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In gmane.linux.debian.devel.boot Herbert Xu wrote:
> Free software extremists I can live with. But this is too much.
> I will resign from this project in two weeks time.
I have to say that I am surprised by the turn of events. I have been
trying to come up with a convincing argument to make you stay, but
somehow all reasons seemed to fall short one way or the other. I guess
it all comes down to how one prioritizes one's different ideologies.
For those who place the deterrence and destruction of their enemies
above anything else, participating in the free software movement may
indeed contradict with that particular vision. The "enemies" tend to
vary greatly from person to person: noisy neighbors, one's ex, certain
corporations/governments/organizations that are perceived to be evil,
people who believe in some other religion, or people who believe in no
religion... you know the drill. Participants in the free software
movement may not only be working with the people they consider "evil"
(as you have recently discovered), but what really makes it intolerable
is that they make work *for* those "evil" people!
No, I am pretty sure Christian Perrier is not a supporter of Taiwan
independence; otherwise he would not have filed the d-i ISO-3166
conformance bug in the first place. But the possibility that someone in
the project does support Taiwan independence is real, and if you extend
the scope to our users around the globe, overwhelming. (For those who
cannot care less about Taiwan independence, fill in the blanks with
appropriate terms yourself.) They could be using *your* packages to
further their goals at this very moment! Unless you can live with that
thought, working on free software really does not make much sense.
Debian is about free software, and we try to keep it that way, but
sometimes other controversial issues do find their way into our work,
and we have to find reasonable solutions for them so that we can move
on. I had deep feelings on how Taiwan is referred to in d-i and
elsewhere, and I had spoken vocally on this topic, trying to make our
users' concerns understood (and bothered the hell out of a lot of people
in the process too). But regardless of how hard I try, the possibility
remains that I might be told that even though our users' concerns are
perfectly understood, it is determined by the general consensus within
the project that we are not going to adopt the solution that fulfills my
wishes. Duh, tough luck. I might be a little upset, but then we move
on. After all, Debian is about free software, and that is what really
I agree that the idea of working with people you disagree with, or that
"evil" people using the software you maintain can be hard to swallow.
For all I know, People's Liberation Army could also benefit from my work
here, but nobody in Taiwan bugs me for that, because that is how these
things work. Free software is free for all, and I consider that a
higher cause to serve. If you believe in the free software movement as
a lasting way of empowering the people and the society through promoting
the free availability of ideas and technology, you should not give up
your commitment over political issues. Your resignation makes a clear
statement, sure, but it is hardly constructive even as far as politics
is concerned. As much as the political disagreement over the Taiwan
Strait is, I am sure things will be sorted out within the next hundred
years or two. Really. And regardless of our personal opinions, this is
not a burden we should bear *as* Debian developers.
Even though you and I disagree on this issue, I still hate to see you go
with all the nice work you have done for Debian. So how about you
retract the resignation before it becomes effective, and keep working on
the common ideal that all of us *do* share -- like, this thing I heard
the other day called free software?
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- From: Herbert Xu <email@example.com>