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A Fate Worse than Red Hat? (was Re: Negative Summary of the Split Proposal)

On Jun 30, John Goerzen wrote:
> In this case, what relevance does it have to the discussion at hand?
> The day we are ruled by marketing concerns is the day we are doomed to 
> a fate akin to RedHat.

I don't think we should be ruled by marketing concerns; however, we
should be at least cognizant that our actions can and do affect how
people perceive our project.  If people associate us with particularly
polarized positions, they may be discouraged from using our system.

> You claim that we must choose between serving/trusting RMS and doing
> so for our users.  RMS has made no such demand.  By presenting those
> two options that are not mutually exclusive as such, you have either
> committed a severe fallacy or are trying to say that RMS is demanding
> something that he is not.  Either way, it is a flawed and misleading
> argument.

In this case, the positions are mutually exclusive: either we serve
the interests of free software by making our users waste time and
energy complying with a reorganization, or we don't (i.e. we find
other ways to serve those interests).  I think free software loses if
we *do* reorganize, because it gives people an incentive to use other
distributions, which aren't committed to free software, that don't go
out of their way to make it a PITA to use non-free software.

You're right, it isn't a choice between free software and our users.
It's a choice between promoting free software by making it harder to
use non-free software, and promoting free software by encouraging the
use of our system.  The former is a short-term victory, but it doesn't
do a damn thing to replace the non-free software.  It instead creates
distractions from improving and releasing potato.


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