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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

On Wed, Jun 07, 2000 at 04:59:31AM -0400, Branden Robinson wrote:
> Well, if you're going to trot out a conspiracy theory, how about
> identifying as your culprit Progeny Linux, the new company with which John
> Goerzen has recently taken a position?  Progeny is headed by Ian Murdock,
> the founder of Debian and not someone about whom I am accustomed to hearing
> testimonals on lack of integrity.

   Or any testimonials for that matter.  Does he really exist?
The closest I can come are his associates.

John Goerzen.   A fanatic who has labelled all non-free software users and
maintainers immoral and wants us out of the project.  See point 6, the most
important one.

Bruce Perens.  A control freak who as DPL told us all to fuck off when he
didn't get his way on the deity/trove/apt package name.  After quitting
Debian before being thrown out of office tried repeatedly to fragment the
community ( LSB, Open Source).  Unstable and inconsistent.

   OK, I'm not too impressed by the company he keeps.  The Social Contract
was the primary reason I chose Debian after slackware.  I knew I could add
what I needed to it myself.  I don't know much about the people who wrote
it, but many great documents have been written by pretty weak and shady
characters.  The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution come to
mind (not many of the authors actually fought for independence, and most
held slaves).  That the authors aren't still here tells me they didn't
actually want to be part of the community they created.

   There, you've heard one not-so-favorable testimonial.  Best I could do
from this distance.

> You want a conspiracy theory?  Roll with it, man.  Full steam ahead.  Let's
> see if you end up making any sense at all.

   Well, it seems my sarcastic comment *does* sum up their business plan
after all.  Package and distribute Scientific Debian.  Not the most
brilliant business plan I've heard.  There's money in technology, but very
little in science. They have no one on their staff in any scientific fields
as far as I can tell, and aren't hiring any.  In technology they have only
computer software covered.  They either 1) don't realize that the critical
programs in most fields are non-free, or 2) do know and have based their
business around this model.  The only real edge they have over any other
consultants are their Debian reputations.  Rather difficult competing with
plain old Debian-for-free I would think, unless we really blow it in these
fields.  Most universities are death on hiring consultants, student
sysadmins are so much cheaper and universities have lots of students. 
Students regularly appear on the beowulf list announce their clusters and
seeking advice.  Industry is going to demand they be familiar with the
industrial field (geology, chemistry, biochem, whatever).  A geologist who
can install and teach a technician Debian and some geology modelling
software will do far better than Ian Murdock who can install and teach
Debian.  Their only prayer is if the geologist needs Ian Murdock to install

   I notice John Goerzen has avoided this spur of the discussion.  Probably
a wise move as this is all on public record and he does work for the company
being discussed.  I don't really believe they intend to damage Debian, but I
do believe this resolution would damage the Debian community.  I think
ignorance rather than malice can adequately explain Progeny's business plan,
and I think they'll fail as a business.  Maybe they have some other great
secret resource or plan and this one is just a smokescreen.
   Goerzen, you (OF), and the other supporters of this resolution (both the
now and in-the-future camps) I think have no capability to envision the
consequences this resolution.  Please follow the scenarios the rest of us
are painting and explain to us why they won't happen.

   That Debian is even seriously divided over this issue is disturbing. We
(Debian) are at the center of the Debian community.  It was in the past a
very mobile community, but since the closing of new-maintainer has become
very stratified and a strong holier-than-thou attitude has crept into the
developer lists.  Very much like the *BSDs exhibit.  Very Cathedral. And now
the developers are seriously discussing leaving the center of the community
and moving to the edge.  Do you not feel the presence of a community around
you, or have you found a different, more "moral" community within the
developer ranks?


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