Subject: Re: Open letter to those who believe in a right to free software
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 4 Nov 1999 10:55:13 -0500

   Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 00:37:21 -0700 (MST)
   From: Richard Stallman <>

   I stand by the pont that what happens in the free software world
   depends critically on what small numbers of people think, so that only
   a model that can predict what small numbers of people think could
   predict the future history of our community.

This is an interesting point, and it was in the back of my mind,
poorly expressed, when I mentioned that a single free software
developer can get thousands of users.

The history of free software to date has been highly contingent.  If
there were no RMS, there would not have been anybody else.  If there
were no Linus Torvalds, there would not have been anybody else.

This doesn't mean that a statistical model is impossible or should not
be done.  But any statistical model will inevitably get the details
wrong.  And if there is one thing that is true about software, it is
that details matter.