Subject: Re: Do We Need a New Evangelist
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 3 Apr 1999 00:15:03 -0500

   Date: 3 Apr 1999 04:49:48 -0000
   From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>

   Brian Behlendorf writes:
    > >  > d) be democratic
    > > 
    > > It doesn't matter who makes the rules, as long as the rules treat
    > > everyone fairly.  Calls for democracy usually result when there are
    > > allegations of unfairness, which is what all your other objections
    > > address.
    > 
    > I would dispute this strongly.  In so far as OSI attempt to speak for any
    > community - the "hacker" community, the open source community, etc., its
    > mandate is derived from that community, and it *must* listen to its
    > constituents.

   I'm not arguing for ignorance, I'm arguing for independence.  The
   danger of democracy is that interested parties vote harder.  A recent
   example taken from recent news is the tariff on steel.  Aging industry
   with stranded capital goods fails to compete; seeks solace in
   government protection "because steel is a strategic industry".
   Nonsense, stuff, and balderdash.  The more strategic an industry, the
   more important it is to keep costs down.  Too late!  Steel industry
   has already bought its legislators.  They trade off votes with other
   boughten legislators (aren't they all??) in a crude form of a market.

   Example for a free software business?  Maybe Sun can't compete with
   GCC, so they partially open their source, say with their community
   license, and lobby/buy developers to get it labelled Open Source.
   *I* say no way, but if I must abide by those developers, I'm screwed.

I don't find that scenario especially plausible.  However, rather than
delve into that, I'll comment that I do understand and agree with
Brian's conditional clause: ``In so far as OSI attempt to speak for
any community.''  If OSI dropped their written and spoken claims to be
acting for the good of the community, and replaced them with something
like claims to be acting as they saw best in light of their
intelligence and experience, then I would be much happier with the
organization.  (The same goes for Eric Raymond personally, for that
matter--that is, I would be much happier with him if he didn't claim
to be ``public advocate for the hacker tribe,'' but instead to be
``sensible fellow with a point to make.'')

I would still be concerned about what I consider to be over-hyping,
and the risks of dual-licensing, and the possible obscuring of the
free software philosophy, but there would be a much more natural way
for me, or others, to speak out about these issues, without causing or
appearing to cause a split in the community.

Ian