Logo timeline

Marc Eberhard m.a.eberhard at aston.ac.uk
Wed May 9 13:02:42 UTC 2001

Hi Jos!

On Wed, May 09, 2001 at 11:05:55AM +0200, josX wrote:
> 1. Power to talk to the press, attention, spotlight.

You have the same power as the FSFE to address the press. If they are more
successful, then only because they put more effort into it. If you wanted
to, you could achieve the same.

> 2. Collecting donations

You can do that too. Again, if the FSFE is more efficient in collecting
donations, that's because they work harder on it.

> 3. Working together with companies, sponsorships, all kinds of deals.

Same as the previous points. Nobody keeps you from doing that yourself, if
you want to do so.

So im summary, the FSFE doesn't have more power in this respect then each

> > If the core team members would list the
> > amount of money, that they have spent so far for creating the FSFE, you
> > would be surprised. I bet with you, that they spent a lot of their own
> It's called investment. First you pay a little, than the big bucks are
> roling in. Not very difficult to get into the loop once the money starts
> rolling (see above about which money).

I doubt so. That's not the normal way donations are made. Most companies
sponsor a project, e.g. by paying programmers to fix bugs or add features.
The FSFE can help to coordinate such contacts, but it won't make the big
money out of it. In any case, if possible, it would be good to keep the
finances of the FSFE as open as possible. Maybe even on the web pages?
Otherwise arguments like Jos' will come up again and again. I think, it is
right to ask for transparency here, because the whole money issue is a very
sensible point for many hackers, who donate their free time for free
software projects. I expect the FSFE to cost the members quite a lot of
money and if they ever receive more money then their expenses, they will
surely invest it into the development of free software and not fill their
own wallets. But yes, it would be good to be able to verify that.

> I am not afraid of that, but they will use the hackers as a /power-base/,
> not as the ones they aim at. It is the reason they can claim against
> companies for being legitemate in negotiations/deals: "we represent free
> software in europe". Companies like that: small groups that can be hold
> accountable and be manipulated.

I don't think, I understand your point here. The FSFE cannot use hackers,
because it doesn't have any control over them. It can only promote the
result of their work: Free software. And one of the reasons to form a
non-democratic organisation was exactly the fear of being manipulated. Thus
this danger has been taken into account when designing the FSFE. That's why
they talk so much about carefully choosing new members and building trust.

> 1. I see no point in trying to influence politics: it won't work, not 
>    now not ever.

That's your personal opinion. I do think, that politicians can be
influenced. Anyway, I would propose to wait, because we will see, who's
right in the end. Let's look at this question again in a few years.

> 2. There is no need to be non-democratic to achieve this.

Not for that, correct. And as far as I remember, nobody claimed that.

> How handy.... an independant Hotel "donating"...

> Don't you know /anything/ about bisnis? What about exposure, what about
> deals like "get some pictures of our hotel in the press-release, and you
> can stay there once in a while...".

Come on, be serious! Would you stay in a hotel, only because it has hosted a
meeting of the FSFE? The expenses of such an event would never be covered by
increased bookings. Never. And yes, I know a bit about the hotel buisiness.

> This is how the money game goes, and I see you are already sucked in
> (asuming for a minute that was not your aim, which I am /heavily/
> suspecting).

Well, since I'm working and earning my money in a completely different field
(doing research in theoretical physics and teaching students), I'm
definitely not "sucked into" anything. Somehow I suspect, that you cannot
understand, that there are really people around, that simply give something,
because they like the idea. You always suspect, there's something going on
in the background. Why are you so paranoid about these things? You cannot
get on without trusting somebody. What have the members of the FSFE done,
that you permanently suspect, they do something evil?

The difference between us is, that I do trust people until I see a
convincing proof, that they've done something wrong. This is not my own
principal, but one of the most important issues in all our laws. Never
condemn somebody before you can really proof it. Yes, I do carefully monitor
all news about the FSFE. And I surely wouldn't support them, if I were
suspicious something evil would be going on. But at the moment, I do not see
anything suspicious at all. Remember, we're not talking about potential or
hypothetical things, that might happen or not. If you want to accuse the
FSFE of something, then you need to prove it with facts.

> Possibly same for the LUG, dunno. And if this is an exception.... sorry,
> this is the way these things go, and it fits it like a glove on a hand.

Tell you what, when I was living in Duesseldorf some time ago, the LUG from
Duesseldorf met in a normal pub. It was loud, the air was bad and you had to
shout at each other to be able to understand a word. There was no equipment
to demonstrate something (like a beamer to project a screen). And I've been
once to one of the evenings at the Villa Vogelsang. It made a huge
difference. You could talk with the people. You could ask a question to
everyone. They have a room there with a beamer. They can show you things.
Yes, I definitely prefered that surrounding to the pub. This has nothing to
do with money or some kind of advertisment. I just hated it, to have to wash
all my clothes and my hair when coming home, because they were smelling
terrible. Nothing else. And I really don't see, what's wrong with that.

> No, they belong in part already to the Hotel.
> Are you crazy/blind !?!

Surely not. The LUG can decide at any time to meet somewhere else. As can
the FSFE. And I don't think, that I'm blind or crazy.

> > > Don't think you can kid everyone.
> > They just want to kid politicians. 
> It won't work, because the only one to kid them, is becoming them. You
> succeed good at that, yes.

Please stop your personal attacks. I really try hard to understand your
point of view. And I think, that you have made a few really good
suggestions. There's no need to become personal. Really. And as I wrote
earlier, I do believe, that you can influence politicians. And I'm sure,
that you can only convince them, if you do not convert into one of them.

> Georg wrote:
> > The FSF Europe has the vision to not just hack a few lines of code
> > today, we want to fundamentally change things and make sure free
> > software will prosper on the long-term scale. This requires thinking
> > in 30-year perspectives.
> And that's why I am afraid of you.
> You are a trojan horse. Well, you are not in the city yet....(I hope).

Why is this scaring you? Isn't it what you want to see too? Free software
available now and still in 30 years? What's wrong here?

> I wrote:
> > Indeed a very good point. Jos, please tell us a bit more about yourself and
> > what you've done so far for the free software community as a whole. Which
> > "actions" have you taken so far?
> Does it matter for the things at hand?

Yes, it does. The bigger your contribution is, the more respect you can
expect from others. Please read carefully, I'm talking of "respect" not
power, domination or anything else.

> This is the adress of my website: http://www.xs4all.nl/~joshb

Thanks. I can see now, that you have contributed quite a few small pieces of
code. What about getting involved by translating some FSFE pages to Dutch in
addition to the manual pages? Why not?

> I showed the pictures to my brother (who is unaware of anything btw) because
> he is good at sniffing out things by seeing the physical appearance, and
> he said "They look like bisnis-man, very relaxed and discussing something
> seriously. They don't look like old hackes with long beards but that may
> be an old idea... . They don't look like criminals".

So? Everyone dressed smart is a buisiness man for you? Discussing something
relaxed and seriously is clearly not buisiness man like. If they meet, they
produce a lot of hectic and the athmosphere is everything else then relaxed.

> Why are you positioning yourself as being managers/politicians. Why can't
> you simply be like we all are. You are /not/ going to influence politics
> one iota, they are going to eat you whole wheter you like it or not, but
> I even suspect you'll love it because you can't possibly be that stupid.

Or is there maybe another reason for it?


email: marc at greenie.net
email: m.a.eberhard at aston.ac.uk, web: http://www.aston.ac.uk/~eberhama/

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