My overly clever rhetoric started an unintended quarrel with good free-software people who are my friends not my foes. I ask their pardon. A simpler statement from me would have sufficed. Branden said it better than I did. He wrote, > By adopting a milquetoast approach we do the > Mozilla Project no favors. How are they to be > a part of the FLOSS community if we keep them > outside it? Shall we look upon Mozilla as > manna from heaven, or shall we expect them to > engage in the same rough-and-tumble that the > rest of us deal with on a daily basis? RMS > had the privilege of seeing two of *his* > babies ... challenged to the point of forking. > Why, then, should we treat AOL Time Warner > with such delicacy that we dare not even offer > them frank feedback on their choice of > license? I concur. Some corporate managers do correctly sense something big, something important in the Debian Project; but what it is exactly, they often cannot clearly perceive. They are no hackers. They do not understand. They lack the very basis to understand. Slowly, slowly, some of them are learning. (I think that this is part of David's point. In my view David and Matthew are right.) Now speaking for myself only, I am willing to admit that I doubt that it generally serves the interests of Debian and its users to court some reluctant corporations too aggressively. Our door stands open. They are welcome to come, to use, to develop, to contribute---but only within the letter and spirit of our rules. If our rules are not really negotiable---really they are not, are they?---then whose interest would it serve to let some corporate managers believe otherwise? Certain companies like nVidia, X-Oz and Adobe will not cooperate, of course. No one denies that such uncooperation hurts us in the short run, but what else can we do? The DFSG define who we are. They are not negotiable. It seems to me that some corporate managers do not quite yet understand the basic fact of DFSG non-negotiability. We can forgive this fault in a corporate manager who has made his way to the top on the strength of his negotiating skills. Although it may be clear to him that the DFSG are simple, honest, impartial, unburdensome, decent, broad-minded and fair, it may not be immediately clear that the DFSG are non-negotiable. This is fair enough because no one understands everything immediately; and we are all learning, the corporate managers and we both. It is in their nature to probe our resolve. Up to a point, we do not blame them for this. On the other hand, a company which cynically stretches the DFSG's outer limits then refuses to regard debian-legal's advice in the matter is to be watched warily. The Debian Project is blessed with many friends, but if such a company is not one of them, then what else can we do? How else can we act? It is good for us to know who our friends are. I do not know where nVidia, X-Oz, Adobe or any of the others will be ten years from now, nor do I know whether their uncooperative strategies will prosper in the interim. But I do know that you and I have a dream, a powerful dream of freedom which is not theirs to buy and to sell. The Americans of 1776, the Germans of 1848, the Poles of 1989---in our own small way we follow in those people's honored footsteps. We are disciplined insurgents against an established order in a high cause, and the wonder of it is that we are winning. Well, there goes the rhetoric again. :-( Long live Debian, and hopefully it will not offend this time. I love all of you, for all that you do.
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