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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: Updates: IBM Lotus Symphony, Apache OpenOffice, IBM Docs and other fun stuff
Date Wed, 01 Feb 2012 01:01:33 GMT
On Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 7:19 PM, Graham Lauder <> wrote:
> 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
> separated

Actually, Adam Smith was talking broadly, not of corporations, but any
assembly of tradesmen, which would include non-profits, guilds,
benevolent societies, etc., specifically:

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and
diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the
public, or in some contrivance to raise prices." (The Wealth of
Nations, Book 1, Chapter 10)

What Smith spoke about is far from limited to for-profit corporations.

>> >
>> > 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.

Apache officers have the limited immunity that comes with a
incorporation, just like officers of any other corporation.

>> > 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

There is always the possibility of a conflict of interest in any
group.  That is the kind of truism that is not worth debating.

> 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.

And what if the PPMC made a decision that was against New Zealand law?
 What would you do?

In any case, IBM policy covers what IBM does and what IBM employees
may do,  It does not cover what the PPMC does.

>> > 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

Great.  Then I must admit that I have zero idea what you are
complaining about.   And not from lack of trying to find out.  I hope
you find the peace you seek.

> [....]
>> 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 think there is still room in this worth for facts.  Perception are
fleeting, shallow and all so changeable.  Facts are stubborn things.

>> 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.

Your error here is believing that just because you can put a name on
something ("IBM's true motivation for participating in AOO") that this
is a well-defined, strictly-bounded, unchanging thing.  I hope you
believe me when I say with absolute certainty that there is no marble
tablet in our corporate vault engraved "Apache OpenOffice Grand
Strategy -- Strictly Secret, Do not share with Kiwis".  It should be
pretty obvious what we're doing in the project.  We're working openly
and everyone can see what our employees are doing.  But beyond what
we've already spoken of publicly, nothing else is written.  Don't
assume that there is a secret plan or motivation that we're holding
back from the community.  What will happen going forward will -- I
sincerely hope --  be written with the community, on this mailing

> (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.)

Yes, of course, we all know Don.  I believe he remembers me as well.
I said nothing ill of is character, just that he got all his facts


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

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