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Re: ESR wishes to retire

On Sun, 28 Mar 1999, Brian Almeida wrote:

> http://www.netaxs.com/~esr/writings/take-my-job-please.html

All I can say is..

I knew ESR didn't have the guts to do it.

And if it wasn't for the fact that I wasn't 'financially secure' (now
>$30k in debt. I love my new car, though. Thanks to the boss.:) I'd take
that job, and turn the OSI into something that not only *I* could respect,
but something *everyone* could respect. But alas, money is a problem
around here.

What the world really needs is not somebody who, as Eric puts it, "won't
frighten off the suits," but somebody who's not afraid to tell it like it

"Sure, there's no commercial support, but it's got loads of documentation,
which you'd read on an M$ product anyways, and it's a damn sight faster,
cheaper, and more effective." That's the argument I've used with my
coworkers. I haven't lost yet.

And anything non-free that is not absolutely vital to work, is not
permitted. (I have a total of three non-free packages on my work machine,
which I can't recall the names of offhand.) We're using Debian. The
servers will be using a custom-built distribution I'm working on, and
Solaris with many GPL'd utilities. 

The 'Open Source' community doesn't need a self-declared spokesman. NOBODY
needs that. Especially one that backs down because they can't take the
heat. ESR knew what he was getting into when he started the whole thing.
And now it's gone further than he can deal with. So he whines, and backs
out, complaining that it's hell.

He knew exactly what he was getting into. And he's running away.

Like the scared little child he has seemed to be, at least to me, since
day one. 

What is needed is NOT somebody to paint a pretty picture. That's a *bad*
PR person. That's the WRONG thing to do. You don't just paint a pretty
picture. You may as well paint a painting, and not tell who did it.

The right thing to do is to say it like it is, and worry about a pretty
picture later. Nobody gives a damn if your growth is over 230% if you
don't tell them what it is that's grown so much. 

ESR: "Open Source is the way! Embrace it!"

Good PR person: "Open Source is what you get when you tell over 10,000
independent developers to do what they like. The code produced is better,
more stable, and you can modify it if you want."

Somebody: "If it's not GPL, it's not free."

Good PR person: "The GPL isn't the only free license, but it's the only
license that requires redistribution of the source, so that you can modify
it, and debug it, if you want to."

Now, yes, I know these conflict with the views of Debian, but that's what
SHOULD be said, in my opinion. Suits like free. There's your pretty
picture. And there's how it is.

If anyone out there wants ESR's job, take some advice.

Forget about the pretty picture, till the people understand what's really
going on behind the scenes, in this situation. If you create a masterpiece
of art, using nothing more than a computer, don't tell. This is different.
This is thousands upon thousands of people, around the world, doing this
because they like it, not getting paid for it, and basically being
ignored. Can you name the authors of Gnome? How about KDE? How about
apache? How about anacron? 

These are the people that need to be heard from. These people are the
engine of this huge semi; the PR person is just that pretty hood ornament. 

If you ignore the people who you expect to back you, then don't expect any
backing. Their input is valuable, and very important; listen to it well.
Listen always; never leave any question unanswered if you can avoid it.
But know when to leave the questions unanswered. You'll go nowhere, and
only ruin the image if you don't listen to the other big names. If Linus
mentions something, listen. If Alan Cox mentions something, listen. Don't
necessarily repeat it, or share it; think for yourself. But listen.

The most important part of understanding *any* movement is to listen to
the people who are behind it. To say what THEY want to say. To present the
image that benefits all. 

Forget self-promotion. Sure, the spotlight's on you, but it shouldn't be.
There should be millions upon millions of candlepower, lighting the whole
movement as a whole. 

The real truth behind PR is...

There is no PR, if there is noone to be PR for. You're not damage control
for everyone. You're not everyone's personal saviour. You are you. And
they are themselves. 

Never forget that, and you just might make it the biggest thing ever.

-Phillip R. Jaenke (prj@nls.net / PJaenke@unicent.com)
 Head Unix Guru - Unicent Telecom
 216-344-2649, x4268 - Voice

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