Subject: Re: improving project maintainership
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: 12 Feb 2002 13:52:36 +0900

>>>>> "Forrest" == Forrest J Cavalier <mibsoft@mibsoftware.com> writes:

    Forrest> Based on this paragraph, you don't see that you ARE
    Forrest> asking rms to set principles aside in the example you
    Forrest> have picked.

No, I do not.  Richard has picked a number of _in principle_ arbitrary
lines, and said "this non-free software the baptized may use; that
non-free software they may not."  And he has drawn quite different
lines for the heathen.  Overriding principles are hard to discern,
strategic judgement is everything.  This is clearly verified by the
deprecation of the LGPL.

In preparation for the release of XEmacs 21.4 I did some testing on
the Windows platform.  I realized to my shock that the Windows
platform is now _technically_ acceptable to me for daily use _for the
first time ever_.  For the first time, it would be possible for me
to cross over to Windows, and quite possibly never return based only
on usability reasons.

The release of GNU Emacs 21.1 for Windows officially sanctions that.

Aren't we forgetting something here?  Namely, that Windows is not
merely non-free, it is in-your-face proprietary, and that Bill Gates
considers ownership of software to be an inalienable moral right? And
that there is a perfectly acceptable free alternative operating
system, or I should say, four of them?  Refusing to sanction a Windows
port is merely an inconvenience to Windows users who would like to
also use Emacs: the techniques for multiple booting are well-known,
it's easy to mount Windows partitions so data sharing is feasible,
Samba can be used to access Windows shares, etc.  Don't forget VMware.
With not even the excuse of rationalizing APIs on the plus side.

Tell me, what principle required this capitulation to the Closed Side
of the Source?

As far as I can see, this was purely a matter of strategic judgement,
perhaps interpersonal Emacs politics, and maybe unconsciously clinging
to the obsolete OS exception.  The principle of never giving comfort
to users of non-free software has already long been "set aside" and
strategically subordinated to other principles, in appropriate
circumstances.  I'm merely asking Richard to consider other
applications of this line of thinking, in the name of cooperation with
others who advocate free software, but for different reasons and with
different policies than those he most prefers.


-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
              Don't ask how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.