2024 Board Candidate: Robert McQueen

Dear members,

I am writing to submit my candidacy for the upcoming elections in June 2024.

I started as a desktop free software hacker in my teens and have been part of the GNOME community since 2005. I helped to found Flathub in 2018 and have served on the GNOME board since that year, and as the President since 2019.

My professional experience started as CTO and co-founder of open source consultancy Collabora, aligning business and community needs to solve problems across the open source ecosystem. I joined Endless in 2015, working on making empowering technology and digital skills accessible worldwide. I became the CEO of Endless in 2020, leading our transition to a nonprofit foundation.

I bring this varied commercial, legal, licensing, financial, management, strategic and nonprofit experience to the GNOME board.

My four priority areas for the Foundation are:

Clear Objectives - The Foundation has lacked clear top-level objectives for several years, leading to misalignment and frustration. The staff have worked hard on their understanding of priorities, either under the direction of the previous ED or during the period with no ED and even less clarity, but there have sometimes been different needs in the community not well represented or understood. The solution is a clear and open discussion with the community about the Foundation’s goals and resouce allocation.

This has been a focus of the board since last year. I have supported the Executive Director in developing a strategic plan which has just been published for community consultation. It includes:

  1. The Development Initiative to directly invest in core GNOME desktop, apps, platform and tools, building and expanding upon the strong foundation established by the STF project.
  2. The Pathways Initiative to bring structure and support to outreach, internships and bringing newcomers into the community, building awareness and representation in diverse and under-represented communities. By empowering local communities and hosting decentralised events, we can increase inclusivity and reduce the climate impact of the Foundation’s conferences.

Once well-aligned and understood, the strategy can be used by the board to set clear goals and metrics for the Executive Director to ensure that the initiatives are being delivered accountably and efficiently.

Financial Sustainability - To be able to deliver objectives sustainably, the Foundation must find the financial support to match its ambitions. With a clear articulation of its strategy and goals, the Foundation can build a funding case around its different initiatives. These different initiatives appeal to different types of potential funding sources. I’ve served on the Financial committee throughout my time on the board, and there have been significant improvements to financial processes since Holly joined. She improved the internal visibility and reporting: we now need to provide more detailed and timely reports to the membership as well.

Community Representation - A healthy board needs a balance of nonprofit skills and understanding of the GNOME project. We need board members with strong ties to the GNOME community, corporate finance and governance expertise, and OSS, nonprofit, advocacy and fundraising experience. No single individual can be expected to cover all of these topics, which is why I am pleased to support additional seats on the board, to create a highly-engaged and capable board with insight and experience across all of these aspects. Even with this, there are topics that rise to the board level which belong more to the project than the Foundation, so I support the creation of a steering group that can focus on project questions without also needing to take responsibility for the essential “nonprofit stuff”. This will help keep engagement high and burnout low: the Foundation can rely on this group to help direct funding on investments and support into the project, and the community can rely on this group to unify behind decisions about project definition and direction.

Flathub - I’d really like to “finish the swing” on establishing the legal and governance processes required to support payments on Flathub. In combination with the Pathways initiative, this provides more economic opportunities from learning and developing for the Linux desktop. We have draft terms and conditions and developer agreements which will allow us to start handling payments with the right legal protections in place - and Flathub LLC legal entity has been formed but not yet set up with its governance body. My plan is to develop a roadmap for the remaining tasks - some of which are legal/financial/governance, and some are product/feature development - and do some targeted fundraising for Flathub specifically to get us up and running.

Corporate affiliation: Endless OS Foundation

Many Thanks,


I’m thrilled to see you run for the board this year again, Rob.

Running a nonprofit is a difficult task. As you mentioned in your letter, it requires several skills not typically found in OSS communities. More particularly, you have been of invaluable help to keep tabs on everything finances, accounting and legal when the Executive Director seat was empty, or almost empty. If you hadn’t been there, the Foundation would be in a much more difficult position today.

I would love to see Rob on the board again: he can be the glue between the “boring but crucial nonprofit admin stuff” and the rest of the community. With a very engaged board like this one seems to shape, I’m sure Rob can do wonders for the Foundation, and I proudly endorse him as a candidate.


Candidacy has received enough endorsements and is approved.