What's Canonical thinking about Bazaar?

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Thu Nov 12 06:59:37 GMT 2009

Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn writes:
 > On Wednesday, 2009-11-11, at 20:43 , Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
 > > "Good faith" and "bad faith" are objectively measurable, according  
 > > to whether (1) promises are kept, and (2) whether certain  
 > > information relevant to a negotiation is honestly and fully revealed.
 > Perhaps I should have tried to find a less incendiary phrase than  
 > "bad faith".

It's not a problem of flammability.  It's problem of accuracy.

Unfortunately, because the poster child of the free software movement
is a fellow who plays fast and loose with such terms ("Eric Raymond is
a backslider" and "Dmitri Sklyarov is a traitor"?!), free software
advocates must shoulder a substantial burden of accuracy here.

 > Martin cited the open-sourcing of launchpad as an example of
 > Canonical demonstrating "good faith" [but ...]  I did have the
 > strong feeling that the effect of the launchpad saga was the
 > opposite of what he was claiming -- that it had made some of the
 > people who love Free/Open Source software less confident in
 > Canonical's commitment to open source rather than more.

That says a lot more about the free software advocates' lack of
understanding of diversity than it does about Canonical's intentions.
(Open source advocates are more pragmatic.)

Canonical may want to care about this, but if so it's simply a
defensive reaction to a single-issue lobby.

 > I'm not sure how to express pithily this quality that I'm thinking
 > of -- "the degree to which members of the open source community
 > assume that a company will do 'the right thing' with regard to open
 > source".  Whoops, see?  There I go again using value-laden words
 > like "the right thing".

And you *should* use value-laden words.  The free software movement,
as defined by RMS, is *purely* a movement about values.  The open
source movement happily acknowledges that open source is more free,
fun, socially beneficial, etc, etc (all purely value-laden) while also
insisting that the economic (ie, financial) benefits should be
considered, and using those economic benefits as an argument to get
companies to open source their products, which is typically quite
costly for the more complex (and attractive to the open source user!) 

So, to riff on a phrase of Gordon Gecko, "values are good".  But
"honesty" is a pretty universal value; claims of "bad faith" are thus
quite strong and condemnatory.  Software freedom is much less
universally valued.  Thus "we don't want to play with kids who don't
share our values, specifically, the primacy of software freedom in all
software development activity" would be the honest thing to say.

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