by Miguel de Icaza

Our last day at the O'Reilly conference. We woke up early to have an interview with Rachel at the451, we talked about Mono, but we talked more about the cool stuff that we are doing at Ximian (Evolution coming out, Red Carpet getting better every day, the Setup Tools, etc).

Then we headed for the Tiemman/Mundie debate. Nothing new to report, nothing that you have not read anywhere else. I felt there was not much to learn from the debate.

Mitchell and Tim O'Reilly were the most lucid voices in the debate. I love them.

I got to meet Dave Winer for the first time, he was as wise and smart as I had pictured him to be.


As we were taking our bus to the airport, we heard a woman ask a couple of the attendees `What is this convetion?'. The explanation of the `Open Source convention' from these guys begun like this:

Well, there are two factions: the Open Source people and the Free Software people. It is all about being able to [...]

The scary thing is that now people present things as a `split' movement. This is becoming ridiculous. First of all, I do not believe that there are two `factions': those who want freedoms and those who want source code. Instead there are hundreds of factions:

those who care about cheap software; those who want sources to be able to change things; those who care about freedom; those who care about open protocols; those who care about open standards; those who care about cool features; those who care about complex software; those who want to learn from the sources; those who like some kind of scripting language; those who want to reuse software; those who want to innovate; those who want to use an alternative operating system; those who want to use a Unix system; those who want a unix system with drivers; those who want a secure unix system; those who want unix on the desktop; those who want to give back; those who want to build a different tomorrow.

But you get the idea: there are many different reasons why you might like Open Source software. And not everybody agrees on two points: not everybody is working on Open Source/Free Software because they "belong" to a camp. There is no such camp division, but in the minds of those who want to push a specific naming convention over the other.

Calling this `body' of software and reasons `Open Source' is good enough for me. I realize that other people might have different interests and reasons to use and contribute to the software than I do, and that is perfectly fine with me.

I like the pragmatic approach of Tim O'Reilly: Tim does lean more towards new technologies. He likes Open Source, but deep inside Tim, you can see that his interest is more about how technology will change people's lives and hearing such an articulate man speak is a unique experience. When Tim speaks, I listen.

Anyways, the bottom line is: we should not present our community as a split community. This is a community of people with different interests, which sometimes are aligned, and sometimes are not. This is not a black and white situation.


We flew out from San Diego to Ottawa to attend the Ottawa Linux Symposium

Posted on 26 Jul 2001