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DFSG development (was Re: Manifesto for the Debian Project leadership election)

'Shaya Potter wrote:'
>>Ian> There was no opportunity for them to directly affect what the
>>Ian> content of the final DFSG was, other than by playing `defect' by
>>Ian> voting against the whole thing.  In the context in question this
>>Ian> was extremely unlikely to happen, because a `no' would probably
>>Ian> have been interpreted as a weakening of the hard free software
>>Ian> line which most of the developers seem to support to various
>>Ian> degrees.

I agree: the voting was silly.  And I didn't vote.  I think the fact
that Bruce posted the draft and waited several days for further
comments would have been sufficient.  The voting did sort of "finalize"
things though.

>>	We had the chance. And in initial arguments, we did not come
>> up with anything like the current DFSG. And Bruce did change the
>> document due to public opinion.

I'm glad that Bruce did not submit to public opinion.  Rather, I think
he incorporated those ideas that he felt truely improved the document --
based on their technical merit.  And he did it (for the most part) in
his own words.

>Also, usually it's going to take someone to use his perogative and write up
>a rough draft without anyone asking him.  If you want more than one person
>to write the rough draft, nothing will get done.  Yes bruce wrote it, but he
>rewrote a lot of sentances that people didn't like for some reason.  I would
>say that the people who participated in the discussion (which I stayed
>mostly out of, as I'm not a hard line on free software issues, but who
>thinks debian should be), had a lot of input into how the final document
>read, and what it conveyed. Maybe in the future it'd be better to discuss
>what ideas we want in the document first, and then have someone write a
>rough draft, and then edit it, in the "bazzar" manner we did, if we could
>reach some conclusions in the initial arguing.  However, if we were to try
>to write a document from scratch on debian-devel or private, nothing would
>get done.

Initially I was very skeptical of Bruce's DFSG and was disappointed
that Bruce ignored my suggestions.  But in the end, I have to agree
that that Bruce's initiative and "bazzar"-model leadership succeeded.
Although Bruce never included my original suggestions, he took similar
(and better) ideas from others and the end result is better than what
would have been had Bruce mindlessly adopted my suggestions.

For emphasis: I think the key is that someone took the initiative to
write a draft and to rewrite the draft when deficiencies were found.
It didn't matter who it was.  It did matter that the initiative-taker
(eventually) accommodated everyone's input to as large an extent as was

I think Bruce's "bazzar"-model leadership abilities are a little
wobbly.  However, I'm very pleased with the result of the DFSG and
Open Hardware initiatives that he undertook.  And I fully acknowledge
Bruce's success in realizing those projects.

  "The things to do are:  the things that need doing:  that /you/ see
  need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done.
  Then you will conceive your own way of doing that which needs to be
  done -- that no one else has told you to do or how to do it.  This
  will bring out the real you that often gets buried inside a character
  that has acquired a superficial array of behaviors induced or imposed
  by others on the individual."  --- R. Buckminster Fuller

Christopher J. Fearnley          |  Linux/Internet Consulting
cjf@netaxs.com                   |  Design Science Revolutionary
http://www.netaxs.com/~cjf       |  Explorer in Universe
ftp://ftp.netaxs.com/people/cjf  |  "Dare to be Naive" -- Bucky Fuller

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