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Re: Practicality of GNU project and libre movement

From: Miles Fidelman
Subject: Re: Practicality of GNU project and libre movement
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 13:55:31 -0400
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On 7/24/20 1:26 PM, Roberto Beltran wrote:

I don't think these things are mutually exclusive. You can say the most
correct and right things in the world.
But if you don't make the person that hears you inspired or happy you
won't go anywhere.
I'm not sure this is really true.

One doesn't generally come out of a (good & thorough) design review
happy - at least not if there are gaps/flaws in your design.  If you're
lucky, you might come out ticked at yourself for your own oversight (or
stupidity), and inspired to go "back to the drawing board."

History suggests that fear is a far more effective motivator than
happiness.  Where inspiration fits in depends on the situation &
inspiration (and both survival & fear are great sources of inspiration -
you know, necessity and all that).  Paying people, or giving them free
stuff, also works pretty well.

By contrast, it sure seems like pandering & wishful thinking, are
recipes for disaster (unless you're a politician, in which case, they're
recipes for election).

Miles Fidelman

Not pointing this only at you Miles, just happened to get you last, but I think 
we've all more or less said our peace on how to treat people. It's basically 
just drowning out on-topic discussion at this point. You can all just as easily 
talk about whether it's better to be nice or scary and when off list

Hi Roberto,

On that I'll agree wholeheartedly - speaking as the listmanager of one-too-many lists that have fallen apart over demands for niceness, kindness, and/or politically correct language - crowding out actual substantive discussion.

Call me a bit sensitive on this one - I deal with calls for censorship & expulsion on several local political lists, and I'm watching my church (Unitarian Universalism) being destroyed by intolerance, groupthink, and thought policing - all in the name of "anti-oppression," "welcoming & inclusion," "respect," and "accountability."  And, one of the lessons that I've learned as a list admin, is that the price of standing for free speech, is that one has to wade in and counter-punch, lest the smoke blowers just crowd out everything substantive.  (Yes, I could be accused of doing that here.  Mea Culpa, and my apologies.)

I promise, my last meta-post on this thread.

But.. just so that I contribute something on-topic & constructive:

- It strikes me that FOSS is doing just fine - people have found lots of business models for supporting the work.  The facts on the ground speak for themselves.

- On the other hand, it strikes me that both money, and calls for behavior codes, are killing the Internet as a place to collaborate & get work done.  We have all together too many proprietary protocols & walled gardens cropping up, as well as all too many prickly people demanding "respectful speech" or "accountability" - basically getting in the way of people actually being able to exchange information & opinions.  (Not like the old days, when it was all telnet, email, and ftp - and folks were rude to each other with impunity.)

- As I type this, it strikes me that the key selling points of FOSS are interoperability, and avoiding vendor lock-in.  As a someone who works in the tools & protocols space, an early lesson learned is that it's very hard to get people to adopt a new technology that doesn't interoperate with existing tools.  Yes, some people will buy in out of FUD (all the folks who use secure email, of various stripes, for medical records - wouldn't it be nice if our doctors used PEM, instead of each using a different, private, email system)?  But, for the most part, support for legacy data types & protocols is a must - and folks will generally favor open protocols & software over closed stuff from shaky vendors (though... the success of Slack continues to astound me - do we really need yet another version of IM, AIM, and texting?).

Overall, it strikes me that in both technology, and netiquette, Postel's law applies quite nicely - "be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others." (Nice, kind, respectful - all well and good, but not at the price of substance & accuracy.  IMO.)

Miles Fidelman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.  .... Yogi Berra

Theory is when you know everything but nothing works.
Practice is when everything works but no one knows why.
In our lab, theory and practice are combined:
nothing works and no one knows why.  ... unknown

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