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A Look Back At 10 Years of OSI 73

Posted by kdawson
from the against-crises-of-succession dept.
blackbearnh notes that this week marks the 10th anniversary of the Open Source Initiative. He points us to O'Reilly's ONLamp site, where Federico Biancuzzi (who frequently interviews notables in the Open Source community for O'Reilly) has a collection of interviews with some of the founders of the OSI, including Bruce Perens and Eric Raymond. "Eric Raymond: There is a pattern that one sees over and over again in failed political and religious reform movements. A charismatic founder launches the movement, attracts followers, and enjoys significant successes; then he dies or leaves or attempts to name a successor, and the movement disintegrates rapidly. One of the classic, much-studied cases is that of John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Community, 1848-1881. It was especially clear in that case that its succession crisis and eventual collapse was due to over-reliance on Noyes's personal leadership. At the time I co-founded OSI in 1998 I judged that FSF would very likely undergo a similar crackup if it lost RMS, and was determined to avoid that if possible for OSI."
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A Look Back At 10 Years of OSI

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  • by kneecap (4947) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:04PM (#22398314)
    Isn't OSI, the network layer model everyone had too learn in their networking class?
  • Re:Irony? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moderatorrater (1095745) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:25PM (#22398676)
    I find it more ironic that he feared the failure of FSF if it lost its greatest liability. As much as I can see RMS's points, and as much as I know that he's a decent programmer, he's gone out of his way to look like he's a crackpot. If RMS had been my first introduction to free software, I would have run the other way.
  • Re:Irony? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:41PM (#22398912) Journal
    That's not irony, that's revisionist history. ESR's always talked big, and even when he shoots himself in the foot, he finds a way to spin it in his favor.
  • by Digi-John (692918) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:41PM (#22398916) Journal
    I read that article a couple days ago. I like how ESR kinda makes himself out to be some sort of puppetmaster, pulling strings and performing delicate feats of social engineering to singlehandedly bring about the current state of affairs.
  • by epine (68316) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:27AM (#22402448)

    Geeks might think it's funny, but if someone who didn't know about the FSF and RMS walked in, they'd just think, "Who is this tosser?"

    I was thinking about this aspect of human nature at my favorite coffee shop yesterday. The curious aspect of this is our ingrained tendency to admire (or mentally confer social status toward) the kind of person who takes one look at something like this, and makes the snap "loser" judgment. There is in practice no social approbation for the fact that this snap social judgment might be wrong, or that making this snap social judgment is a talentless act (the average nine year old does it six times before recess).

    The tried and true human strategy is this: if you haven't got a clue, enforce conformity. That never gets you into any significant trouble.

    This is a lesson we learn somewhere in our preschool / elementary school years, and then in puberty the lesson is reinforced with a pile driver of social derision.

    There was a new girl who showed up in my grade six year. She had been in an accident with some boiling water. Her entire lower face below the nose was hideously disfigured. This was back in the era of the Jackson Five. Back then, you couldn't alter your hideous disfigurement with a new one. By that age I had spent some time in a children's hospital, down the hall from the burn unit. I wasn't inclined to laugh. Nor was the rest of my class for the first two months: they were too freaked out by the red and pink planetscape of moonbuggy skin folds. The girl was in heaven. Within a few weeks, she had convinced herself this school was different.

    Not for long. Soon the pre-adolescent piranhas gathered their nerve. The burned girl made the rest of us uncomfortable, she deserved to suffer. Not only was she taunted, but anyone who spoke a nice word to her risked incarceration in their hallway locker.

    These are the same people who grew up to become the adults who make these snap judgments about RMS's peculiarities.

    So there I am in back in grade six, horrified by my membership in the human race. Not a good omen for my own future popularity, either. I was developing the illness known as "writer".

    I don't have much respect for the kind of social security one obtains by having an unfailing instinct for whom to ridicule next. That's my choice, I know the world will never conform. What shocks me is the implicit justification of this behaviour when people put forward assertions that RMS's kooky behaviour is a liability. If I were RMS, I wouldn't have much use for these people of low investment and lightning derision, either.

    What would actually happen if we rounded all these people up and blasted them into space on Arc B? How would human civilization fail if deprived of lightening derision? What essential element of human social cohesion would immediately fail us?

    I have a suspicion it's a self-populating niche. Remove the worst offenders, those who remain will quickly spill into the vacant niche. Maybe we're *all* wired for asshole ascendency, and at any given time, those of us deprived of the social advantage of asshole in residence make chicken salad out of chicken shit proclaiming our virtuous forbearance. It's not as if you can read the lkml and not detect the agents of conformity bridling to assume power. The more extreme a group of non-conformists styles themselves, the more debate rages over their code of conduct.

    I think because the harsh lessons on conformity are first learned at the elementary school age, the lessons enter the mind as inviolate rules of the universe. We acquire these lessons before we acquire the capacity to reflect upon them.

    Here's a piece that ran at aldaily recently: What the New Atheists Don't See [city-journal.org]. I have no idea if this article is any good, I just looked long enough to see that it mentions all the neo-atheist books that have been in the news lately. Children acquire rel

  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @07:18PM (#22413024) Homepage
    I used to care what people said in slashdot comments. Now, what isn't trolling is just plain stupid.

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