Community and commercial interests

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at
Thu Jul 31 11:22:41 BST 2003

On Thursday 31 July 2003 12:01, Ralf Nolden wrote:
> On Donnerstag, 31. Juli 2003 11:10, Bernhard Reiter wrote:

> > Some people want KDE to benefit from their efforts.
> > Any responsible "external" group will want to keep the basis
> > for their success viable and improving.
> > Which would lead to the interesting question
> > if that makes them internal or not.
> I think it makes them internals because their requirements make it
> desrieable to work directly on the mainstream development tree. 

So consequently they are part of the KDE community
and have a say in its collective decisions.
However that decisions are made.

> All good intention provided, I think that when commercial interests are
> becoming an importance that make it over-proportional compared to the
> project's goals and it's established ways of handling things you're going
> to piss off more people than you actually draw on your side.

In its generality that statement can only be true,
but as you just establised that people can have commercial interest
and be part of the project, their participation would 
slightly already shift the projects' goals.

> I can only repeat: we're doing good stuff and we have our ways of doing so,
> because we do it for the fun of it (as one reason to do it, there are also
> others in many cases, but fun is definetly one of the highest ranking
> ones). Take the fun factor away and you'll loose a good part of the
> motivation of the volunteers.

We also do some stuff suboptimal and this also it takes fun away
and looses motivation for the volenteers.

> KDE's only entry level is
> the ability to read, write and think. Get the code, write a patch, send it
> in and you're part of the game - and you're as valuable as anyone else for
> the sake of the whole project. 

That is an illusion.
There are unwritten rules and hidden connections of power within KDE
like with any other human organisation of similiar size.
If you hide that, it only means that those rules and connections
are continously developing further without concious reflection.

> KDE has always been about getting the job done without anyone claiming he's
> found the stone of wisdom that has all answers to day to day problems in CVS. 

Nothing wrong with that, this is reasonable behaviour for many sane groups.

> That leaves everyone the freedom (that's the other main factor besides
> fun) to participate in this project and feel as valuable as anyone else.
> So, from a sociological POV, KDE can be described as trying to materialize
> liberte, egalite, fraternite in C++ code :) and even if the quality of KDE
> can be improved by enforcing it with laws, orders and rules, I would resist
> against barriers that would limit my liberte and egalite.

As that ideal, as any ideal,
can only be reached up to a certain point in practice, 
it makes sense to think about in how far you've reached that goal
and what you could do to get a step further to it.
Admitting that there is a power structure would be an important step.
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