Bioperl-guts: Finances and next meeting...

Ewan Birney
Fri, 13 Aug 1999 17:29:34 +0100 (BST)

Firstly I'd like to thank all the people who came to the bioperl
workshop and helped it work out (in particular, a big thank you to
the dkfz crew and chrisd for his great work). I thought it went really

Secondly - many thanks for those people who signed up to do more
stuff on bioperl - please - start checking out the cvs repository
(i am expecting people to be complaining to me soon), doing a build
on site and figuring out what to add. Remember to try to talk things
through first on this list before you jump into the coding.

Finally - Finances:

The workshop means that we now have a bank account, which means we now
have money and, along with the gift from compaq of the alpha, means we
now collectively have responsibility for things. I **hate** quasi-legal
shit, but with the advent of us running workshops etc, I think we are
going to need some more formal structure about how to run bioperl. It is
sad :(. 

With a stronger structure we can grow sensibly. One thing is to arrange a
boot camp next year and have the money to pay for travel grants to get all
of us near one spot (this is an example, not a definite!).

Here are the four proposals I can come up with to handle the money:

a) The bioperl account is still held in chris's name. The actual money
matters are again made by 'informal consensus' between the main people on
bioperl (stevec, chrisd, ewan, aaron, steveb) with consultantion to
the guts list. ie - pretty much as we have been doing this last year/6 

  Pros - no silly quasi-legal stuff that over-stresses that bioperl is

  Cons - Chris is probably liable if anything goes wrong (like - bioperl
gets sued for organising a workshop next to a live volcano etc). If there
is a big falling out in bioperl we are left without anyway of resolving

b) Bioperl tries to form the 'bioperl foundation' which is run like 
a non profit, has legal advice, and collects funds and distributes them
on the basis of some legal document which set up the fund. (like the
Apache foundation set up for Apache).

   Pros - serious independance and clear-cut rules.

   Cons - overkill for what we are. Way too official sounding and probably
puts off people joining. We also need to do everything ourselves, ie
legal stuff.

c) Bioperl petitions icsb to take over the running of the accounts. There
is some agreement that a small number of people (voted somehow?) have
responsibility for this account (signatories on bills perhaps), and
distribute the money. Some money gathered by bioperl will go on
adminstration for icsb.

   Pros - we look proffessional when we need to, and look informal
otherwise. icsb should have the legal backing to do this sensibly. also
justifies icsb a little more as a 'good thing'.

   Cons - losing some of our independence here - tieing ourselves with
icsb which if icsb goes down the tubes is not so good. We will
probably pay out more money to icsb on adminstration than we would lose
with bank charges on a) but we get the credit card site etc...

d) Bioperl uses icsb as an umbrella organisation for large, complex,
expenses (eg, workshops etc) but not full time for other matters. Ie,
it is like c) except we phase in and out depending on the timings.

   Pros - what david states has suggested anyway. All other c) pros
are there.

   Cons - as c) except there might be other funding (eg, tapes for
chris, or new something) that we want to handle, and an account does
seem natural.

My favourite is c).

We should discuss some of the ideas here and also how to settle which
one we go for (I go for a straight forward vote from an email sent to
the guts list. No rules excluding people from voting).

Ewan Birney

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