Subject: Re: funding indirect services (tangent)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 11:53:27 +0900 (JST)

This may be tangential to the thread, but I don't think so.  I think
that there is a potential conflict between the "community service"[1] and
"business" aspects of FSBs, and we should look closely at its
implications for any given business model.

>>>>> "Nils" == Nils Lohner <lohner@ecf.teradyne.com> writes:

    Nils> In message
    Nils> <14722.13726.189882.470206@turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>,
    Nils> "Stephen J. Turnbull" writes:

    >> Current efforts are to try to integrate the main application
    >> loops as much as possible.  This can't be done with the NT
    >> port, but requiring NT users to run an X server or GTK would be
    >> unacceptable to most.

    Nils>   Free X servers for Windows are becoming a reality... the
    Nils> cygwin-xfree effort for example has already produced a few
    Nils> good results.

XEmacs developers by and large disagree that "free" is more important
than "timely" and "useful."  The XEmacs developers all agree (and have
always agreed) that XEmacs itself must be free.  But we (as a matter
of policy) have no objection to incorporating extensions to interface
to semi-free (ssh 2.x) or explicitly proprietary (ClearCase) tools or
to support "evil" operating systems.

This is a plausible approach to serving our community, even if
hardcore FS advocates find it unacceptable (as RMS does; for the
mainline GNU Emacs, he vetoed not only the clearcase Lisp library but
the extension of EFS syntax to accomodate ssh as well).  Availability
of excellent free tools is not really relevant to the policy, either.
A lot of effort goes into the "native" (non-Cygwin) NT port of XEmacs,
and that includes the MS C/C++ platform.

Our NT users do not want to run an X server, free or not.  They want
native NT widgets.  They are contributing the programming effort---and
taking huge amounts of criticism from the review board, intended to
minimize the impact of the changes they want on the rest of XEmacs,
without complaint---to make their preferred setup work.  There is no
such contribution from the crowd of users who would like a GTK+ port,
thus the difference in treatment.

The point is that BeOpen.com has greatly influenced the development of
XEmacs by voting with dollars, rather than convincing the review board
that it is good for XEmacs.  _IMO_ this is good for XEmacs development---
we get to experiment with a GTK+ XEmacs without redirecting the whole
project---but since the obvious target for those dollars is current
volunteer developers, it is debatable.


Footnotes: 
[1]  Open source is by its nature "community service".  It is a public
good.  I don't think that an FSB should consider trading "less profit"
for "more community service", given that its product is open source.
But others disagree (Brian Bartholomew, for example).  I suppose
"third way" advocates would, also.

-- 
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