[Linux-aus] [Fwd: Microsoft "Shared Source" Seminar details]

Arjen Lentz arjen at mysql.com
Tue Sep 23 13:26:02 UTC 2003

Hi David,

On Tue, 2003-09-23 at 10:03, David Lloyd wrote:
> I think we are going down the right path to get open source software acepted
> by those who matter. However, we have to take the path of ideas and beliefs
> as opposed to sheer power and demonstration thereof. 
> Whilst this pathway tends to lead to a more long-lasting solution, it takes
> a very, very long time. And I don't know whether we have the time.

Shoving something down people's throat is not the same as convincing
them. People don't always stand up against everything they don't like,
but they do tend to fight if people try the shoving angle. If you push
someone, there tends to be a counterforce (or just plain shoving back).

I would also note that the above is one of those arguments that gets
used by desperate governments for starting a war.... I'm not kidding, I
think the above is a VERY bad argument, one that we should not use.

I think we do have (or make!) time, and we need to adopt an active but
somewhat more patient and long term attitude towards our goals. The
people we want to convince will not be shoved.

As you already said yourself, the result will be better. Yes it'll take
longer, but at least it won't backfire. I think we can be our own
greatest enemy, and perhaps this is exactly what Microsoft hopes. Just
like we hope that Microsoft will keep shooting themselves in the foot,
as we see them become more militant about things....

> [1] And I foreshadow a future where information does become as scarce and as
>     valuable as oil, where Governments do go to war over information or the
>     lack thereof but I digress

Not an unreasonable fear. It could happen.

But I'll give you another example, that touches on politics and wars
again. Say there is a country with a nasty dictator who oppresses the
people. Of course everybody wants to see the nasty dictator gone,
democracy to flourish, and everybody to live happily ever after.

However, simply removing the dictator somehow and calling elections will
NOT make the country a democracy, or otherwise a nation viable to

The reason for this is social, psychological. It takes time for people
(collectively) to change their attitude towards things (I think it
applies to most things but the above is a nice "extreme" case).

Generally, it appears that the best solution (for long-term good
results) is to let things run their natural course, and people will in
due time resolve things internally. Then, when things happen, the events
of the day and the people are in sync, and it'll work.
Yes it's slow, and painful. Not at all nice to just "watch", right?
But you can help. There are always those who are faster, so you can help
them with their needs. Not by hyping up for instant revolution, but just
help with the little things that are also important.

I think this is all very much about long term vision, not revolution
tomorrow. Those who are ready will either come to us, or show eagerness
to listen.

I see this in the company I work for, too. We are on a long term track
and growing steadily (actually, exponentially ;-) but it's managable).
We don't try to push our product into places that aren't ready for it.
It would backfire in a very nasty way and even cause serious damage to
our future prospects.
A bit of risk is fine, for sure. Calculated little steps. No huge leaps
needed, as we'll get there anyway (and safely). Around 2006 or so I'll
be working for a 100mln$ company. I have little doubt about that ;-)

There's another nice thing... long term changes have the tendency of
being inevitable. They WILL happen, as it's a lot of little things that
add up to the big one. Tweaking bits does not fundamentally change the
Kinda like a freight train. It doesn't race but it won't stop, either.
It just makes steady progress. So, we should make our Open Source work
like a freight train! How's that for a quirky ending to this political
message ;-)

Arjen Lentz, Technical Writer, Trainer
Brisbane, QLD Australia
MySQL AB, www.mysql.com

Melbourne 1 December (5 days): Using & Managing MySQL Training
Training,Support,Licenses,T-shirts @ https://order.mysql.com/?marl

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