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From Jules Gosnell <>
Subject Re: Why I am opposed to retaining the name Geronimo, and whi I consider this VOTE to be biased.
Date Thu, 18 Dec 2003 11:20:45 GMT
Danny Angus wrote:
> Hi,
> Responding to comments made about noise on the VOTE thread, and the
> importance of acheiving a reasonable majority for one position over another
> (in order to make the decision clearly mandated) I would like to express my
> opinions regarding the name and the vote.
> 1/ With regard to the vote it appears to me that a vote proposing that we
> either retain the status-quo or opt for an as yet unknown new option will
> always be biased in favour of the status-quo.
> I would contend that this issue would have been more fairly decided had a
> nomination process been held for potential alternative names.

but what you're suggesting presupposes that a majority are not in favour
of the status quo. It's a bit of a presupposition to make without asking.

Regardless, I would refute your argument.

I think you actually have more chance of changing the name with a vote
structured like this - as for the initial decision all the people who
want to change the name will be united.

If you suggested 'Geronimo' or 100 other names, the 'no' vote would be
split 100 ways.

> 2/ With regard to the name itself I believe that it would be an expression
> of anglo-saxon imperial arrogance to appropriate a cultural symbol of
> another culture in this way unless it was with the blessing of the culture
> concerned. That we have done it in the past, and that others may also be
> doing it is no defence. Consider how you would feel should some refrence
> from your cultural history be misappropriated in this way. We are a mixed
> community, from innumerable different backgrounds, surely between us we can
> exhibit some sensitivity.
> That there _is_ a feeling in Native American society against this
> misappropriation in general is clearly seen here:
> "Mascots perpetuate stereotypes about American Indians, involve the
> misappropriation of the American Indian cultural identity, and often
> include the display or depiction of symbols and practices having a
> religious significance to American Indians.
> In addition, these practices are likely to have a negative impact on the
> educational experience and self-esteem of American Indian students and
> contribute to the mis-education of all students."
> from

The name 'Geronimo' was chosen democratically by the people who
originally proposed the project to Apache. They had to chose a name,
because it was a requirement of the proposal.

The use of the name does not stereotype or denigrate the individual. No
religious symbols are used.

Geronimo fought for FREEDOM.

The name was proposed as a rallying cry for an international group of
Open Source Developers who identify with this and other attributes of an
historic individual and his struggle.

Uneasiness with the fact that Geronimo was an 'American Indian' (your
terminology), is a north-american-centric emotion, probably not shared
by the rest of the world, and in my mind discriminatory. Geronimo was a
first and foremost an individual. Simply think of him as that. If all
you can think of every time you see the name is 'American Indian' then
the stereotyping is occuring in your mind, not in our choice of name,
and by classifying him thus you are discriminating.

> 3/ On a practical level the current name is causing division, we should be
> seeking to unite opinion in one way or another, and not pre-empt concesus
> by holding a vote before the community has had time to reach broad
> agreement. I would stress that I have an open mind about the acceptability
> of our use of the name, but also I believe that it is not my judgement
> which counts, it is that of Native American society.

Exactly. Furthermore, I would put it to you that voting against the name
simply because Geronimo was an 'American Indian' and you 'think that is
what they would want' is patronising and discriminatory.

> 4/ Most commercial software is announced and pre-released using a code
> name, a working project name.
> Ours is "Geronimo". I do not believe that we would undo six months of brand
> building if we do change the name, but we need to do it soon, and to
> prepare the ground intelligently.

I do believe that it would damage the project both in terms of
recognition and recovery time. Source code, Documentation, urls, mailing
lists and mindsets will all have to be fixed. Doing this along with the
move out of the repository may mitigate the impact, but there will be

> I would stress that I'm a great believer in The Apache Way, I have no doubt
> that this will be resolved fairly and to the credit of our community, but
> remember that we should consider the issues before voting and if this issue
> requires a length debate then thats what we will ahve to put up with.

Let the debate begin :-)


> d.
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  * Jules Gosnell
  * Partner
  * Core Developers Network (Europe)

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