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Hi Allen,

        So - first, I've enjoyed interacting with you over many years around
OO.o / LibreOffice :-) and I value many of your insights.

On Thu, 2011-06-16 at 10:43 -0400, Allen Pulsifer wrote:
Thorsten Behrens wrote:
I do not agree with your conclusion that the Apache OpenOffice 
project is a competing project.

        The overlap between TDF & ASF's goals for an office product (modulo
enabling 'mixed-source') is a pretty compelling proof of competition.
SUV manufacturers compete with hybrid car vendors for mindshare,
marketshare etc. despite having somewhat different product emphasis. I
think you need to re-consider your argument comparing python with OO.o
with LibreOffice here - they are simply not comparable as a proportion
of each other, and as sources of bugs / problems etc.

Second, I can recommend that LibreOffice contributors join Apache
OpenOffice because I am firmly convinced that would be in the best
interests of the LibreOffice project.

        Joining is one thing - fair enough for some to be included. But
knowingly making life harder for LibreOffice by contributing code to ASF
and thus helping the code-bases to diverge is a different thing.

Here's what could have been:

        Hypothetical different worlds don't always work out so swimmingly in
real life.

Instead, due to your personal issues

        You appear to assert the conclusion to your argument. Personally, I
have a great deal of respect for Thorsten - his substantial raw
contribution, his judgement and so on. I don't believe he has
substantial personal issues on this topic :-)

no matter how much it is denied, the nagging feeling persists
that it might be true; and that the LibreOffice community refuses
to work with IBM or the Apache Foundation for personal reasons.

        There are many motivations for not working with the ASF, sure you can
cherry pick some that are some transient soreness from having done a ton
of work for OO.o, then seeing our views ignored, our governance
duplicated and our wise licensing choices crippled. Certainly some
people would feel offended by being told what to do, and what is and is
not possible by many new faces that have never contributed a single
thing to the project :-) That is not a surprise, just human nature - and
as you point out it is not really a good reason to do anything:
proposals (no matter how poorly articulated) should be evaluated on
their merits. I don't believe we are deciding this sort of thing on that
basis however.

        There are a multitude of good business, ethical, pragmatic, structural
and common-sense problems with wholeheartedly embracing IBM's move
facilitated by the ASF. Those are the ones that are worth discussing.
Having said that - personally, I don't believe that any of these issues
is susceptible to negotiation, ASF is what it is - and arguably WYSIWYG
- it was chosen primarily because it structurally cannot change any of
these things. Ergo, (as I've said) engaging with it on the basis that
change is possible is not a productive use of time. My plan is to simply
wait and see whether the promised benefits of AL2 arrive, that seems the
only sensible course of action as of now.

With just a few simple actions on your part, you could have
accomplished in a few minutes what would have taken you at least
a year to accomplish with just programming (if it can even be
accomplished that way at all).

        We could also have severely confused our contributor-base, and landed
them in the ASF's lap: code and all, substantially contributing to a
vision of the world that I find pragmatically unhelpful for software
freedom, and driving away another great chunk of our contributors. Sure
- it would have been only a few simple actions to assure that outcome,
to me though that medicine is far worse than the problem it supposedly
fixes. Ultimately, to me - the people doing the work are more valuable
than gold-dust around here; which is just one reason why I love, and
listen carefully to Thorsten: he is such an effective hacker.

So my all means, continue forward with your decision that your
personal story is what really matters.

        Software freedom is built on the work of countless un-sung heroes
investing their time and effort to build something better. I like their
stories. To try to totally de-couple cold/calculating software decisions
from real flesh and blood relationships in a community project is going
to be doomed to failure. Having said that, I am optimistic that focusing
on product excellence via a fun community of developers - particularly
in a market with a low marginal cost of migration will ultimately lead
to both success for LibreOffice, and a single united project again in
the long run.

        But - beyond this, I don't think any good purpose is solved in
discussing it acrimoniously and at length.

        All the best,


--  <><, Pseudo Engineer, itinerant idiot

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