|FROM ||Bruce Perens
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [hangout] MS cancels "Shiftpoint" forum; Response to Dave Williams
MS and Lessig both say the Shiftpoint forum really is being rescheduled.
> No one questions your participation in the Open Source and Free Software
> movements in the past.
Rather than just in the past, I am still creating benefit for the
community on a daily basis. Hopefully, that's what you mean to
> Likewise, no one doubts that you have gained personally from your
> participation, as demonstrated by your public profile.
I have done well by doing good. And doing well is making a reasonable
income, not getting rich in any way. I paid for my home with proceeds
from Pixar, not anything to do with free software. I don't have any
significant wealth other than that.
> But you still haven't answered the question of why there will be
> Microsoft and Software Choice Initiative presentations at the eGovOS
Because I, as a leader of the free software community, think this is the
right tactic to get the maximum benefit from the conference. I want to
show that we aren't afraid of what MS has to say, and that our arguments
stand on their own with Microsoft in the room.
> As a member of the Cyber Policy Institute creating the event (as well as
> the OSI), you are accountable for these choices.
Just FYI: Neither CSPRI nor OSI pay me. If we are talking _legal_
accountability, there is some regarding funds and disposition of
assets of OSI. There is not any legal accountability in connection
with CSPRI as far as I can tell. But I think you are really speaking
of ethical accountability.
As far as ethical accountability is concerned, I am willing to stand up
before the scrutiny of the community and defend this decision. Not all of
them agree with you.
> Based on the conference's definitions and requirements there
> is no substantial justification for these presentations, and the
> possibility of harm is arguable enough to be considered.
OK. So I still don't believe there's any ethical fault in inviting MS
and CompTIA to make two out of 100+ speeches.
I believe the general message in favor of the free software community is
improved by the perception that we aren't afraid to let those folks speak.
These seem to be the points upon which we differ.
> An OS advocacy and demonstration event is about Open Source Software,
> something you yourself defined.
I agree that those two particular talks won't be advocacy of free
software or open source.
In addition, I think a lot of the other talks are not advocacy.
A lot of the folks will be talking about how they use OS and what
their experiences are - both in using it and in dealing with their
particular political climate in getting it deployed. I would expect
that many of them will be coming from a "pragmatic" or analytical
stance and will report rather than advocate.
In addition, I expect some talk about failures of free software to do a
particular job for a particular user, and warnings to others that some
field isn't a good application for us yet. These may end up being the
opposite of advocacy.
So, I don't think we can classify this as an advocacy event. Is it a
debate? No. Is it a scientific conference? In a way, but we haven't
been really careful about peer review, etc. Is it a bunch of people
getting together and sharing their experiences and thinking about the
topic? Yes. Are there formal rules about the structure of such a thing?
Next, you'd go on to whether the organizers are in general credible
on the topic. Much as you may disagree with Tony about a few tactics,
he is still generally credible about the use of free software in
government. On the other hand, I don't see that Microsoft has any
credibility in putting on its Shiftpoint forum.
> If this isn't an OS Advocacy event please rename it.
I don't see that it's being promoted as an advocacy event.
> clarify that fact in the conference literature.
What part of the conference literature do you object to?
> The other day you wrote that the ability to admit one's mistakes is a
> good quality (regarding the tuxedo website). If you don't believe you
> have made an error in judgment, at least accept the possibility of
Well, I've been discussing this with you folks for quite a long time, so
wouldn't you think that I've admitted the possibility of dissent? When I
see that there's a mistake, I'll admit one. You still haven't convinced me.
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