☞ Fighting For Freedom

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3 Responses

  1. You don’t have to like IIPA, but you should be emulating them because they’re focused and organized, and they’re probably effective.

    The “Time to Rebut the IIPA’s FUD Against Open Source” piece got my blood boiling, and not so much at the bad guys. They doubtless are a typical Washington lobby/interest group, staffed by professionals who move from group to group and have little interest in the underlying issues. What fired me up was the apparent lack of response in the open source community, and the tendency to substitute outrage and name-calling for a serious understanding of how the system works.

    “It is time for community organisations like OSI to take the lead in speaking up for open source, and for national organisations, such as Open Source for America, to take action with their governments. This assault on decency has gone on for long enough.” No offense, but that’s a call for someone else to do something about this problem.

    A call to action is giving people a link to their elected representatives and telling them to call/write/email/tweet and complain about this. (There’s a useful too for that here: http://www.house.gov/zip/ZIP2Rep.html) It’s suggesting pieces of legislation that your corporate friends (and you do have them, whether you want to admit it or not) should be lobbying for or against themselves. It’s clothing the arguments in terms that serious people who don’t see open source as a moral issue will understand: competition, job creation, that sort of thing. It’s making yourself heard.

    I heard or read a comment from someone that it was “Grimma Wormtongue” stuff to do lobbying. Whatever. That’s how it works. You don’t have to play the whole game, but you do need to adapt at least a little or you’re going to let other people set the agenda for you forever. That doesn’t work in technology, and it doesn’t work in politics. There is no Gandalf waiting in the wings to sweep in and solve your problems.

    Open source has gotten some good momentum the last couple of years, but if the community doesn’t take it seriously enough to fight for it in ways that people who make decisions notice, that’s going to fade.

    • No offense, but that’s a call for someone else to do something about this problem.

      Actually I’m not. I am an observer at OSI and discussed the topic with the Board at their face-to-face meeting in Raleigh last weekend, leading to them making a public statement on Thursday denouncing IIPA. I am also on the Advisory Board of Open Source for America and have been working with them to prepare a statement which I hope will appear early next week.

      A call to action is giving people a link to their elected representatives and telling them to call/write/email/tweet and complain about this.

      Usually I get criticised for doing that too much, so it’s strangely refreshing being criticised for not doing it 🙂

      Open source has gotten some good momentum the last couple of years, but if the community doesn’t take it seriously enough to fight for it in ways that people who make decisions notice, that’s going to fade.

      That I agree with completely. My personal action in that regard involves trying to get OSI back online as an effective organisation, focussed and organised – like IIPA, but with freedom rather than slavery in mind.

      • All fair points, and I wish you the best of luck in trying to help those changes along in the organizations you were talking about. That can be tough sledding in the best of times.

        It seems to me that the people who contribute so much, who could build the Linux kernel for instance, should get past the name calling and defensiveness and generate a little more cohesive effort on behalf of their passion. Don’t get me wrong — I’m happy to fling a little verbal monkey poo with the best of them. While it can be satisfying, the problem is it’s not a strategy. There should be room for a more constructive, proactive approach.

        Will have to think on that. Again, good luck. You have a fascinating, multifaceted site here.

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