Re: Thanks, and a Brief Survey

On 1/15/10 1:22 PM, "Owen Taylor" <otaylor redhat com> wrote:
>> I think you may be reading quite a bit more into this than I'd intended. Do
>> you have an objection to the questions in the survey simply being _asked_,
>> Owen...?
> It's very hard not to take the survey as a continuation of the recent
> discussions on this list, which I felt at the time to be highly
> unproductive. It was long and acrimonious discussion largely about
> changes to policy that hadn't actually been proposed.

That may be, but I can only encourage try not to take it in that fashion.

> I don't think I'm at all alone in taking the survey that way. The
> purpose of the survey seems to be to collect data to support (or
> possibly refute) your position.

I have an _opinion_, but since the other matter was, in fact, fairly
well-settled by the editors, I'm not staking out any "position" here.

Assertions were made which I don't personally happen to believe are actually
the case. My goal with this survey is to test my hypothesis. If people feel
that reporting the results would be unhelpful here, I certainly won't report
them. I find them quite interesting, myself.

> I also feel that the survey is quite flawed, and after going through
> most of it decided not to submit my answers because by submitting it I
> would be misrepresenting my opinion on proprietary software.

I'd be interested in knowing how a less "flawed" survey to get some concrete
data on these issues would be constructed. I got feedback in comments that
an "Other" was needed on the "illegitimate"/"immoral"/"antisocial"
questions, so I added one.

> Imagine that somebody wrote an article based on the results of your
> survey. The results would show that:
>  Many "FOSS" developers don't consider proprietary software
>    immoral, or illegitimate.
>  Many "FOSS" developers sometimes use proprietary software.

All I've pointed out so far is that, apparently, many "FOSS" _users_ also
use proprietary software, by choice. I've done no cross-tabulations on
"developers", and I won't for a while yet.

Now, if in fact, the survey _were_ to show that, say, many FOSS developers
actually _don't_ consider proprietary software to be "immoral" and use it by
choice, that's significant, I'd say. Facts are facts. If they're
_inconvenient_ facts, I can't really help that, but to proffer fictions
instead is simply deceitful.

You would seem to be suggesting here that I should not conduct the survey
for fear someone might report the results. I may be misunderstanding you.

> And in fact I'd up in both of those categories. And somebody reading the
> article would get the impression that "FOSS" developers don't think
> there is a moral dimension to Free Software. Yet I strongly believe:
>  - That picking Free Software over proprietary software is the right
>    thing to do even when there is a cost to me such as less
>    functionality.
>  - That a world where a task can't be done with Free Software is a
>    worse world.

Then you can choose "Other" and say precisely that.

> And that wouldn't be represented at all.

See immediately above. Problem solved. Go; be represented, please.

> In that way, it felt a bit like
> the sort of surveys you see taken by political action groups with an
> agenda. That may well not have been your intent - but I think we have to
> be aware that survey construction is hard, and the very construction of
> a survey and reporting of survey results is not a neutral activity; it's
> a form of public relations.

Again, I'm open to suggestions as to how it could be improved; none have
been forthcoming here. If the suggestion is, "Don't _do_ that!", then I'm
afraid I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request.

> And none of us can escape the fact that by being a GNOME member, by
> speaking on GNOME forums like foundation-list and, and
> by being part of GNOME bodies, whether the sysadmin team, or the
> advisory board, we speak as part of GNOME.

I speak as "part of GNOME", perhaps, but I don't speak _for_ GNOME. The
distinction is critically important. "Speaking _for_ GNOME" is a job for
Stormy and the Board, and those to whom they might choose to delegate that
responsibility. My opinions don't reflect the views of anyone other than

The notion that one should have to change or hide one's own opinions because
one is "speaking as part of GNOME" seems to me to run directly counter to
the goal of GNOME to encompass a diversity of views, approaches and

> That doesn't mean self-censorship, but it does mean that we have to
> watch what sort of conversation we are part of, and whether they are
> productive, or entertaining at the cost of being damaging to GNOME's
> image.

I have to disagree, Owen. If the conversation does not run afoul of the Code
of Conduct, then that's all that's required as far as I'm concerned.
Anything beyond that _is_ "self-censorship".

If you feel someone?and that includes me?is "damaging GNOME's image", you
should take it up with the Board and either get the situation corrected, or
have them removed as a member.

> Here, if there are specific changes that you think should be made
> to GNOME's policies, I think those should be the things we should be
> discussing, rather than abstract attitudes toward proprietary software.

I've tried to make it clear, the goal of this survey does not have anything
to do with GNOME, versus KDE, the FSF, the Vatican or any other group or

If I have specific changes that I believe should be made to GNOME's
policies, I'll suggest them directly.

I'm a fairly direct guy.

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]