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The Eric S. Raymond method (a.k.a. Raymondism)

  • Subject: The Eric S. Raymond method (a.k.a. Raymondism)
  • From: Homer <usenet@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 04:04:28 +0000
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I was just reviewing the fedora-devel list archives, when I spotted this

Core values

    * From: esr thyrsus com (Eric S. Raymond)
    * To: Development discussions related to Fedora Core
      <fedora-devel-list redhat com>
    * Subject: Core values
    * Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 15:30:08 -0500

Jesse Keating <jkeating redhat com>:
> Market share means nothing if we sacrifice our core values for a few 
> more percentage points.

This is so out of contact with reality that it makes me grind my teeth.

Want to fix or scrap the damned patent system? Want to get the damned
DMCA repealed?  Do you want even as little a thing as 3D graphics and
wireless cards with open specs?

To get these things, we certainly need market share over 30% and
probably need market share over 50%.  We need politicians and vendors to
fear our wrath.

It wasn't 'sacrificing our core values' to ship a binary Netscape
blob until Mozilla was ready. It won't be sacrificing our core values
to ship proprietary codecs until we are positioned to crush them out
of existence.

The Ubuntu crowd gets this.  The Fedora crowd doesn't.  That difference
is nowhere near the only reason I'm gone, but it's a big one.
		<a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/";;>Eric S. Raymond</a>


The fatal flaw with Raymondism, is it assumes that simply capitulating
to proprietary licenses will somehow produce ubiquity, and what remains,
after this pragmatic mutation, will still be true to the original purpose.

If adoption of proprietary licenses automatically produces ubiquity,
then why doesn't Mac OS X have a 90% market share?


And if Free Software becomes no-longer Free, then ... what exactly is
the point of this "no-longer Free" software? Why not just use Windows?

Again I say, hmm.

Raymond's goals (scrap patents, repeal the DMCA, open hardware specs)
are admirable, and I do agree, but his method (strategic pragmatism) is
simply naive.

Surrendering to proprietary standards won't bring ubiquity, and even if
by some miracle it did, what'd be left would be unrecognisable as Free
Software, essentially becoming the very problem which Free Software was
created to solve. Believing this "solution" would be only temporary, is
even more naive. Witness how hard it is to wean Windows and Mac users
off their "killa appz", proprietary formats and encumbered technologies
like a/v codecs.

If there's a fox stalking the hen house, you don't fill that hen house
with more chickens ... you buy a gun.

Right now, about the only "gun" the Free Software community has, with
which to shoot the Fox in Redmond, is the European Commission. Stuffing
the community with more Free Software users, by enticing them with
pragmatic concessions at the expense of our core values, won't kill the
fox, that'll only feed it with more tasty royalties and "cross licensing
deals", whilst the hen house is remodelled in the image of the fox's
den, and the chickens are mercilessly savaged, left looking like mutated

If the likes of Eric Raymond, Miguel de Icaza, Mark Shuttlworth, and
other delusional "pragmatists" of their ilk, get their wish, then we may
as well pack our bags now.


| "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It
|  is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." ~ William
|  Pitt the Younger

Fedora release 8 (Werewolf) on sky, running kernel
 04:03:42 up 112 days, 11:46,  5 users,  load average: 0.01, 0.02, 0.04

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