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From Danny Angus <>
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 12:51:08 GMT

I said:

> > 1/ With regard to the vote it appears to me that a vote proposing that
> > either retain the status-quo or opt for an as yet unknown new option
> > always be biased in favour of the status-quo.
> > I would contend that this issue would have been more fairly decided had
> > 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.

Wrong. I'm _only_ saying that it will bias people towards the status-quo.
A vote in favour of the status quo is a Positive assertion but a vote
against is a non-specific negative.

> 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.

Perhaps, but thats not exactly the point, I'm not interested in railroading
my opinion through, I would like to see the community reach a broad
conscensus so that the outcome of a vote could be predicted in advance.

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

No, in fact the whole constituency will be split 101 ways. You appear to be
falling into the trap you tried to warn me of. That of assuming that the
majority favour "Geronimo". If the community provided a large majority for
Geronimo under this scheme then at least the poll would be fair and
representative, and I'd be quite happy to accept it.

> 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.

But now it is no longer "their" project it is "ours" and this debate is
testament to the fact that some portions of this community are uneasy with
that name.

> The use of the name does not stereotype or denigrate the individual.

Are you a native American that you can assert that?
Or are you making assumptions about it on behalf of a culture to which you
do not belong?

Do you know in what regard this project is held by Native Americans,
perhaps simply using his name at all denigrates the individual, or cheapens
his memory or dilutes the strength of the message his memory conveys.
Perhaps Native American culture places a higher value on respect for their
ancestors than northern europeans do, perhaps not.
I don't know, and I think that it would at the very least be polite to
either find out or choose another name.

> No religious symbols are used.
Fair enough.

> Geronimo fought for FREEDOM.

Our respect for him doesn't make any difference, and anyhow I strongly
believe this is not a judgment we are qualified to make.

> 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.

I can see that perhaps this does represent a fierce opposition to American
Colonial Imperialism in some way, but nontheless it doesn't mean that the
Native American community would see it that way.

> Uneasiness with the fact that Geronimo was an 'American Indian' (your
> terminology),

Not my terminology, that bit was a quote from Indian Country: why it was enclosed in
inverted commas)

> is a north-american-centric emotion, probably not shared
> by the rest of the world, and in my mind discriminatory.

Actually I'm proud to say I'm not and never have been an American of any
I'm not the least bit uneasy with any of the facts, I'm uneasy that we feel
that its OK to misapropriate the symbols and names of other cultures.
I'm a European, and not emotionally attached to this debate at all, except
in that I do care a lot about how the ASF is perceived outside our own four
walls and I believe that this name is far more likely to damage our image
than almost any other reasonable suggestion.

> Geronimo was a
> first and foremost an individual. Simply think of him as that.

Yes OK, but that is not the reason you have chosen his name.

Is it?

The real reason it was chosen is because of what he did and what his name
stands for. His place in history. The cultural refrence his name

> 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.

I think of him as someone who fought oppression and resisted attempts to
destroy his community and their culture.
It would be hard not to associate someone who fought for their culture with
that culture.
If you think that that is discriminatory then you're losing the plot.

> 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.

Wrong again, I never wrote either of the phrases you have placed in quotes,
but if you had taken the time to read what I did write you would have seen
that I said:
"I believe that it is not my judgement which counts, it is that of Native
American society."

> > 4/ Most commercial software is announced and pre-released using a code
> > name, a working project name.

> I do believe that it would damage the project both in terms of
> recognition and recovery time. Source code,

Why would you have to change source code?

> Documentation, urls, mailing
> lists

A number of other Apache projects have changed these as part of their
promotion out of Jakarta, it need be no different for Geronimo to change
its name or be promoted out of the incubator.

> 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
> impact.

Thats just spreading FUD, Apache is well capable and experienced at
managing project infrastructure there need only be negligable impact on
anything but brand awareness.

It's equally likely that the publicity associated with name change
announcements will revitalise interest in the project. As has been
experienced by the promoted projects from Jakarta.


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