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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Just a Minute

From: Martyn Ranyard
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Just a Minute
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 17:18:41 +0100

At 05:14 PM 4/15/02 +0100, Martin Coxall wrote:

> Learn some manners and common decency. Do you seriously think ANYONE will
> be prepared to take notes next time there is a meeting if you continue to
> berate the ones I did in such an aggressive and unpleasant way?

Frankly, I would rather there were no minutes at all, rather than
inaccurate, airbrushed minutes with some undisclosed agenda which
neglect to mention any signs of dissent. Wouldn't you?

Not on your life - if members who weren't there had no minutes, then the organisation crumbles - Fail to inform people, and they will become disheartened/detatched. Minutes are a necessary evil, and if you feel that the person taking the minutes hasn't done justice, then you should start out saying how you saw it - which was not how this debate got started.

The suggestion that you shouldn't criticise someone for doing a bad job
lest it be a disincentive for them to do an equally bad job in the
future strikes me as a ludicrous one. Perhaps you'd care to elaborate on
the logic?

The logic may not be obvious, but it holds - such personal attack on the minute writer rather than on the minutes is not what gets results, it's what sends people running.

At 05:10 PM 4/15/02 +0100, he also wrote:
Let's try "inaccurate" then. I don't think we can or should seek to
advance free software in vacuum. We should seek to defend freedom and
thus allow free software to flourish.

AFFS is an organisation that's main focus has to be on Free Software - anything else and it's whole basis for being formed is undermined. Maybe you should set up AFFUK (Association For Freedom in the UK), but attempting to start such an abstract group and actually get members is a mammoth task.

That's a fallacy of the undistributed middle. By being pro-freedom, we
are for free software. *However* being for free software doesn't mean
that we should have some limited aim of "advancing free software" whilst
ignoring the wider issues of freedom.

Quite right - we should have a stance on things outside of software, but with the name of the organisation, we shouldn't be shifting our focus too far from software.

> Of course there are; the current conflict in the Middle East is a
> shining example.

Making spurious statements like that isn't helpful. As I said, we are
talking about fighting for freedom from corporate and government
oppression. If we succeed, free software will flourish as a side effect.

Neither is it helpful to pick at points. Occationally people have to let things lie.

> In the context of AFFS, though, there isn't. It exists to promote Free
> Software. For the committee to do otherwise would be to cheat the
> membership.

Really? "Exists to promote free software" is again vague and inaccurate.
If the constitution says this, I think it should be removed.

As the organisation name stands, it is the perfect thing to have _IN_ the constitution.

I think to ignore these real threats to freedom, whilst indulging in
some narrow-minded obsessing about whether St Neots school in Plympton
is using Evolution or Outlook would be a gross treachery to the entire
Free Software movement.

I don't think anyone want's to ignore freedom, but if the children of Plympton is using Free Software, it helps the cause of Free Software

And yet, since we don't yet have a membership to speak of, now would be
a good time to decide exactly these things.

I think that the name does not allow us to shift away from the focus we had already discussed on list. It appears too late to shift so radically, as I think we would lose a number of those "few members" that we have worked so hard to get together.

> > You really should have been there on Saturday, then maybe we could have
> > had this discussion properly.

Not everyone has the resources or ability to travel to all meetings (250 miles in my case).

> Well, I'm usually available in London if people want to talk to me. I'm
> also available off-list. But I don't think this is an on-topic
> discussion for address@hidden, unless I've misinterpreted you?

What? This entire discussion is about as on-topic as it gets. I think
you must have misinterperted me.

Both valid points - the FSF-Europe is, as AFFS is, focussed on software, so in that respect it could be deemed off topic, it certainly would be for @affs.org, however it is about freedom, and therefore does affect free software.

Martyn Ranyard
Free Software Advocate

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