[conspire] first post in a while

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Jun 26 17:13:24 PDT 2007

Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at gmail.com):

> What do you think?

I think that anyone in an ambassadorial position should err on the side
of diplomacy.  This point is much on my mind because I've recently been
an American abroad, at a time when the USA's reputation abroad is in a
parlous state and in need of help, which I attempted to do by being on
my best behaviour, especially when I encountered citizens of hostile
nations -- but the analogous point also applies to Linux users:  We
should err on the side of being civilised, in dealings with outsiders
and in particular towards employees of business-world opponents.

Why, you might ask.  How many reasons do you need?  There are surely

One of them is:  Did you really think haranguing a Microsoft employee
about his professional status supposedly being immoral was likely to
convince him to hand in a resignation letter, the following Monday
morning?  Isn't it rather a great deal more likely you merely managed to
come across as boorish, presumptuous, ideologically predictable, and
sadly lacking in tactical judgement?

And, for gosh sakes, didn't anyone ever teach you the art of the _soft_

> On the other hand, it is not always rude to question the goals and
> aims of a person's employer and to encourage them to consider other
> alternatives.

The way you (plural) did it, and the place you did it, were
inappropriate and left a rather bad impression -- on me, as well as on
your interlocutor.  Remember, my house during CABAL meetings isn't just
a LUG meeting location:  It is also a place at which I extend my
household's hospitality to strangers -- to all people of goodwill, without
discrimination on grounds of their employers.  I feel that my
household's hospitality was somewhat inpaired by several attendees' 
treatment of that gentleman.  This is also why I sometimes ask Ross and
some other regulars to curtail their protracted ranting about US
politics; because I want people of all political persuasions to feel
equally welcome at CABAL meetings -- and whether I share Ross's politics
or not is irrelevant to the question.

I wish for employees of all firms without exception to be treated equally
well at CABAL meetings held at my house, for pretty much the same reason.

> I had never considered Microsoft a "major" publisher of FOSS code.
> Maybe I was wrong.  But I don't think so.

Services for Unix, which Microsoft (formerly Softway Systems) maintains,
includes the GNU core utilities, the entire GNU toolchain, bash, sed,
awk, grep, etc., implementing what most people would call a complete
POSIX.1 subsystem.  A former Softway System insider recounts[1] that the
toolkit comprised

  "all manner of free and open source software.  We had 300+ utilities
  and libraries in the product covered by 20+ different licenses,
  ranging from the GPL, MIT Athena, BSD, and Sun licenses (ONC RPC code)
  to some more esoteric home grown licenses, to some true public domain
  code.  (We shipped a derivative of the Public Domain Korn Shell, pdksh.)"

Is that major enough for you?

[1] http://stephesblog.blogs.com/my_weblog/2006/06/time_to_market_.html

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