press release critique

josX joshb at
Thu May 3 19:50:04 UTC 2001

> On Thu, May 03, 2001 at 03:01:40PM +0200, josX wrote:
> > Ok, so it will be a self-imposed "task-force" that will take upon it the
> > actions of forming a `picture' of free(dom) software in a simulated 
> > org-situation, so politics can be influenced for the better. So it will
> Exactly.
> > seem to be an org from the non-understanding outside, but it will be a
> > simple group with no power or control inside (since that cannot and must
> > not exist). If this is going to be it, it is good I guess :-).
> Yes, the FSFE has no control over who writes which software and when. This
> is the decision of the individual. It might influence some development by
> raising funds to pay programmers to contribute to some special free software
> packages the FSFE considers important. Or in other words: It might pay for
> some free software to be written. But that's the only way it can actually
> get involved in the creation of free software. This is by the way the same
> as it is for the FSF in the USA.
> > Ah, that makes sence. Can we be democratic then pleaze ;-)!!
> There was a mail from Georg a while ago on this question. He expressed the
> opinion, that a democratic organisation would not be as stable and long
> lasting as a non-democratic one. 

I cannot live with this.

>                                  Please check his mail in the archive (I
> hope that an archive of this list exists...) for details. In practice, I
> think that decisions will be made quite democratic, because most issues are
> discussed on this mailing list _before_ the FSFE makes a decision. So I
> would expect, that the decision mirrors in most cases the opinion of the
> majority of the people on this list. Obviously this depends on the members
> of the core team and thus they decided to be very careful when appointing
> new members of the FSFE. I personally think, that this is a sensible
> approach, but I can well understand, that not everyone will agree here.

> > > and free software. Maybe that's an important message to the core team 
> > > of the
> > > FSFE. I would advise to avoid such statements altogether. It's too easy to
> > > understand it in the wrong way.
> > I sleep better already... 
> :-)
> > Alrighty, if that is going to be /it/, I'm for it. And `money' and 
> > power-concentrations are so dangerous they simply should not exist 
> > methinks!
> I agree in principal, but I know that you cannot avoid this in reality. A
> society without them is instable against criminals, who only take, but never
> give.

No, you don't get it completely: if we are `action' based, there can be no
criminals because we are all doing something usefull, so any lazy people
will simply be noticed immideately because they only eat the pizza, but
never do anything usefull (giving orders is not usefull IMO).

> > What about heavy democratization....... we don't need no power-structere
> > do we!, we are all self-motivated etc. why should we need things like
> > `core' teams and such stuff, and "lower"-orgs in countries. We are grown-up
> > enough to have a totally flat structure, not?!
> As I wrote, we do not need this to write free software. But we need it as an
> interface to the "outside world", because we wouldn't be recognised
> otherwise. The core team is mainly to coordinate and the country chapters
> are there, because of the different legislation among the european
> countries.

I see no contradiction: we can appear to the outside as a standard org, while
actually be completely flat.

> > And we don't have to differ anything from FSF in my opinion, that will
> Apart from the differences imposed by the different laws in Europe compared
> to the USA.
> > only weaken us. We know we can trust RMS for example, we should not
> > do away with such a "help" structure already good in place. There seems
> You will see, that the FSF tries to appear together with the FSFE whenever
> possible. The main difference is a legal point and maybe a different
> political attitude towards free software here in Europe compared to the USA.
> That's the reason, why the FSF couldn't do the job.
> > to be LOTS and LOTS of discussions goin on within for instance Debian
> > and Gnu, almost to the point they are "discussion-based". I think we can
> > be "action-based". Want an Logo? start designing! want a website? start
> Exactly this problem is one reason for not forming a radical democratic
> organisation. You avoid such deadlocks, because the core team can decide
> after one month of discussion on the list, that this is enough now.

No you don't understand again: there are not going to be deadlocks on
anything because nobody can tell anybody else what to do or what not to.
Everybody will just follow their own path, and coordinate it between them
if need be or if that seems fun.

> > writing html! Want a standard-press focal-point? start gathering views
> > from within the "movement", and try to present them honestly, and in a
> > way the local-press can relato to (may differ from country-to-country and
> > from medium-to-medium). That is a lot of work, but if you are for instance
> > only on you own, just start with the local etc. That would be more usefull
> > than setting up all kinds of orgs and a mother-org and all that drag.
> > Want influence politics? sent pamflettes, print T-shirts and sell them...
> Advertisment is far more efficient, if it is coordinated. Especially if you
> can share ideas, leaflets and T-Shirts across Europe. It is more efficient
> and cheaper, if I let a company produce 5000 FSFE T-shirts and send them to
> everyone interested in Europe than 10 people in 10 countries ordering 500
> each. If you do not coordinate the work, you will also face duplication of
> effort, because several people end up doing the same thing.

No, because in your scheme there will be a control entity, and this entity
will not do anything usefull on itself and be a waste of energy therefore.
And there need not be inefficienty in producing manny T-shirts if you
erect a simple forum for letting people of different parts in Europe discuss
when they have the same initiative (T-shirts) and want to check out with
eachother if they can work together on the particular issue. No need
for any control entity whatsoever. If a control entity needs no keep track
of all these kinds of things in all countries... it will soon become
mega-large, and combersome, and all for no use (only presumed use, but not
actual use in my opinion, only drag).

> > Action-based, not discussion-based. What about it!
> Well, yes that's the idea of this list too. If you want to do something,
> just announce it on the list. And you will find, that you get good advice
> (which will save you a lot of work) and probably that other people want to
> help you. Give it a try!

No you don't understand what I meant with `action' see above too...
All that's needed to coordinate is a usenet group, or a couple of them
or something and let things organize themselve, everybody is self-motivated
here so it should be no problem, it should be a thrill even to work together
with people from other countries on a particular thing, and later with
others on something else.... will be great!!

> > The only discussion-item needed would be "we don't need a power-structure
> > to control us", and "if you think that is needed, get to it".
> I object against the word "control". We need a structure to coordinate our
> efforts. So "coordinate" is the proper term.

ok, coordinate...

> > Would shure free up a lot of energy if you ask me :). Logo? take your
> > pick for that T-shirt/web-page/letter-head/*, we got several of them!
> Sure, you could do that. But the impact is much stronger, if people
> demonstrating for free software in Spain would wear exactly the same
> T-shirts on TV as people in the UK and in France. Don't you think so? It's
> again this: You're not alone, you're only one of a huge community. This
> message must come across, because then it is obvious, that you cannot be
> ignored.

I disagree totally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It would just seem to be a uniform bunch of sad teenagers wanting to `belong'.
If everybody has different T-shirt's in different colors and drawings/pictures,
like some explosion of creativity... THAT will impress the people... not some
uniform gray mass of nobodies....

> > Influence politics?
> > yeah, here are some prints you can put on T-shirts and sell at the
> > mall/*... make shure you choose high-quality shirts, we don't people getting
> > the wrong ideas...
> Make sure you sell the same T-shirts everywhere in Europe. That would surely

I think not.

> impress quite a lot of people. By the way: Anybody volunteers to check about
> T-shirts? I think, that is a really good idea.
> > And about talking to the press: I have my doubts about the effectiveness
> > of that. What are they going to report. T-shirts and free cd to schools
> > is going to do a hell of a lot more if you ask me!
> Only if the teachers have read about it in the press, they will give it a
> try. Otherwise they will most likely just throw the CDs in the next bin.
> Give it a try: Burn some Debian CDs and send them to some schools local to
> where you live. See, what the reaction is like. You will then agree, that
> good contacts to the press are important. And again, this can only be
> achieved, if you are not an individual, but a representative of a larger
> group.
> Bye,
> Marc

I disagree, I think the media will have little to no impact. This might
seem strange, but these media-types don't give a damn about Linux, and
on a slow day they are just going to write it all sucks big time because
they think it is controversial to say.


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