ESR doesn't speak for me, either

by Andy Lester

On September 12, 2001,
Guillaume Laurent wrote a brief piece called ESR Doesn't Speak For Me. I'd like to pick up the banner and say that ESR doesn't speak for me, either.

ESR's latest rant,
An Open Letter To Darl McBride, is chock full of ad hominem attacks that do nothing to forward his arguments. It seems ESR is more concerned with being clever and showing off than actually acheiving any real results. Choice gems of pointless agression:

I'd ask if you'd found the right sort of isolated wasteland for your citadel of dread yet, but that would be a silly question; you're in Utah, after all.

So far your so-called "evidence" is crap; you'd better climb down off your high horse before we shoot that sucker entirely out from under you.

[I]f you don't stop trying to destroy Linux and everything else we've worked for I guarantee you won't like what our alliance is cooking up next.

Then, to close the screed, ESR tells McBride

You have my email, you can have my phone if you want it, and you have my word of honor that you'll get a fair hearing for any truths you have to offer.

as if the 15 previous paragraphs of hostility didn't just happen. Does ESR actually think that he's likely to get a response, or is that offer just a sop?

It makes me frustrated to see the leaders, self-appointed or otherwise, of Open Source turn to tactics of insults. I may agree with ESR's position, but there's no way he speaks for me.

Does ESR speak for you?


2003-08-26 08:50:27
He sure speaks for me.
The vultures at SCO deserve all that they're receiving recently from ESR and Bruce Perens. Yes, ESR spoke bluntly about the garbage claims of SCO (and he can joke about Utah, can't he?), but throughout his open letter he asked for SCO to come forward with real claims that will be addressed forthrightly. ESR and the open source community has every right to be incensed at SCO and to express that anger.

Karl McBride's recent assertion that the open source community are puppets of IBM ( demonstrate the tenuous grasp on reality that the SCO team has. They deserve all the blunt talk that ESR threw at them and more.

2003-08-26 08:51:01
Bush doesn't speak for me
Yet... for some reason other countries act as if he does.

The same thing will happen with ESR...

2003-08-26 09:26:03
He sure speaks for me.
Excuse the typo. Should be "Darl" McBride.
2003-08-26 09:44:29
Pointless agression

ESR and the open source community has every right to be incensed at SCO and to express that anger.

Sure they have the right, but what does it acheive? Are we trying to make some positive change, or are we just excited about how show how angry we are?

That's why I say it's "pointless agression". It doesn't make anything better, and probably only makes things worse.

2003-08-26 09:44:57
Pointless agression
Well, I guess I can't use HTML in these replies. :-)
2003-08-26 09:57:10
Bush doesn't speak for me
You should check out Howard Dean.

Look for links to the speech he gave in San Antonio, TX last evening. It was a great one.


2003-08-26 14:28:00
Pointless agression
The game SCO is playing is a PITA for everyone. Last week, my IT Dir started asking, "don't we need to pay a license on that now," about a LAMP web-based inventory mgt tool we're using. I never imagined that the stuff I read in Slashdot would make it all the way here. SCO isn't just slinging mud at IBM and "the open source community," they're peeing on the wheels of progress everywhere. Nothing ESR can say one way or another would sway the lawyer-bots at SCO so he may has well be "pointlessly aggressive," the alternative would be "pointlessly banal" and then nobody would read him.

2003-08-26 16:57:37
If not ESR, who?
Sure, Eric has points of contention, but who else is going to devote all their time to our interests like he does?

I understand that he doesn't "speak for you". That's cool, but I'd like to encourage Eric to keep going, doing what he does, 'cause he can speak on my behalf anyday when it comes to open source issues.

Despite Eric's style, that is sometimes debated, he's a smart guy who so far has a good batting average.

I also 'appreciate' Eric's scathing humor for what it is. A normal guy speaking instead of some mindless PR wonk. Three cheers for the Utah joke.

Steve Mallett

2003-08-26 20:26:27
We are a varied community
And we will never speak with a singular voice.

I had the opportunity recently to kbedell
2003-08-26 20:26:44

We are a varied community
And we will never speak with a singular voice.

I had the opportunity recently to interview Eric at some length about a number of topics. And I've followed his work for a while in addition.

I've come to believe that Eric is as good a spokesperson as the open source community has right now. Why? Well, because we operate on a 'meritocracy' -- that is, the people who add the most value rise to the top.

With regard to helping to formulate and build the open source movement, there may only have been one or two people who may have been as influential and made have made a bigger impact.

I think Eric's biggest contribution has been to articulate the values and culture of the open source community. In fact, I believe this is a big reason why we are a 'community'.

I'd say you could almost define a 'community' as a group of individuals with shared values and culture - Eric has helped us become that by articulating the values and culture and by stating that they are important.

Of course, if you get on the subject of guns or the second ammendment, then you have to understand he feels pretty strongly about that as well. But it's that same passion for his beliefs that he brings to our community -- and that is working to make sure you can run Linux and other open source applications for free.

If anyone wants Eric to hold a lower place in the open source community, all they have to do is impact it to a greater extent than he does -- that's what a meritocracy is all about. My money, however, is on esr.

I'm just glad he's on *our* side!

2003-08-27 06:00:43
Rules are there to protect the guilty
We have to be polite but SCO can call us all theives.

We have to take care over copyright and accreditation but SCO can take anything they like from us and release it as if they own it.

We have to be honest but SCO can lie.

We have to be calm but SCO can rant and rave about conspiracy theories that make no sense.

We have to know we're right but keep it to ourselves but SCO can get their bullshit printed in nearly every newspaper.

I don't buy any of this, even if you do.

SCO are scumbags that are attempting to steal the work of others while playing dubious games with their stock. ESR does not speak for me in a general sense but in this case he was 100% right.

Why are we supposed to just roll over and play dead until some laggardy court gets around to "officially" looking at this in 2005? Why should businesses be threatened without a single angry word raised in response? Why do you think its wrong to fight, and I MEAN fight, back against forces of greed and corruption?

2003-08-27 07:02:32
Rules are there to protect the guilty
The community doesn't have to sink down to SCO's level. By calmly and logically pointing out the flaws in SCO's "case", we make SCO seem childish. When we rant at their level, we seem childish.

Look, there are times I like to spew venom. I usually follow the rule of write it, wait 24 hours, read it again, and decide if I really want to post/send it.

2003-08-27 08:11:04
Rules are there to protect the guilty
I never suggested "roll[ing] over and play dead." My only question is: What benefit is served by being jerks about this fight? How does it help your goals? I'm not seeing it.

The fight you're talking about isn't won by taking pot shots at the principals. Insulting the state of Utah, of all things, hasn't done anything to further our aims.

2003-08-27 09:20:09
now more than ever
in the past i have always thought that ESR was out there. i aggreed with him on a few issues but not most. over the past few months i have come to aggree with him more and more(not completely). there have been a number of issues that he has turned out to be right, when all others doubted him (including me).

i will never blindly follow, but for the moment he does speak(more politely than i would) for me.

2003-08-27 09:51:01
No He Doesn't, But...
I never supposed that he did. While he does sometimes act as a spokesman for the Free Source Software community at large, I doubt that anyone who hears him believes he is vested with the power literally to speak for each and every person in the FSS community. Anyone who does believe that is rather dim, and so I don't care for their good opinion anyway. You should know better.

As for his open letter to Mr. McB., I applaud him for it. It was indeed unprofessional, illogical, and inflammatory -- and it needed to be said.

2003-08-27 10:44:37
ESR Opend the Spam Door by Speculation....
By speculating that a Linux developer may have been behind the SCO site this week-end ESR may have actally opened the community to a new spam attack from SCO to discredit the developer community( please note the shift in the SCO/Linux Lawsuit Postings on Google News). According to people monitoring SCO and its parent Canopy Group ( which operates the SCO Site servers) while the SCO site was down the Canopy Servers were still in operation. In other words, it is as likely that SCO had their site down for updates after their big show in Vegas last week as any other explanation. The fact that SCO has jumped on ESR's speculation of why their site was down and spamed the internet claiming an attack by Linux Developers is nowused as another SCO scam. After all, SCO is the same group who's boss thinks he is James Bond, that thousands of IT professioanl are under mind control from IBM and woke up one morning a few months ago beleiving that IBM copyrighted software somehow belongs to SCO. They have made up stories claiming that MIT Mathematics department proved their claims( just proven false) among others. So please folks don't speculate on anyone in the community of developers being associated with illegal activity. We all know the personal consequences for such 'cute' but illegal activity. No serious professional would stoop to such measures and ESR speculating such denagrates all of us.
2003-08-27 10:53:58
We are a varied community
> Of course, if you get on the subject of guns or the second ammendment, then you have to understand he feels pretty strongly about that as well.

Er, have you read his blog ?

Try this for a start :

Do you *really* want such a man as a spokesperson for this community ?

2003-08-27 12:02:02
Rules are there to protect the guilty
I don't buy any of this, even if you do.

If you don't want anyone to care what you think, then by all means, be impolite and lie. Your choice.

2003-08-27 12:25:32
Bush doesn't speak for me
if you are an American citizen, yes, he does. Read the Constitution. You don't have to agree with him or like it, but it's fact. So sorry.
2003-08-27 15:00:21
ESR speak
While I can't help but empathize with ESR, I think that SCO predicted visceral outrage by dreaming up the most goading slander possible - that IBM is using the Linux/Open Source communities as paid lackeys in a stealth PR initiative.
They knew someone would lose it and, predictably, people did. I would wager that the person who contacted ESR as a 'cutout' for the alleged hacker was working for whatever PR demons are working for SCO. For the last two days, all Google News has on it is 'SCO site hacked'.
Couple this with the reports that refer to ESR asking for the Dos attack to stop, and the whole Open Source 'community' is instantly tarred with the brush of responsibility for something that could have been done by anyone. Amazing PR for SCO.
To a casual observer, ESR's rant reads like LSD induced schizoid babble. That is not a good thing.
2003-08-30 15:22:44
Bush doesn't speak for me
The original article is making a point about individuals vs. groups.

Georgey boy may very well speak for "Americans" and for America, but only in the group sense.

He can not marry someone for me. He can not open a bank account for me. He can not cast a vote in the next presidential election for me.

In no way, shape, or form does he speak for me as an individual.

Yet... many people, from many countries will come to believe that I, because I am an American, am a stupid imbecile with low moral character because that is the image he presents.

As I said, he doesn't speak for me... and isn't even close to being representative.