shameful censoring of mono opposition

Andrew Sayers andrew-ubuntu-devel at
Wed Jun 10 06:48:17 UTC 2009

Hi Mark,

I think I understand now why you and the list have been butting heads so 
much.  I'd like to present my theory, then explain how you can be more 
productive in advocating to developers.

At a Fortune 500 company, I would expect that advocacy is very political 
- it's important to create (the perception of) a group of "winners" that 
do what you want, and a group of "losers" that don't.  Competition, and 
fear of losing out, are very strong incentives for people in those 
organisations - if they didn't want to win, they wouldn't be in the 
Fortune 500.

Among open source developers, advocacy needs to be much more logical - 
it's important to explain how doing what you want achieves the 
developer's goals.  "Scratching an itch" is widely recognised as the 
most common incentive for open source developers, and any talk that 
doesn't help them scratch their personal itch isn't productive.

Telling open source developers that they should want to scratch a 
different itch won't work.  It's like telling people they should be 
attracted to a different gender, or should have a different taste in 
music - you don't get to choose what your interests are.

Talking about "winning" and "losing" also won't work.  Open source is 
just coming out of a stage where you had to join the losing team in 
order to get in.  In a few years, you might start to see developers 
appear that wanted to join the winning team, but right now anyone that's 
been around long enough to be really effective is for OSS whether it 
wins or loses.

Finally, creating rifts between groups won't work.  Development is about 
sharing a bad idea around until it becomes good, so people that like to 
blacklist those with bad ideas generally don't become developers.

Put simply, Fortune 500 advocacy is like Fortune 500 business - 
confident, aggressive, and victorious.  OSS developer advocacy is like 
OSS development - methodical, inclusive, and accurate.

I discussed a specific model elsewhere[1] that could be used for 
advocacy.  It boils down to stating your premise, explaining your 
reasoning, then arriving at a conclusion.  I recommend you try it out, 
as it will work much better around here.

	- Andrew


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