From: "Eric S. Raymond" <esr(_at_)thyrsus(_dot_)com>
There's been no plebiscite, of course. However, web content analyses
and surveys of the licenses used at sites like SourceForge and ibiblio
paint a pretty consistent picture of who developers consider the authorities
on licensing and IPR best practice. Those authorities are FSF and OSI.
SourceForge and so forth have nothing to say about any views but those
of their own users. What SourceForge says cannot be honestly extrapolated
to others users for reasons that are obvious on http://sourceforge.net/
It cannot even be extrapolated to Sourceforge and similar (e.g. Freshmeat)
users, as I'm here to tell you.
Web content analyses obviously have nothing to do with counting authors
of open source. You might compare the popularity of a very few open
source packages that way. Of course package popularity is not the
same as numbers of programmers.
The popularities of various forms of open source licenses also have
nothing to do with your claims to represent open source programmers.
It would make as much sense to infer that since everyone breaths,
therefore someone who advocates (a notion of) clean air represesents
almost everyone. That exactly such claims are common in the political
world does not make them convincing here. Note also that when
professional politicians make such claims, they're usually not so
While I respect your desire that I not represent you (or claim to),
the reality is that people outside our community are generally going
to behave as if I do. OSI as an organization, and I as an individual,
had to build that reputation in order to represent *anybody*
effectively, let alone the large number of developers that want us to.
And this was a job that needed doing, so I won't apologize
for taking it on.
I do not understand that as anything but an excuse for misrepresenting
your position. That major party professional politicians make the
same sorts of "I represent all oxygen breathers" claims is not an excuse.
It is interesting to consider the claims of others such as Jeff
Williams. Mr. Williams claims to represent about as many people
as you do.
Here in the IETF, what you have to say is supposed to rise or fail
purely on its intrinsic logic and validity, whether its advocate is
an isolated individual or represents IBM, Microsoft, the ITU, the U.S.
Dept of Comm., the United Nations, or even the Open Source Initiative.
You, Mr. Stallman, and Mr. Williams all have opinions on how the IETF
should handle patents, copyrights, trademarks and so forth, but there
is no a priori reason that makes your opinions compelling. Your views
start on the same footing as anyone else's including Bill Gates',
except that Gates' might have better standing because he has not
recently gotten relevant IETF facts so egregiously wrong in public.
I'm referring to your claims in this mailing list about patent problems
being the sole or primary cause of the end of the MARID WG.
You're a typical member of the 5%, in that what bothers you is not
policies or the effects of what we do, but our implied claim to represent
There you go again, claiming to know and represent my views despite
nearly complete ignorance.
I do not presume to criticize your position, but neither am I going
to abandon my duty to hackers who *do* want OSI to represent them on
any single refusenik's say-so.
"Refusenik"? Are you ignorant of the political frieght carried by
that word? Do you not know its history or not see the irony of putting
down my objections to your claims with that word? Amazing! See
or more generally http://www.google.com/search?q=refusenik
I suspect the overwhelming majority of your community consists of users
and others who have will have written fewer than 10,000 lines of any
code when they die and fewer 1000 lines that might reasonably be called
open source by virtue of being not only in some sense free but actually
used by others. There is nothing wrong with that, but there is a lot
wrong with your efforts to claim to represent more than 95% of open
I've been around for decades and know at least a few people who have
written more than 10,000 more or less freely redistributable and popular
lines. Few of them are members of either your or Mr. Stallman's
organizations, although both of you frequently claim to speak for us.
Your statemnet that web content analyses supports your claims is an
aspect or admission of the fact that your organization, like but not
quite not as much as the FSF, is more about users of open source than
authors of open source. There's nothing wrong with running or
representing an organzation whose members are more open source users
than authors, but there is plenty wrong with appointing yourself to
represent people outside your organization.
If you truly understood and supported the notion of open source, you
would not be doing as you are and have been doing. What you are doing
is the political realm's equivalent to the theft that some corporations
commit or attempt with open source. (e.g. AT&T and the BSD TCP/IP
code, except I think AT&T made an almost innocent mistake in that
case). You are trying to "leverage" the reputations and work of open
source programmers for your personal gain and political power without
even deigning to give us credit.
And save the stuff and nonsense about being trustworthy and not having
power over me. Don't insult my intelligence. Your efforts here to
be named co-negotiator for open source authors are intended to exercise
power over me.
Vernon Schryver vjs(_at_)rhyolite(_dot_)com
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