Subject: Re: funding indirect services (tangent)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 19:46:12 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "kms" == Karsten M Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com> writes:

    kms> ...and how many *good* developers are being *brought* to
    kms> Linux by the participation (and financial contributions) of
    kms> Sun, HP, IBM, RedHat, VA, and others?  I suspect the balance
    kms> is positive,

I've explicitly stated that I do too (actually, more than "suspect" a
positive balance).  And I'm sure we're in plenty of excellent company.

But that's not my question here.  The point is that our shared
evaluation is based on a _value judgement_, one which weights the
"total quantity" of free software development effort heavily.  RMS for
one considers mere association with non-free software as a threat to
be avoided.  Many OSS developers would require a commitment to the
project as part of the definition of "good OSS developer."  They can,
and do, admit that some *good* developers are attracted to OSS
projects by external funding, and still deplore the overall effect.

I don't agree with them.  But I accept that not everybody shares my
values.  The question is, can we work together given that difference?

    kms> It's possible for a company to foot the bill entirely and
    kms> still not play the community relationship game right -- the
    kms> strategy *should* be carefully considered.

Part of that strategy has to be recognition of the potential value
conflict I just described.  One point of my GTK+/XEmacs example is
that XEmacs happens to be a collection of OSS developers who mostly
hold values similar to yours and mine; thus the minimal friction
between BeOpen and XEmacs.  I suspect that would not be true of many
other OSS projects, because the shared values of their developers are
different.

Not to mention that many of them consider my values ugly, and would be
offended to see "community relations" described as a game, subject to
strategic considerations.  I suspect I would be unacceptable, or at
best untrusted, as a partner to people who feel that way.

-- 
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