Subject: Re: improving project maintainership
From: Nick Jennings <>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 12:24:03 -0800

On Tue, Feb 12, 2002 at 02:25:44PM -0500, Russell Nelson wrote:
> Quinn Weaver writes:
>  > All right, this sparring has gone on long enough.  It's clear that the
>  > movements involved have irreconcilable philosophical differences.
> No, I think this issue *can* be reconciled and I further believe it to
> be in the interests of free software businesses for us to do so.
> Dissension among the ranks is debilitating, and is fodder for our
> competitors.
> Here's how I propose that Richard deal with us. First.. 

 Eh.. You are attempting to reconcile the issue by listing out what
 Richard needs to do in order to satisfy you? That's quite a generous

> he should
> acknowledge that the free software movement is inevitably part of the
> open source movement, simply because his goals form a part of our
> goals.  We, too, want to see a world free of the scourge of
> proprietary software.  We can't abandon the cause of software freedom
> even if we wanted to.  The GPL is the first Open Source license for a
> reason (

 The OSI wants the world to be _FREE_ of proprietary software? Then
 why is one tactic of the OSI to use proprietary agreements where
 applicable and/or beneficial in either a monetary or strategic sense?
 Not that this is good, or bad, but just that I don't think you
 can hope to get rid of something by condoning and partaking in
 that same thing yourself.

> Second, he should position "Free Software" as the pure form of "Open
> Source".  One slogan he could use is "We're the FSF.  We put the
> Freedom in Open Source".  Then, rather than having to explain how
> awful we are for not saying "Freedom", he will have people enquiring
> "Freedom?  In Open Source?  What do you mean?"  Then he can give his
> positive message of freedom instead of his negative message of a split
> in the movement.

 Well.. I do like the slogan :)
> Third, OSI should tell people "If you want freedom, go to the FSF.
> They put the Freedom in Open Source", and not shy away from the issue
> of freedom.  Part of the reason we never mention freedom is because
> RMS has conflated freedom with ethical judgements.  I'd like to be
> able to say "Open Source gives you the freedom to run your own
> business, instead of being run over by your software."

 So, the OSI doesn't mention freedom because it *thinks* RMS taints the
 word and/or the meaning? Sorry but thats a load of crap. If the
 OSI doesn't use the word "freedom" because of that, they have
 got the wrong set of priorities. Since when did properly representing
 yourself, or your beliefs, become less of a priority than not
 scaring off the big business because you use the word "freedom" ?

> This message is similar to the way organic food[1] is marketed by
> organic farmers.  They don't say "We're not farmers, we're Organic
> food producers".  That would be silly and nobody would believe them.
> It would be a completely uphill battle to persuade people that organic
> farmers are not farmers.  Instead, they say (with some reason) that
> organic food is fresher, tastier, and free of chemicals.  Organic food
> is pure food.

 Actually, to equate the terms, I believe it would be more something

 Farmers = Programmers

 Organic Farmers = FSF

 Organic Farmers who wanted more land and cool new farming devices, so
 they joined up with the big farming industries to grow organic food. 
 They grow on shared land with the big industry farmers and therefore 
 partake in the toxic chemicals in the soil  = OSI 

 Now, the FSF is probably going to want to draw a clear distinction
 between themselves and the OSI in this case. Simply saying
 your both organic farmers does not clearly define the differences
 (and very distinct differences they are) in the two groups.

 Although you are all farmers.

> It's hard to market something by saying what you're not.  At the Linux
> World Expo, the FSF booth had a sign saying something like "We are the
> FSF.  We're NOT a part of the Open Source movement...."  Imagine if
> Avis said "Rent from us.  We're NOT Hertz."  Blah.  Thanks, I think
> I'll rent from Hertz if it's all the same to you.  No, they said "We're 
> #2.  We try harder."[2]

 Well, I do think "We're NOT a part of the Open Source movement" is
 a little negative, and	I do think the FSF should not waste so
 much energy on negative aspects of the two different movements.

 However, this does not mean that what you propose is giving the
 FSF the credit it deserves. After all, they DID start this
 all. The OSI is merely a byproduct of the FSF ideals and the
 need to make money and work with proprietary minded businesses, 
 dont you think?

  Nick Jennings