, but I do think that it will help focus and concentrate our efforts on some things. [FWIW, I think the focus on (1) is something I learned from bugwork support is the only approach that makes sense for a group that is not writing code.]
  • manage tim and the budget better, and make both tim and the budget more publicly visible. These activities, in the past, have not been terribly well handled by the board. We've not done well setting goals (see my first point) for the director and the budget, and the director and the budget have been mostly opaque to the community at large, which I believe damages our fundraising ability and hence our ability to help developers. We've already gotten this ball rolling this year- I know there haven't been many publicly visible results of this yet, but the intent is definitely there and we've taken some concrete steps. I want to spend the next year furthering those, again, keeping the two goals I cited above in mind.

Basically, I think if I achieve the previous two goals, I'll have had a succesful year as a board member- I think each will have significant impact on how we work and what we achieve. But there are a couple of other things I'd like to work on if the first two can be achieved easily and early.

  • fundraising. This year we've seen the first signs of a diversification of gnome fundraising, with some success for the Friends of GNOME program and our first grant. We need to follow up on those successes by (first) repeating them ;) and (second) figuring out how to sell GNOME and the foundation to other potential revenue sources, whatever those sources may be (corporate, non-profit, or individual.) I feel the foundation could bring $1/4M to GNOME development a year, if we play our cards right. To a certain extent, this goal will stem from the marketing focus I cited above, but it is a different type of marketing than 'GNOME is great, people should use it everywhere.' [What we do with the money after we've raised it again goes back to the two goals of my first point.]
  • repeatability. To a certain extent, the board and foundation still make up a lot of stuff as we go along- planning for GUADEC and the summit, for example, are not very documented processes and rely on holdovers from the old board. Glynn has done great stuff working on this for GUADEC, but we need to extend it to Summit and other board activities (like relationships with the advisory board) so that transitions between boards are faster and require less ramp-up time.

Anyway, this has already gotten too long :) There are other things I want to do/talk about, but they are subsidiary- these are, IMHO, the most important things the board can focus on in the upcoming year, and by making them explicit personal tasks as opposed to nebulous board-wide goals, I hope to make sure that they really happen.


Name: Jeff Waugh

Affiliation: Flow Communications

Summary:

I love GNOME. I am passionate, motivated, and dedicated to building our success, both outwardly - a foot on every desktop; and inwardly - making sure our developer and user communities are rocking all the time. I have a strong and involved presence on the Board. I am an active member of the community without affiliation with the major GNOME contributing companies, and can strike a balance between these sometimes conflicting positions. Lastly, I am here to help GNOME rock.

The "Who Am I?" bit:

  • I am an Australian Free Software activist

    My passion for Free Software was borne from experience of and disgust for the information technology industry a few years ago. A friend put me onto some high quality software that I could read and learn from, and I subsequently found out about the community of hackers and contributors writing software for fun, education and each other's praise. It renewed by interest in computing, I got hooked, and it has changed my life. :-)

  • I am the GNOME Release Co-ordinator

    Over the past two years, I have worked on GNOME release management, as one small part of the awesome GNOME Release Team. During this time, we have earned the trust of the GNOME developer community, madly hand-waved the GNOME 2.0 project back on track, and brought strong co-operation and "the love" back to the project after a short hiatus. It has required an interesting combination of skills, from cheer-leading and Maciej-style police brutality to subtle diplomacy and 'networking'.

  • I have already survived a year on the Foundation Board

    This year rocked. Not so much due to what we achieved (which was mildly successful, but still satisfying), but because we've really hammered out what the Foundation ought to be doing, and how. That seems pretty lame, but it's very difficult to achieve when the directors of the Board are widely spread out across the planet, and we've only had one face-to-face meeting together. The members who continue on will have a responsibilty to bring all of it together, with energy and passion. I'm there.

  • I contribute to other GNOME activities

    Wanting to give back to the project that has given me so much enjoyment, I started working on documentation, advocacy (in the form of interviews and news stories) and usability. I then tumbled quickly into sysadmin, release management, webhackery, maintaining GARNOME for GNOME testers, helping out with GUADEC planning, and contributing as an elected member of the GNOME Foundation Board last year. My appetite for GNOME work is ravenous, if not lightly insane. Sleep is for the weak.

  • I am involved in the greater Free Software community

    I'm a former President of the Sydney Linux User's Group after three years of solid involvement, and was on the organising team of linux.conf.au 2001. I am organising GNOME.conf.au/ for linux.conf.au 2004 in Adelaide.

  • I am an independent voice

    Given that I have taken a lead sysadmin position with a local ISP in Australia - working with almost 100% Free Software, of course - I'm currently wonderfully free of real or perceived bias towards contributing GNOME companies. This is a very important point given recent events, and the rising interest in the Free Software desktop space. I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the Swedish GNOME Conspiracy. Although I quite like Swedes.

The "Why Should You Vote For Me?" bit:

  • I'm pretty passionate about this stuff, if you didn't grok that from above. ;-)
  • I would like to see GNOME's approach of personal trust and friendliness continue. This is a comfortable, fun and casual community - we should not endanger that approach.
  • I strongly support the companies involved in GNOME, and their excellent contributions to the project. I believe that we can and should encourage the growth of businesses around GNOME, while maintiaining a strong focus on the project itself, its Free Software ideal, and our commitment to those goals.
  • I want the Foundation to continue to be as transparent as possible, as it represents the project and its contributors first and foremost. I would like to make sure that suggestions and queries sent to the board are answered promptly, and publically if appropriate.
  • We are a small organisation, and yet we spend a lot of money. This needs to be addressed. I feel that a large part of this is due to a lingering dotcom attitude - we need to readjust our perspective on providing for the GNOME community, realise that we are a small organisation, and deal with financial issues in that light. If there needs to be a hardarse to keep reminding the Board about this, I'll be it.

The "Other Stuff" bit:

  • I feel we need a strong continuity of members from each year's board, particularly the most active members. They provide a frame of reference, and a knowledge of our history so we won't make mistakes again and again.
  • I still do not say "mate".

Thanks,

Jeff

--
Come to gnome.conf.au 2004! http://www.gnome.org/~jdub/2004/gnome.conf.au/

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