Subject: Re: Open Source in E-Commerce
From: Lynn Winebarger <owinebar@free-expression.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 20:49:30 -0500 (EST)

On Tue, 14 Mar 2000, Crispin Cowan wrote:

> I'm a (kind of ex-) academic, and I find it to be very true.  I also do not
> feel maligned.  What's wrong with it?
> 
> Of course, I'm also a life long cynic, in the Ambrose Bierce tradition that a
> cynic is a dastardly fellow who sees things as they are, instead of as they
> ought be.  The above description is a highly accurate and predictive model
> for the way academics behave, so I like it.  I view this as consistent with a
> pursuit of scientific truth :-)
> 
   Maybe I'm just a bright-eyed grad student, but it seems to me that,
while his description may capture a sizable number of academics, there are
probably those who are really doing it because, well, because they're
academics.  Reading others' work and commenting on it is part of the
academic nature.  And while there are undoubtedly politicos trying to
manipulate the process for their own gain, I am equally sure there are
academics who are just providing what they see as relevant criticism - it
may reflect their own interests and background, but that doesn't mean
they're in on the conspiracy.  
   We are essentially talking about motivations here, which are not
observable phenomenon (at least, there isn't any measuring equipment I'm
familiar with), so scientific truth isn't the standard.  (I don't know
that there is a standard, for that matter).

Lynn