Subject: Re: Choardic Commons
From: Grant Bowman <>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 10:17:06 -0700

* Steve Mallett <> [020626 06:21]:
> Tim O'Reilly wrote:
> >On 6/25/02 3:39 PM, "Brian Behlendorf" <> wrote:
> > >I find it curious when people don't think that collaboration is
> > >*essential* to getting one's job done.  

Perhaps it's a lack of perspective.  Collaboration can be a burden to
getting one's OWN job done (at times, if their tools aren't easy to use)
but the group benefits can be enourmous.  Some people find it difficult
to "keep the end in mind."

> >I'm with Brian.  I sometimes feel that the whole licensing issue is a
> >massive smokescreen that keeps people from seeing what open source is 
> >really about.  It's a suite of techniques for facilitating distributed
> >collaboration.  Open source licenses are a means, not an end.  And there 
> >are other means that are equally important:
> >
> >* Ubiquitous networking, so contributions can easily be shared. (Open 
> >source had much less reach in the days when you had to ship a 9-track tape.)
> >
> >* Techniques for updating distributed code repositories, starting with 
> >Larry Wall's patch, and moving up through CVS and version control systems.
> >
> >* Mailing lists for discussion.
> >
> >* Processes for capturing, deciding on, and acting on user input.

I think it's here that magic happens, though many people (especially
techies) would rather focus on tools and technology rather than people
and processes.  There are far less absolutes to compare results.  It
would be nice to email some kind of project result output from one
project and compare them to another.  Recognized metrics haven't (yet)
been devised.

> >And many of these techniques apply to far more than software. 
> [snip]
> What I find so interesting about this is that people simply tend to 
> gravitate toward points of contention.  Hence, license posturing.
> There is nothing to argue about in the transaction of 'scratch my back & 
> I'll scratch yours' so we find something to argue about and in many 
> cases create problems to argue about.
> Silly humans.

Arguably, people are more motivated by pain than happiness.  Your 
observation seems to enforce that.

On a synchronistcally related note during a discussion about Smart Mobs
on Howard Rheingold's Brainstorms forum Howard said "I don't think
communication technologies raise anybody's IQ, but they do make it
easier to organize collective actions -- smart ones, dumb ones,
constructive ones, destructive ones."

-- Grant Bowman                                <>