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Re: to what extent is the gnu project philosophical?

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: to what extent is the gnu project philosophical?
Date: Sun, 03 Nov 2019 17:07:59 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.3 (gnu/linux)

Hi Jason,

Jason Self <> skribis:

> This has been one benefit to the GNU Project having the BDFL model, as
> some other projects also have. There's been one person to keep the GNU
> Project on point with regard to these social, ethical, political, and
> moral issues rather than having them get stuck in committee to
> eventually settle on the lowest common denominator.
> There are a very small number of people in the world that I would
> consider to have an RMS-level of dedication to the social, ethical,
> political, and moral issues that he's been talking about all for all
> of these decades.
> Change the underlying foundation by changing out the leadership with
> other people with anything less than the very same level of dedication
> to those self-same issues and you change everything the GNU Project is
> based on.

To what extent is the success of GNU, a project with thousands of
volunteers, due to the dedication of a single person?  Is there
something inherent to the computer user freedom struggle or to the
production of a free operating system that would prevent it from being
led by different people over time?

Isn’t the moral standing of an organization likely to be stronger if
it’s been incarnated by dozens of “leaders” over time than if it’s only
ever been embodied by a single person?

For GNU like for other activist organizations, I feel that the
organization is stronger if it entrusts more of its members with

You mention a “lowest common denominator” that people on a committee
would eventually consent to.  The social contract discussion is about
defining a lowest common denominator, but note that the lowest common
denominator doesn’t have to be “low”: we get to define how high our
standards should be.


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