Domas Mituzas interview

Signpost interview: Domas Mituzas

On February 13, Wikimedia Foundation Chair Florence Devouard announced the appointment of two new board members: Michael Snow, and developer Domas Mituzas. Last week, the Signpost interviewed Snow (see archived story). This week, the Signpost interviews Domas Mituzas.

In her announcement, Devouard touted Mituzas's work as a developer for the foundation and MySQL:

The members of the board of trustees of Wikimedia Foundation have recently agreed to add two new board members, both being members of our community, for a term which will expire at next board elections (June-July 2008). ... The second is Domas Mituzas, long time developer in our tech team. He is from Lithuania and works for MySQL. He has been a member of the core tech team for... ever, and is the Foundation hardware volunteer officer. (Recent email on foundation list). He is noticeable for being a very friendly, cheerful, and tall individual.

Wikipedia Signpost: First of all, Domas, congratulations on joining the Board of Trustees. You've worked for MySQL AB, and served as the Hardware Officer for the Wikimedia Foundation for a time. How will those experiences help you as a board member?

Domas Mituzas: Both organizations have very much in common - provide huge communities with tools or infrastructure, and have high internal efficiency, and strive to be even better. Wikimedia Foundation provides with technical, legal, communication infrastructure - and though I'm intimately familiar with technology part, I get good feeling how to expand the efficiency in other fields - better serve the community, better serve the readers.

Over the next few years, what do you see as the greatest threat to Wikimedia's goals? How do you think the Foundation and the Board can work toward avoiding this threat?

Our biggest win could be our biggest threat. Our projects become the daily utility and commodity - people use them every day, but don't even notice they exist; it may just end up as 'the internet'. The major goals are to make us visible, so we could preach free content and free culture, make us interesting to everyone, not only as content, but as project too.
Losing the hype of providing the world with free knowledge would harm us a lot - so maintaining the hype, the personal fun and satisfaction of good will is critical.

In a recent e-mail you sent (State of technology: 2007), you mentioned a few hardware purchases in late 2006 and early 2007; since then, no major purchases have been made by the Foundation. You said that "We do plan to improve on database and storage servers soon"; is there any new information on this?

I have to take off my board member hat to answer this :) We (the technology team) are currently building visions and plans how to achieve better maintainability and scaling in terms of our storage. We have budget available, and we will use it to satisfy our needs - and some hardware we would like to acquire is not available yet.

When it comes to fundraising, what do you see as the Foundation's primary strength? What do you see as its primary weakness?

Our primary strength is what we're doing; our primary weakness - not everyone knows that yet. Lots of people would love us if they knew us - even if they use knowledge we provide, they may not notice it is a community, non-profit project. The web being that commercial makes us to blend in general mindset. And of course, as a knowledge organization, we're too young to have huge alumni.

As a board member, how will you ensure a balance between openness and necessary privacy in board matters?

Since the last board meeting I was elected to Executive Secretary position - so it will be my role to make information public. We have been radically open in our operations - and I'd like to keep the threshold there. This is a community organization, and the board has representatives of community, so I firmly believe there are no ways for issues to stay hidden too long.

Finally, your position expires in June. At this point, are you planning on running for a full two-year term?

I want to be useful to the organization - we all are, of course. I'd gladly endorse anyone who is capable to be a better board member. Until June I have my chance to see how much value I can provide to the board, and then decide if I can commit to that for full term.

Also this week:
  • Wales' relationship with journalist
  • Bureaucratship candidacies
  • Domas Mituzas interview
  • Hidden Categories
  • Book review
  • WikiProject elections
  • WikiWorld
  • News and notes
  • Dispatches
  • WikiProject report
  • Tutorial
  • Features and admins
  • Technology report
  • Arbitration report

  • Signpost archives

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    It's flattering, but you might want to change the introduction so it focuses on Domas, not me. --Michael Snow (talk) 00:43, 5 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    Whoops. Fixed :0 Ral315 (talk) 00:48, 5 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]


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