New board member information for SPI

Director responsibilities

As a director, you have a fiduciary duty to the organization. Please read about the responsibilities of directors.

SPI is incorporated in the state of New York (NYS) and has to abide by New York Not-For-Profit Corporation Law. SPI's operations are governed by SPI by-laws.

SPI has a Conflict of Interest policy. Please read the policy carefully and think about any potential conflicts you have. All directors have to fill out a Conflict of Interest declaration before appointment and annually thereafter. When you act as a director of SPI, you have to make decisions with SPI's best interest in mind rather than the interest of another organization or project you're affiliated with.

SPI conducts monthly meetings on IRC that you're expected to attend as a director. You can find details on the meeting page, including the usual meeting times, minutes, agendas and an ICS calendar file.

SPI has Director and Officer (D&O) liability insurance. This comes with several reporting requirements which still have to be documented.

Access to services

When you become a board member you should ask for access to a number of services. You can send a request to the SPI sys admin team by email to an RT queue hosted at Please email sysadmin at this domain with your requests.

Key services to request access to are:

  • Email alias: you can request an email alias to use for SPI communication.
  • Request Tracker (RT) web access: we use RT to track outstanding items. There are several RT queues.
  • Read/write access to git repositories on GitLab: see below for more details.
  • G Suite: for SPI's phone number and various collaboration facilities

For SSH access you should send a public SSH key to the sysadmin alias. For RT access just send an email requesting access from your normal email address. The sys admin team will also add you to the board mailing list which is used for internal communication of the board of directors. This list is run by Google Groups and you can read the archives to get a better understanding of recent activities. You will receive a password for the archives when you are added to the list.

Git repositories

SPI has a number of public and private Git repositories. You can see list of repositories you have access to on SPI's GitLab.

Please create an account with your new email address.

The URL form for these repos with SSH access is, so once you have added your SSH public key (here), you can clone the board git repo like this:

git clone

As a board member you will have write access to all repositories, among which:

  • board
  • board-private

The board repository is public whereas board-private is private (as the name suggests). It's generally preferred to add details to the web site or the public board repository for transparency but private details should be stored in board-private.

When you become a director, please add your address and phone number to Director_Contact_Details in the private board repository so we have your contact details in case we cannot get hold of you via email.

The public board repository contains some interesting material, so please make yourself familiar with it. Please also check out the other onboarding information to get more familiar with the operations of SPI.

Please be careful when making changes to the git repositories. Do not do any forced pushes.

Email aliases

When you become a board member you may request an email alias (treasurer, secretary, etc.). Please email the sysadmin alias.

Calendar link

For people using google calendar there is a calendar maintained which is updated with the dates of board meetings. Add this URL to Google Calendar using "Add by URL" in "Other calendars" in the Google Calendar web interface. This is an ICS file so you can also use it with other calendar tools.


When collaborating on a document with other SPI members you may find Etherpad useful. SPI does not host its own Etherpad server but the Etherpad instance at Riseup can be used for non-confidential material. Note that anyone with the URL of an Etherpad on that server can edit it, and if a pad is inactive for 60 days then it is automatically deleted. Material should be moved into git soon after the initial collaboration.

Mailing lists

You should be on the following mailing lists

  • spi-announce
  • spi-general
  • spi-private
  • board

In addition, the spi-projects mailing list can be used to reach all SPI liaisons from associated projects. It is a moderated list so you can post without being a member of the list. You can also request to be added as a board member if you are not already on the list.

Some lists, in particular spi-announce, are moderated.


The board can create committees for specific tasks. These committees are listed here on the website. At time of writing there is only one committee, the membership committee, which is made up of the same members as the board.

Legal services

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) provides pro-bono legal advice to SPI. They provide advice and file trademark applications for SPI projects.