Subject: Re: forking the list considered harmful (was Re: free software vs. open source)
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 12:40:18 -0800

I'd hate to see it too.  But if everyone agrees, it would be nice to
have a less partisan tone from the GPL side of the house.  Most of the
chat is about licenses and ideology, and not much about business, and
the university-style-license people mostly keep their heads down, even
though many of them are quietly building businesses, often using a mix
of free and proprietary software.

I know of quite a few people with significant stature in the community,
and who have made significant contributions, who are doing this, but who
wouldn't want to raise their heads for fear of getting them shot off. 
And yet these are the people who probably have the most interesting
experiences to relate on the business side.  There are businesses like
Red Hat and VA that are firmly committed to GPL, and we know a lot about
their business models.  But how much do we know about the business
models, successes and failures of companies like Sendmail, Sleepycat,
C2Net, ActiveState, and many others who had (for various reasons) some
mix of free and proprietary.  I'm just about the only person in that
position who speaks up, because I've built up a thick skin over the
years from being attacked at random by people with whom I thought I had
a common cause, but I know there are others in a similar position.

Until the partisans are willing to entertain the idea that we don't know
everything already, and that all the rules aren't written, and all the
principles defined, this will not be a very business-friendly list.

Your suggestion about subject lines certainly can help, but given that
virtually any subject can be turned into a holier than thou discussion,
it doesn't provide a safe haven.  Only open mindedness can do that.

"Bradley M. Kuhn" wrote:

> I think forking is a bad idea, and would be a premature optimization.  If
> folks strive to keep subject lines germane, I think we can carry on a number
> of discussions here that fall under the 'FSB' banner but may not be of
> interest to all members.
> I'd hate to see the list fork.
> --
>          -  -  Bradley M. Kuhn  -  -

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
101 Morris Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472
+1 707-829-0515, FAX +1 707-829-0104,