Re: [unrev-II] Leadership and licenses

From: Eugene Eric Kim (
Date: Tue Jun 13 2000 - 23:35:44 PDT

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "[unrev-II] Requirements, 0.9"

    On Tue, 13 Jun 2000, Paul Fernhout wrote:

    > I think SRI's current participation in the OHS/DKR effort is great. I
    > had been under the impression SRI was considering a major effort in the
    > OHS/DKR direction if they could figure out a way to make a commercial
    > venture / offering on top of the open source part. I don't begrudge them
    > that! That's what RedHat does. However, the interaction with profit and
    > other motives at the start creates an awkward situation (especially for
    > lurking third parties).

    I think it's a valid concern, and from interactions with others, I know
    that you're not the only person who feels this. You have to have faith in
    Doug here. He is very protective of this project, and SRI has promised to
    give him room. Also, from the perspective of someone who has interacted
    with the SRI people involved, I haven't felt any awkwardness regarding the
    situation, only appreciation that such smart people are contributing.

    > I feel it does. However, I thought the Bootstrap Alliance is a
    > non-profit, so there is an umbrella. Actually, I've known of non-profits
    > that go sour and it isn't pretty, but that's another story -- there is
    > always issues of leadership, control, and resources.

    For the record, you're right; Bootstrap Alliance is non-profit.

    > As far as the Sun server (past or now present), that probably does make
    > it slightly harder to consider non-Java alternatives (in my opinion),
    > but that may not be a very big deal (after all, you've got Zope on it
    > now).

    No it does not. My sense of the group right now is that most people are
    highly in favor of doing things in Python. In fact, as a result of this,
    I dropped an e-mail to Guido van Rossum, who expressed a lot of enthusiasm
    for what we're doing and a desire to contribute where possible.

    That doesn't mean we won't do things in Java. It just means that the fact
    that the BI server was donated by Sun has had no bearing on technical

    > Also, I think the code data structures would have inspirational value,
    > and translating current Augment repositories to a new format would
    > provide a ready technical challenge that might inspire some good work,
    > and roll forward Augment's history.

    Both good points. Doug did a demonstration of Augment at the last
    meeting, and has promised to do a presentation on the Augment data
    structures when he returns from his latest trip. Translating the current
    Augment repositories is also on the list of things to do. There is a
    bottleneck in this task, however, because only a few people have access to

    > Agreed, the negotiation cost with Boeing might outweigh the advantages.
    > However, consider -- if Doug can't get the rights to Augment because
    > Boeing considers it valuable Intellectual Property, that potentially
    > casts an IP shadow over related Bootstrap developments (i.e. the
    > potential for patent & copyright infringement implicit in the OHS/DKR
    > design).

    This is an important point that we need to consider.

    > OK. Thanks for clearing this up. One of the things that causes this
    > confusion is that it is not clear who speaks for Bootstrap or in what
    > capacity. I do appreciate that there are many people trying to do great
    > things.

    The only person who truly speaks for BI, in my opinion, is Doug. Take
    what anyone else says (including myself) with a grain of salt.

    > This wouldn't be an issue if we felt like a bunch of equal developers
    > around an open source fire, each with status proportional to
    > contributions. However, this is a corporate sponsored activity (Stanford
    > and BI) with various one-sided legal agreements ("permission to use")
    > which centralize power with the "official" institutions who own the
    > rights to the results. That is the legal reality -- stated intentions to
    > go open source aside (and Stanford has no such stated intentions).

    I don't agree with your associating the colloquium with the OHS
    project. The purpose of the Colloquium was not to develop the OHS. In
    fact, planning for the OHS started a few years before the
    Colloquium. Unless you consider BI a corporation, this is most definitely
    not a corporate-sponsored activity. And despite BI's legal status, I
    wouldn't call it a corporation. It's Doug, basically.

    > Also, clearly Doug has high status here based on his previous
    > accomplishments, and others have status related to organizational
    > accomplishments (running the colloquium), or postings to the list. But
    > pretty much no one has status related to code contributed to the project
    > -- and that would seem to need to be primary in an open source effort.

    Within open source projects, status is earned from one's peers. Ideally,
    those who contribute good code will gain high status within the project.


    +=== Eugene Eric Kim ===== ===== ===+
    |       "Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they        |
    +=====  can have an excuse to drink alcohol."  --Steve Martin  ===========+

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