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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Just a Minute

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Just a Minute
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 15:05:23 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.27i

On Mon, Apr 15, 2002 at 02:08:22PM +0100, Martin Coxall wrote:
> > I WAS at Saturday's meeting (if you look at the list of those present, my
> > name is there). I guess I am "the secretary" you refer to above, in that I
> Then you have no excuse. The minutes do not come even close to
> representing the basic thrust of the meeting and you know it.

Okay, hold up, let's call time out here.

Firstly, I feel partly responsible for this - I apologise for not attending,
personal circumstances not withstanding I wish I did - had I been present, I
would have been prepared to take a more formal approach to the minuting.
Thankfully, others stepped into the gap and took informal minutes without
much preparation. If other people could also provide their notes, then all
the better.

Okay, let's take a look at things. Some people take a different approach to
things than others. Personally, and you're going to find out about my
political background here ;), I've been an active member of a number of
direct action groups and tend to see things from that point of view.
However, others will have a completely different point of view and be more
interested in consensus building, letter writing, etc. rather than direct
lobbying. Writing your MP is fundamentally different from reclaiming the

People also have different beliefs. People think progressing Free Software
is best done by talking business with business people. Others think it's
more of a marketing campaign. Others still think that it's an unstoppable
ground swell which will overcome people anyway.

Is there only one way of accomplishing tasks? Probably not. How do we tell
people about Free Software? Well, a marketing campaign is useful - for all
it's problems, Open Source has been pretty successful (perhaps too
successful). But, getting magazines published and in WH Smiths is also
importants. As is going to conferences/expos and showing people Free
Software. Same about patents, Free Software in education, etc. 

In the same way there are many solutions, people are going to want AFFS to
focus around certain solutions. AFFS can attack things in a number of ways,
and there will always be argument about what is the best way of doing things
and what is the important angle of attack, and what is unimportant. We're
never going to come to consensus about is completely. But, AFFS doesn't only
have to do things "one way" - we can run lots of campaigns/programmes/etc.
all designed to achieve the same goal - they're complementary.

AFFS is pro-Free Software. That's the 'big' goal, the advancement of Free
Software. Anything else is almost incidental strategy ;), tactics. For
example, the patent issue. AFFS should definitely be anti-software
patenting, and furthering the cause of Free Software means that AFFS needs
to actively tell people about the problems associated with software patents.
If, as a tactic, it's not effective for AFFS to take the lead, then that's a
strategic decision almost. But there's no reason why AFFS can't run it's own
campaign, and also support the campaigns of others (who aren't necessarily
Free Software-oriented organisations). We can attack things in a number of

So, if stuff needs to be discussed further, then let's do it. If someone
suggests specific actions that can be taken, we can do that too. Let's not
rule out paperwork in the name of bureaucracy, and let's not rule out action
in the name of consensus. The present committee (myself included) are little
more than a junta at this stage anyway. The voices being heard at the moment
aren't being censored or moderated, but given the hubub perhaps people
sometimes need to speak up if they want to be heard.



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