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From Graham Lauder <>
Subject Re: Updates: IBM Lotus Symphony, Apache OpenOffice, IBM Docs and other fun stuff
Date Tue, 31 Jan 2012 00:19:10 GMT
On Wednesday 01 Feb 2012 01:58:58 Rob Weir wrote:
> > 
> > ASF does not fill one critical measure of Corporations:  Freely
> > transferrable shares.  Apache is an Incorporated Charity.  The Profit
> > Motive doesn't  come into the equation.
> That may be a distinction in New Zealand, but it is not in the US.
> Apache is a corporation. 

It is of little consequence,  the fact is that it applies to any Limited 
Liability, for profit, share holder held organisation.  Corporation is a 
common term.  Semantic gymnastics doesn't change it.   

> A non-profit corporation is just a specialized form of a corporation.
> Not all for-profit corporations have publicly trading shares.   And in
> some states a non-profit corporation can issue stock.  So your
> generalities really fall apart.
> >> So wild generalities of corporations being "sociopathic
> >> beasts" are not going to get you very far.

I would be pretty famous I suspect if I had come up with the concept.  In fact 
it goes back to the 18th century and Adam Smiths "Wealth of Nations", he 
didn't of course coin the word Sociopath or indeed corporations, but he did  
point to the dangers in organisations where ownership and liability are 

> > 
> > It is a fairly well known tenet, well researched and presented by
> > behavioural psychologists, business analysts and philosophers.  It's not
> > a criticism, just a statement that has a considerable measure of
> > accuracy.  Certainly it is a generalisation and I know of a number of
> > corporations that now rate Ethical Performance as high as Profit and
> > Share holder return on their KPIs to avoid the Sociopathic trait.
> >  Perhaps IBM is becoming one of those, I don't know. You yourself have
> > said that in the past that IBM was a less than ideal member of the OSS
> > community.  I dare say that you and your colleagues would have known how
> > IBM was perceived in the community, but that was simply brushed off and
> > ignored because that affected neither profit nor shareholder return.
> > Ignoring the groups wishes is a Sociopathic trait.  It is also a well
> > known fact that sociopathic personalities do well in the corporate
> > environment.
> Perhaps this is true in New Zealand.  I can't really speak to that,
> since offhand I can't name a single New Zealand Corporation.  

I can do it for you if you wish, I'm still on the Board of Directors of one.  
Heck,  Apache was incorporated by a New Zealander, we do know how they work.  

> But in
> the US it is more complicated.

Really, the bit we are considering isn't that complicated and besides which 
complexity is of little consequence to the discussion, it's to do with 
divorcing ownership from liability. 

> > In your exchanges with a number of people on the list, you have
> > demonstrated a low level of empathy
> I feel your pain.

LOL, typical sarcasm, I rest my case.

> >>  I would have thought the
> >> 20th century would have thought us something about the dangers of such
> >> demagoguery?
> > 
> > Tsk, a trait of the internet debate and American politics is the
> > tendencty to lean toward hyperboly and grand over statement.
> But you get my point?

Oh indeed I do, my point is that it isn't demagoguery it is simply a 
statement, I seriously doubt however that you will ever see any of my points  


> > Ireland, the Lutheran Church, the Real Madrid Football club are not going
> > to profit from the activities of this project, not that it would worry
> > me if they did.  What would concern me however is how much loyalty would
> > any of the above\
> I hope many project participants find ways of profiting from AOO.
> That would be a wonderful thing, especially as it draws more resources
> (contributions from more individuals) into the project.
> > show to the project and so I would question their motives as well and in
> > particular the loyalty prioritisation of the individuals from those
> > communities with roles that could lead to a conflict of interest.  Not a
> > big ask and not demagoguery
> Profit is not a conflict of interest.

That's a strawman, I never said it was and deliberately misinterpreting what I 
say is not going to get us anywhere.   If a person or a group is working 
toward a profit of some description, while at the same time working toward a 
profit within another group then at some point there is probability of 
conflict of interest especially if there is a co-dependence.   The loyalty 
question is to do with priorities:  If in the case of a conflict of interest, 
which groups profit is a priority to the individual.  Or to be more specific, 
if the AOO PMC were to take decisions on a course of action that were contrary 
to IBM policy would you or any other IBM employee then remove yourself from 
the project or would IBM simply back away.   

> > Oh, I know exactly what I want to achieve in the project, the point is
> > the goal is ONLY about OOo, there is no divided loyalty.
> The last I checked, we don't require a loyalty oath to participate in
> this project.  If you want to propose one, I suggest you do so in a
> new thread.

Strawman again, I never suggested anything remotely like it.

> As far as I can tell, we all have multiple demands on our time, from
> family, life, even other demands at our jobs.  This is not a conflict
> of interest, in any sense of the term.  A conflict of interest would
> be if someone was simultaneously being paid by different parties to
> help and to harm the project.  I am not aware of this occurring.  If
> you believe otherwise, I'd recommend you raise this, in a new thread,
> on ooo-private.

Nonsense, again you make a statement that has little bearing on the 
discussion.  "Paid"  is receiving a reward of some type, we have already 
established that monetary recompense is not the only form of reward in an OSS 
project.  My reward comes from one place, yours comes from Two: 
IBM (given that you get a salary from IBM to work on this project)  
and the more esoteric rewards that come from working for this project  


> Well, IMHO Don has managed to squeeze in an amazing  misunderstanding
> in such a small space, a true economy of means.  A few corrections you
> might note in any response:
> 1) We're using Apache 2.0 license, not BSD
> 2) This choices were made the owner of the code, Oracle.
> 3) LO was created 9 months for AOO, so it is incorrect to say LO were
> created in response to the license change at Apache
> 4) LO also abandoned the pure LGPL approach.  They added the "weak
> copyleft" MPL license as an option.  Again this was done 9 months
> before AOO.

You know that and I know that and I never said anthing different, but none of 
that is the point.  I will repeat:  perception is everything. I could counter 
Don's arguments but it wouldn't matter, this is marketing, we deal with 
feelings, with emotions.  It's not about being right, but about getting people 
to see us in a positive light.    

> I suggest you end your unproductive tirade against corporations or
> against me personally and concentrate on what positive things you want
> to accomplish in the project.  In the end, arguing with me
> accomplishing nothing.  It doesn't really even waste my time much.

There is no tirade, against corporations or you, again you misinterpret to fit 
your own view of the circumstance.    It's no more of an attack than 
suggesting that you are a coffee drinker.  Several people have made comment 
about your conduct on the list and the conduct is mildly sociopathic and I say 
that in the same tone as I say that I am mildly addicted to coffee.  For 
myself and the others who have commented it was simply a matter of making a 
statement in the hope that we may encourage a little self evaluation.    

I have owned several companies, and as I said I'm still on the board of one.
Out of forty+ odd years of my working life, thirty have been in my own 
companies. I was once told it's because I have issues with authority figures.  
To some that may be a problem, but not to me and not to most Entrepreneurs who 
exhibit the same trait.  It can be a bit of a downside, but when it comes to 
fast decision making, it's an upside.
If I was hiring someone in certain jobs I would be hunting for someone  with 
Sociopathic tendencies, those tendencies are useful in certain circumstances.  
Not "bad" or "good", just either useful or to be avoided.  If I was hiring 
programmers, I'd be looking for someone a little OCD, "On the Spectrum" is the 
euphimism.  That is not a criticism, it's statement of obvious desirable 
personality trait.  Every pesonality trait also has it's downsides, my job or 
the job of my HR department is to manage those.  

That's all I'm trying to do here right now, we have a sociopathic elephant in 
the room I would just like to get a handle on what motivates it, because no 
matter how we spin it right now the biggest flag flying over the AOO project 
is a blue one, I, as a marketing guy, want to communicate to the Dons of   
this world that this is a positive thing.  I chose to use Ed's announcment as 
a benchmark for IBMs involvement in AOO, as means to that end.  I didn't 
expect dancing in the streets given that there is a strong bias to the GPL in 
NZOSS, but I will admit to hoping for a little better reaction.

(I should add, Don is one of the co-owners of his company, Catalyst, which 
employs around 150 developers across the world contributing to a wide range of 
OSS projects,  Ubuntu, Moodle, Koha and Mahara being the most significant 
beneficiaries and yes they profit from GPL'd OSS, very successfully.  They are 
an excellent model for dedicated OSS companies.  First and foremost ethical 
and dedicated members of all the FOSS communities they support.  You would 
struggle to find a negative word spoken about them in the FOSS community.)

> But again, it might just be that you enjoy this....

You are right of course, it's like any involvement in an OSS project, 
enjoyment is critical. Of course there are grades and for me, this discussion 
comes low on the enjoyment but high on the necessity scale.

You are also correct that I felt that I was probably wasting my time, given 
that I was pretty sure that you would ignore it all in any case, but I'm 
stubborn enough to try anyway.


> > Cheers
> > GL
> > 
> >> Regards,
> >> 
> >> -Rob
> >> 
> >> > Cheers
> >> > GL

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