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On Sun, Jun 5, 2011 at 3:48 PM, Ian Lynch <> wrote:
On 5 June 2011 14:10, todd rme <> wrote:
I don't think you mean the same thing when you say "symmetric" as the
people here mean.  As far as I can see, you are talking about the
ability to use the code being symmetrical, while the LibreOffice
people are talking about the contribution to the software being
symmetrical.  You seem to be saying that Apache is symmetric because
if you use the software, you have to let others use it too.  But what
the LibreOffice people here are expecting is that if you make
improvements to the project, you have to let others make use of those
improvements as well.

Your talk about the use being symmetric is not going to convince
people because that isn't what their complaint is about.

They are fundamentally different and contradictory philosophies.  Just
telling people that it fits well with your philosophy, which is
essentially what you are doing, doesn't help when they disagree with
your philosophy.  You need to either convince them that your
philosophy is better than theirs, or you need to convince them it fits
with their philosophy.

Hi Todd,

There is a third option. That is that something you believe in needs
something else you don't believe in in order to be achieved.  It leaves a
dilemma. Some people switched a stance of anti-nuclear power because now
they believe it's better than CO2 emissions. It's not that they are suddenly

To run with your analogy, the problem is that your arguments are based
on the assumption that nuclear power is better than CO2 emissions, and
you base all your arguments on that assumption, when the group you are
trying to convince is made up of refugees from Chernobyl.

That was my whole point: you jumped straight to making arguments
without finding out what people think about assumptions those
arguments are rely on.  People won't accept your arguments if they
don't agree with your assumptions

This isn't a hypothetical point, I think it is the reason why people
haven't been receptive to your proposals.  Before trying to iron out
the details, I think it is important to take a step back and take a
look to the core areas of disagreement first.  As long as those aren't
ironed out nothing is going to get accomplished on this thread will go
on forever.

My position is that an open ODF file format ubiquitously
proliferated is the top prize. If that means using some licenses that are
less than ideal from a philosophy point of view then so be it. The ultimate
prize is too valuable to risk. I don't expect all "copylefters" to agree
with me but I think it is a legitimate position that needs consideration.

It isn't just copylefters.  What about people who are more concerned
with making a great office suite than making a file format?  As I user
I am quite terrified by this paragraph, actually.  openOffice is
currently the only usable open-source office suite from my perspective
(although Calligra is catching up fast).  If the focus is on the file
format and not the program, how much are you willing to sacrifice on
the program to make sure the file format succeeds?

Once again, this is a pretty fundamental issue that needs to be worked
out before there can be any hope of coming to an agreement.

So I think it is better to just outright drop the discussion of
collaborations or merger for now and first focus on what the positions
of the two communities are these sorts of core issues, how flexible
each side is on their stances, and how these stances might complement
or interfere with each other.  Only then should you start looking at
how to proceed in a more practical manner.  It may be that something
radically different than what anyone is thinking now may come about.

For instance, LO has more experience with applications, while Apache
has more experience with projects.  Similarly, based on what you are
saying Apache seems more focused on the format while LO is more
focused on the programs.  Then perhaps rather than merging the two
projects or directly competing, Apache could focus their work on
making a great file format and a bare-bones reference implementation,
taking ideas from all the ODF implementations out there, and LO could
focus more on making a highly-tuned, full-featured office suite.  The
LGPL and Apache license, at least based on my superficial knowledge,
would also seem to be well-suited to their respective roles in this
system.  That way, the two communities do what they do best, there is
no conflict between them, no one has to compromise on their
philosophies or pragmatic stances, no one gets alienated from any
project, so everyone wins.

That is likely not the way things ultimately go.  It is merely an
example of an approach that people on both sides are likely to miss
because no one took a step back and made a comprehensive and realistic
assessment of the issues going into this process.


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