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Re: [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme

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  • Nadav Har'El
    ... Just a thought: Maybe these issues are not as important as you think? Some of the most interesting small projects that I ever worked on didn t follow any
    Message 1 of 18 , Apr 12, 2007
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      On Mon, Apr 02, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "[hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
      > That has made me thinking: why can't there be a perfect workplace in Israel?
      > Here's how I define perfect:
      >
      > 1. Integrates the best of http://www.joelonsoftware.com/ ,
      > http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/ ,
      > http://www.extremeprogramming.org/ ,
      > http://www.paulgraham.com/ , etc.

      Just a thought:

      Maybe these issues are not as important as you think?
      Some of the most interesting small projects that I ever worked on didn't
      follow any of these rules. What *is* bad, however, are employers that try
      to stuff their own (often stupid) software management techniques down your
      throat. I don't mind that my employer doesn't use a specific software
      management technique, but it does bother me when the technical team wishes
      to use some technique, and this wish is vetoed by the management (for legal
      reasons, legacy reasons, investment in some commercial software, etc.).

      I believe it is more important what you work on, and *why* you work on it.

      The "what" is obvious, but the "why" is also important: Are you working on
      something because you believe it's important (and perhaps even helped to
      invent), or because some clueless client or equally-clueless bossed "dropped"
      some stupid requirement on you? Are you working toward a long-term goal you
      can understand and believe in, or are you being "blown in the wind" (using
      the ship metaphore I used in previous post) each month doing whatever things
      your boss, clients, or whatever, wants you to do this month?

      For me, the perfect employer would have me working toward long-term goals I
      believe in.

      This is also why I like working on free software (and especially Hspell),
      which allows me to work in exactly this manner. Users' requirements are
      always in the background, but I'm free to choose my own priorities and own
      long-term goal, and stick to that goal (which in the Hspell case, has been
      more-or-less been done).

      > 3. We will work on open source software exclusively. Not just GPL - but also
      > ,and often preferably, LGPL or MIT X11. The less other people and companies
      > ask
      > us for permission to use our software - the better.

      Is this going to be a company producing software, a services company (like
      consulting, etc.), a company for which software is just a part of (e.g.,
      a hardware company, like TiVo), or what?

      From most of your description, it sounds like you're talking about a software
      company. If this is the case, I don't understand your business plan. How is
      this company to profit? What is it selling if everything it works on is open
      source?

      > 5. We will allow free choice of language.

      Programming language, or human language?
      What if one employee decides to talk in French and program in Fortran - how
      will anybody else understand him?
      Of course, there should be diversity (not the 100% Java environment I
      currently work in) but "free choice" is a little too strong.

      > 6. Everyone can become a member of the company simply by adding himself to
      > the wiki. He or she will not get paid immediately, but they still can consider
      > themselves part of the company.

      Ah?
      You lost me here. What does "being part of the company" mean, if you don't
      get paid?

      > These are just a few examples - there are many more. But the point is that
      > I believe such a company will not only be very popular, but can in fact be
      > profitable. Paul Graham and ESR have rambled a lot about how people who are
      > left to do what they want to do, rather than what they feel they are obliged
      > to do, produce superior results to those who don't. Such a company can be a
      > very powerful force, even in comparison to Google. And most importantly it
      > will be a great employer to work for.

      Free Software is an excellent proof of the superior results of the processes
      you describe. However, it doesn't provide much proof that you can profit from
      it by selling software (which it sounds like you're planning).
      We already have "Free Software", and people can "just add themselves to
      Free Software" at will and work on what they want. The only question is how
      your company fits into this puzzle.

      > I suppose that once someone has signed a contract, we can tell him to give
      > us a percentage of all the consultancy/contracting he's been doing. Or we can

      It sounds like you're describing now the "partnership" model we once discussed,
      of creating a free-software/consulting firm which works very similarly to how
      law firms currently work. This is indeed a good idea, and one which I'd like
      to see materialize. But it is very far from what you described above...


      --
      Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Apr 12 2007, 24 Nisan 5767
      nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
      Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above
      http://nadav.harel.org.il |are not my own.
    • Tzahi Fadida
      Just a suggestion, for the most idealistic. Perhaps you should consider combining a PHD degree and an open source software/design. My degree was MSc, however,
      Message 2 of 18 , Apr 12, 2007
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        Just a suggestion, for the most idealistic.
        Perhaps you should consider combining a PHD degree and an open source
        software/design. My degree was MSc, however, the project itself was open
        sourced. I think this can be a good option for you since when you do PHD and
        later be an associate in some university you can control the works of other
        students (phd, msc, etc...). Look at big projects that come out of the
        universities: linux, mosix, etc... All very crucial and important.
        Granted, you can't get very rich, however, you are not getting there now
        either.

        On Monday 02 April 2007 15:10:54 Shlomi Fish wrote:

        --
        Regards,
                Tzahi.
        --
        Tzahi Fadida
        Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
        WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
        http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
      • Nadav Har'El
        ... This is all irrelevant. No right-winged employer can realistically expect all his employees to be right-winged (and vice versa), unless he s a total
        Message 3 of 18 , Apr 12, 2007
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          On Wed, Apr 04, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
          > If a contractor STFWes me, or even just visit my personal web-site (URL at the
          > bottom of every message I write) he'll find much more things due to which to
          > reject me:
          >
          > 1. http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/TheEnemy/ - offensive to many Arabs,
          > left-wingers, anti-Libertarians, pro-Israelis, etc.
          >
          > 2. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/israel-pales/ - offensive to
          > right-winged Israelis, and practicall every "humanitarian" people.

          This is all irrelevant. No right-winged employer can realistically expect
          all his employees to be right-winged (and vice versa), unless he's a total
          fanatic. No employer that I ever worked ever for cared about my political
          position.

          > 3. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/case-for-file-swapping/ - offensive to
          > all "IP-Nazis" and ultra-right-winged people.

          Again, irrelevant, unless you try working for RIAA - which I know you wouldn't
          want to anyway.

          > And there are more. I'm not optimising to make myself look good to potential
          > employers or commisioners. Instead, I'm trying to be the best possible man I
          > can be. And that means being the best possible philosopher[1]. And that means
          > speaking your mind.

          The philosopher Peter Singer wrote a section (quoted in his "greatest hits"
          book, "Writings on an Ethical Life") on why we should listen (on ethical
          questions) to philosophers, rather than to the ramblings of any random
          person, or a person from a different profession (e.g., a priest, doctor,
          or in your case, a programmer ;-)).

          One of the points he made was that it is professional philosophers who can
          devote all their time to thinking about the issues being discussed (in his
          case, ethics), and their opinions were formed after a lot of thinking, and
          are (usually) not just something they wrote down after an afternoon of
          basking in the sun. These philosophers have time not just to think, but also
          to read other people's opinions, and more importantly (as he sees it) - to
          check the facts.

          So if you want to be the "best possible philosopher", you need to devote your
          time to it. Have you considered getting a degree in philosophy? Perhaps
          getting a job in philosophy (in the academia, writing books that will be
          sold, etc.?) Or at least devoting all your free time to philosophy (and not
          to other hobbies like programming)? Because if you don't, you can hardly become
          the "best possible philosopher". All you can perhaps aspire to is to be
          someone interested in philosophy (like I consider myself).

          "Speaking your mind" doesn't make you a philosopher - it depends what you
          say, and to whom. Speaking your mind when what you have to say is not well
          thought out or stupid (and I'm not suggesting that what you say is like that!),
          or when you speak out your mind to the wrong people, can make you a nudnik
          or spammer, not a philosopher.

          > If I claim that Kant was a brilliant applied logician and
          > history's greatest practical joker, many philosophy professors will think I'm
          > talking non-sense. But I can prove that most of what he said was wrong, and
          > given his false reasoning show the problems with it. (And no, I haven't read
          > Kant yet - I was told it's incredibly inaccessible).

          Ah? How can you prove that somebody was wrong without reading what he read???

          I'm not saying you should read Kant's original works - I also didn't - but
          at least don't claim you can prove them wrong unless you did.

          > I believe in speaking my mind regardless of what the majority may think. At
          > ancient times people believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. If we still
          > believed that today, then we wouldn't have landed on the moon. Similarly,
          > many or even most people believe that illegal narcotics should be illegal.
          > This is also wrong, and I can prove it.

          Very well, speak your mind. I'm all for it. But like Comedians and DJs know,
          and you should too, you need to know your crowd. Feel free to preach smoking
          pot to your friends, but you wouldn't really want to do it to a group of angry
          cops you see on the street, or to a group of school children for that matter.
          Similarly, you can be 100% for free software, without preaching to your boss
          all the time. When asked, always give the pro-free-software answer, but when
          you're not asked, don't "preach". Your boss is paying you to do what he asked,
          not to preach to him. And it goes both ways - you're working for him because
          you want his money - not because you agree with everything he thinks.

          > Hopefully, I will eventually become independent by becoming an
          > essayist/blogger and a FOSS developer and consultant. This will enable me to
          > get money for doing the things I'd like to do in my free time.[3]

          Good luck (and I'm not saying this cynically).

          > It is possible many workplaces believe they are run in the best way possible,
          > and that employees should just shut up, be micro-managed and do as they told
          > and nothing more. However, there's no way I'd like working there, even if
          > they paid me a lot of money. And I believe clueful people who are looking for
          > consultants will be impressed that I'm familiar with "Joel on Software", Paul
          > Graham, ESR, etc. and may actually prefer me over someone else.

          If you believe your job sucks, go out and look for a better one, but try to
          hold on to the one you have in the meanwhile - both because I supposed that
          you (like most us mortals) need the money to live, and because it's easier
          to get a job while you already have one (employers are always suspicious of
          people who got fired - it sounds like an anti-recommendation).


          --
          Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Apr 12 2007, 24 Nisan 5767
          nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
          Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |Promises are like babies: fun to make,
          http://nadav.harel.org.il |but hell to deliver.
        • Shlomi Fish
          Hi Nadav! Thanks for your email. ... I heavily disagree with that claim and let me explain why. I don t devote all my time to thinking, or all my time to
          Message 4 of 18 , Apr 12, 2007
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            Hi Nadav!

            Thanks for your email.

            On Thursday 12 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
            > On Wed, Apr 04, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il]
            Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
            > > If a contractor STFWes me, or even just visit my personal web-site (URL
            > > at the bottom of every message I write) he'll find much more things due
            > > to which to reject me:
            > >
            > > 1. http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/TheEnemy/ - offensive to many Arabs,
            > > left-wingers, anti-Libertarians, pro-Israelis, etc.
            > >
            > > 2. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/israel-pales/ - offensive to
            > > right-winged Israelis, and practicall every "humanitarian" people.
            >
            > This is all irrelevant. No right-winged employer can realistically expect
            > all his employees to be right-winged (and vice versa), unless he's a total
            > fanatic. No employer that I ever worked ever for cared about my political
            > position.
            >
            > > 3. http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/case-for-file-swapping/ -
            > > offensive to all "IP-Nazis" and ultra-right-winged people.
            >
            > Again, irrelevant, unless you try working for RIAA - which I know you
            > wouldn't want to anyway.
            >
            > > And there are more. I'm not optimising to make myself look good to
            > > potential employers or commisioners. Instead, I'm trying to be the best
            > > possible man I can be. And that means being the best possible
            > > philosopher[1]. And that means speaking your mind.
            >
            > The philosopher Peter Singer wrote a section (quoted in his "greatest hits"
            > book, "Writings on an Ethical Life") on why we should listen (on ethical
            > questions) to philosophers, rather than to the ramblings of any random
            > person, or a person from a different profession (e.g., a priest, doctor,
            > or in your case, a programmer ;-)).
            >
            > One of the points he made was that it is professional philosophers who can
            > devote all their time to thinking about the issues being discussed (in his
            > case, ethics), and their opinions were formed after a lot of thinking, and
            > are (usually) not just something they wrote down after an afternoon of
            > basking in the sun. These philosophers have time not just to think, but
            > also to read other people's opinions, and more importantly (as he sees it)
            > - to check the facts.
            >

            I heavily disagree with that claim and let me explain why. I don't devote all
            my time to thinking, or all my time to programming, or all my time to writing
            essays, or whatever. However, I believe that by being eclectic in what I do,
            I can then reflect on something else I do, etc. By devising a good algorithm
            or designing a program properly, I become a more intelligent man, and this
            enables me to have better ideas for essays. Also, by writing essays and
            perfecting them according to other people's input I become a better
            programmer.

            This is similar to the fact that learning a radically different and
            enlightening programming language will make you a better programmer even in
            the existing language.

            Over-specialisation is very dangerous. According to:

            http://www.neo-tech.com/zero/part5.html

            <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
            A mathematician alone, no matter how brilliant he might be, could not be a
            threat to a neocheater without the knowledge of other fields and the rest of
            the world, and without the means of achieving financial independence --
            without a business integration. So long as those who are bright remain
            divided and "specialized", oblivious of the world, neocheaters are safe to
            exercise their "power" and use those scholars for their own advantages. This
            is what happened and what has been happening throughout the entire history of
            man. Moreover, some of those scholars turned to mysticism or neocheating and
            achieved political and/or religious prominence. The so-called
            social "intellectuals" of today are the direct offspring of those
            earlier "scholars turned neocheaters".

            Research in the fields of biology and anthropology reveals that all the
            species and tribes that became extinct did so because of
            overspecialization.The current educational systems of the world, which
            originated in the neocheating strategy of ancient political powers, emphasize
            specialization, and thus endanger the continuation of the human species.
            Until today, the least specialized field, the field that requires the widest
            integration of knowledge, has been politics, where neocheaters, who have the
            least regard for knowledge, gravitate the most. Ironically and tragically,
            the fittest to survive in the mysticism-ridden world of inverted reality have
            been the least capable of surviving in reality.
            >>>>>>>>>>>>

            That's why I believe a man of many talents (or a so-called "Renaissance Man")
            is much better at everything he does than someone who focuses on one talent
            alone. While only other people can proclaim I am Renaissance Man, I can
            testify I am a man of many talents, and always try to write what I want.

            By becoming a full time philosopher who does nothing in real-life but think
            and write, I'll lose my edge. Philosophy and insights come from experience
            and from getting your hands dirty. You need to learn in order to experiment,
            and you need to experiment in order to teach.

            As much as ivory tower philosophers are respected by the Academe, I have to
            say I found more value in philosophers that are do'ers: Ayn Rand, Paul
            Graham, Joel Spolsky, Eric S. Raymond, Frank R. Wallace (the Neo-Tech guy),
            etc. Nowadays the real philosophers are essayists or often even just
            bloggers. I often found a lot of value in a Slashdot comment by an obscure
            user.

            I call myself a philosopher, because I've reached many philosophical insights.
            Every field has a philosophy attached to it. While you can write a lot of
            code, without reflecting on what you write (using philosophy, logic, etc.)
            you'll hardly be any efficient.

            > So if you want to be the "best possible philosopher", you need to devote
            > your time to it. Have you considered getting a degree in philosophy?
            > Perhaps getting a job in philosophy (in the academia, writing books that
            > will be sold, etc.?) Or at least devoting all your free time to philosophy
            > (and not to other hobbies like programming)? Because if you don't, you can
            > hardly become the "best possible philosopher". All you can perhaps aspire
            > to is to be someone interested in philosophy (like I consider myself).
            >

            I could get a degree in philosophy. On the other hand, Ayn Rand "only" had a
            B.A. in History, and Frank R. Wallace has a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemsitry. So
            far it seems the non-technical degree that interests me the most is in
            ancient history of the Near East.

            However, I don't see why I cannot philosophise without having a degree in
            Philsophy. Perhaps some idiot (= foolish) Philosophy Professors will me write
            me off as unprofessional (just like I was told most of them wrote off Ayn
            Rand), but I know better than to believe them.

            So Nadav, I think you have been trolled. However, trolling you was not an
            original intenion of mine.

            > "Speaking your mind" doesn't make you a philosopher - it depends what you
            > say, and to whom. Speaking your mind when what you have to say is not well
            > thought out or stupid (and I'm not suggesting that what you say is like
            > that!), or when you speak out your mind to the wrong people, can make you a
            > nudnik or spammer, not a philosopher.
            >

            I agree that speaking my mind does not make you a philosopher. However,
            a "spammer" is someone who sends unsolicited email to a very large amount of
            people, not just posts a message on it to a small number of mailing lists or
            web-boards. I may be regarded by some as a "nudniq", but I believe my essays
            are of value, and I'm always getting input from them on my own mailing list
            of reviewers (which I'll be glad to join anyone of you), and also ask people
            to read it on the IRC.

            And I think you're confusing my techniques of publicing my articles with what
            I write in the articles themselves. I consider myself a philosopher because
            I'm trying to practice that, and that's what I'm doing. Historically
            philosophers had a great deal of training and professions. You don't need to
            have a Ph.D. in Philosophy to be a philosopher just as it is well known that
            some high school (or younger) students with one year of experience in
            programming are more productive and write far better code than many people
            with a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and 10 years of experience.

            While education is important, your output is what matters, not what you've
            earned.

            > > If I claim that Kant was a brilliant applied logician and
            > > history's greatest practical joker, many philosophy professors will think
            > > I'm talking non-sense. But I can prove that most of what he said was
            > > wrong, and given his false reasoning show the problems with it. (And no,
            > > I haven't read Kant yet - I was told it's incredibly inaccessible).
            >
            > Ah? How can you prove that somebody was wrong without reading what he
            > read???
            >
            > I'm not saying you should read Kant's original works - I also didn't - but
            > at least don't claim you can prove them wrong unless you did.

            I have read many of Kant's conclusions - from you or otherwise. And I can
            prove them to be wrong based on Logic and more basic assumptions. According
            to Neo-Tech, everything of importance can be deduced from the biological
            nature of men and women (and possibly some other natural laws and facts) and
            using Logic.

            >
            > > I believe in speaking my mind regardless of what the majority may think.
            > > At ancient times people believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. If we
            > > still believed that today, then we wouldn't have landed on the moon.
            > > Similarly, many or even most people believe that illegal narcotics should
            > > be illegal. This is also wrong, and I can prove it.
            >
            > Very well, speak your mind. I'm all for it. But like Comedians and DJs
            > know, and you should too, you need to know your crowd. Feel free to preach
            > smoking pot to your friends, but you wouldn't really want to do it to a
            > group of angry cops you see on the street, or to a group of school children
            > for that matter. Similarly, you can be 100% for free software, without
            > preaching to your boss all the time. When asked, always give the
            > pro-free-software answer, but when you're not asked, don't "preach". Your
            > boss is paying you to do what he asked, not to preach to him. And it goes
            > both ways - you're working for him because you want his money - not because
            > you agree with everything he thinks.
            >

            I agree. In my case, I didn't preach them the Joel way or any other way until
            after I got fired. And it was not a preach, it was a general recommendation.

            Like I said, people can find a lot of dirt about me on the Internet by using a
            search with "shlomif" or "shlomi fish" and some selected keywords. But I
            don't care much because keeping a perfectly good image is much harder than
            not, and most of the employers I'd love to work for wouldn't care too much
            about what I said or did not say. That's because they know it would be
            irrelevant to my job as a programmer.

            > > Hopefully, I will eventually become independent by becoming an
            > > essayist/blogger and a FOSS developer and consultant. This will enable me
            > > to get money for doing the things I'd like to do in my free time.[3]
            >
            > Good luck (and I'm not saying this cynically).
            >

            Thanks!

            > > It is possible many workplaces believe they are run in the best way
            > > possible, and that employees should just shut up, be micro-managed and do
            > > as they told and nothing more. However, there's no way I'd like working
            > > there, even if they paid me a lot of money. And I believe clueful people
            > > who are looking for consultants will be impressed that I'm familiar with
            > > "Joel on Software", Paul Graham, ESR, etc. and may actually prefer me
            > > over someone else.
            >
            > If you believe your job sucks, go out and look for a better one, but try to
            > hold on to the one you have in the meanwhile - both because I supposed that
            > you (like most us mortals) need the money to live, and because it's easier
            > to get a job while you already have one (employers are always suspicious of
            > people who got fired - it sounds like an anti-recommendation).

            I actually liked my job, and in fact the news that I was fired quite
            distressed me. So I was not looking for a different one at that point, but
            rather trying to do my job in the best way possible.

            Regards,

            Shlomi Fish

            ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
            Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

            If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
            one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
            -- An Israeli Linuxer
          • Shlomi Fish
            Hi Nadav! ... All of these rules are not a panacea or a necessity. To quote Joel from http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000043.html :
            Message 5 of 18 , Apr 12, 2007
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              Hi Nadav!

              On Thursday 12 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
              > On Mon, Apr 02, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "[hackers-il] Mission
              Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
              > > That has made me thinking: why can't there be a perfect workplace in
              > > Israel? Here's how I define perfect:
              > >
              > > 1. Integrates the best of http://www.joelonsoftware.com/ ,
              > > http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/ ,
              > > http://www.extremeprogramming.org/ ,
              > > http://www.paulgraham.com/ , etc.
              >
              > Just a thought:
              >
              > Maybe these issues are not as important as you think?
              > Some of the most interesting small projects that I ever worked on didn't
              > follow any of these rules.

              All of these rules are not a panacea or a necessity. To quote Joel from
              http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000043.html :

              <<<<<<<<<<<<<<
              Of course, these are not the only factors that determine success or failure:
              in particular, if you have a great software team working on a product that
              nobody wants, well, people aren't going to want it. And it's possible to
              imagine a team of "gunslingers" that doesn't do any of this stuff that still
              manages to produce incredible software that changes the world. But, all else
              being equal, if you get these 12 things right, you'll have a disciplined team
              that can consistently deliver.
              >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

              However, integrating them all will make your programmers happier, the employer
              happier and everyone more effective.

              > What *is* bad, however, are employers that try
              > to stuff their own (often stupid) software management techniques down your
              > throat. I don't mind that my employer doesn't use a specific software
              > management technique, but it does bother me when the technical team wishes
              > to use some technique, and this wish is vetoed by the management (for legal
              > reasons, legacy reasons, investment in some commercial software, etc.).
              >
              > I believe it is more important what you work on, and *why* you work on it.
              >
              > The "what" is obvious, but the "why" is also important: Are you working on
              > something because you believe it's important (and perhaps even helped to
              > invent), or because some clueless client or equally-clueless bossed
              > "dropped" some stupid requirement on you? Are you working toward a
              > long-term goal you can understand and believe in, or are you being "blown
              > in the wind" (using the ship metaphore I used in previous post) each month
              > doing whatever things your boss, clients, or whatever, wants you to do this
              > month?
              >

              Right.

              > For me, the perfect employer would have me working toward long-term goals I
              > believe in.
              >
              > This is also why I like working on free software (and especially Hspell),
              > which allows me to work in exactly this manner. Users' requirements are
              > always in the background, but I'm free to choose my own priorities and own
              > long-term goal, and stick to that goal (which in the Hspell case, has been
              > more-or-less been done).

              In a previous workplace of mine I was instructed to translate a PHP+Flash 8
              program from PHP to Perl. At first, I thought it was a legacy program, which
              needed to be translated, and started working on it. Since I did not want to
              fork the Flash 8 code, I decided to emulate the PHP behaviour in Perl. This
              took a lot of work.

              As it turned out all of it happened because our marketing department wanted
              the application to be either "PHP, ASP or Perl" so people can easily deploy
              it. But as you know, maintaining three differenet codebases in three
              different languages does not scale, and always break.[1] My boss told me it
              was equivalent to maintaining three different translations, but that's not
              the case, as someone who worked with most translation tools now.

              {{{{{{{{{{{{
              [1] - XP says that you shouldn't also maintain a codebase and some external
              documentation that describes it because the code will always grow out of date
              with the documentation.
              }}}}}}}}}}}}

              This is one case, where the whims of marketing (who I think did not understand
              the technology properly, and the fact that just having a PHP-only codebase
              will give us most of the marketshare), caused the engineers to become
              sub-optimal. I'm not claiming the engineers are always right, just that they
              should be taken into the equation.

              A good example of a case which almost completely ignores its engineers is the
              present-day OS division of Microsoft. They are creating more and more complex
              technologies in their operating system, which is growing into a bug-to-bug
              backwards compatible mess that no one wants or is able to tweak. And even
              Vista is still much inferior to the elegenance and power of some
              high-quality, open-source, UNIX-based OSes. Vista came up with all of its
              most-hyped features excluded early on.

              >
              > > 3. We will work on open source software exclusively. Not just GPL - but
              > > also ,and often preferably, LGPL or MIT X11. The less other people and
              > > companies ask
              > > us for permission to use our software - the better.
              >
              > Is this going to be a company producing software, a services company (like
              > consulting, etc.), a company for which software is just a part of (e.g.,
              > a hardware company, like TiVo), or what?
              >
              > From most of your description, it sounds like you're talking about a
              > software company. If this is the case, I don't understand your business
              > plan. How is this company to profit? What is it selling if everything it
              > works on is open source?
              >

              Well, first of all let me note that this idea is very theoretical and while I
              think it is good, I won't recommend you to depend on it. Here are some
              business models:

              1. We'll create FOSS codebases for websites, (like a better webmail, or a
              better freelancers board (see http://xrl.us/vqdj )) and then set up our own
              sites based on them. Alternatively we can also hack on existing FOSS
              frameworks (while contributing everything back to FOSS) and again set up our
              own sites based on them.

              2. We'll support our software. While the code will be perfectly usable, and
              can even be used in a proprietary context, some people will want to consult
              us on how to set it up, get it working, debug problems, etc. The code will be
              free, but our time won't be.

              3. I suppose that if someone is the company's paid employee, we can ask him to
              give us a percentage of his fees for consulting, contracting, or commisions.

              > > 5. We will allow free choice of language.
              >
              > Programming language, or human language?
              > What if one employee decides to talk in French and program in Fortran - how
              > will anybody else understand him?
              > Of course, there should be diversity (not the 100% Java environment I
              > currently work in) but "free choice" is a little too strong.
              >

              Programming language, of course. :-) All of our internal communication will be
              in English, and a good control of English will be necessary to be employed.

              I'm not sure I know what I have meant by "free choice of language". Maybe I
              meant that we won't force someone to work with a language against his will or
              because it's the most hyped language currently.

              > > 6. Everyone can become a member of the company simply by adding himself
              > > to the wiki. He or she will not get paid immediately, but they still can
              > > consider themselves part of the company.
              >
              > Ah?
              > You lost me here. What does "being part of the company" mean, if you don't
              > get paid?

              It means that you're part of the community. For example, I was active in the
              Subversion #svn channel on Freenode (helping people with their problems,
              etc.), read some of the mailing list, contributed patches, and wrote a few
              advocacy articles, without getting paid. I no longer do, because Subversion
              has been working for me very well for a long time, and I no longer feel my
              help there is needed much. (While the GIMP is in much worse development
              condition and can get all the help it can get[1].) But I was still part of
              the community, even though I didn't get paid directly.

              So in a sense you can work on this company's projects, or otherwise take part
              in its discussions, without yet getting paid, or even without ever wanting to
              getting paid.

              {{{{
              [1] - Just for the record, I believe GIMP could have been in a much better
              shape nowadays if it had not been for the high tactlessness and apathy by
              many of its core developers.
              }}}}

              >
              > > These are just a few examples - there are many more. But the point is
              > > that I believe such a company will not only be very popular, but can in
              > > fact be profitable. Paul Graham and ESR have rambled a lot about how
              > > people who are left to do what they want to do, rather than what they
              > > feel they are obliged to do, produce superior results to those who don't.
              > > Such a company can be a very powerful force, even in comparison to
              > > Google. And most importantly it will be a great employer to work for.
              >
              > Free Software is an excellent proof of the superior results of the
              > processes you describe. However, it doesn't provide much proof that you can
              > profit from it by selling software (which it sounds like you're planning).

              I didn't claim I was going to sell software. There are other ways to make
              money off software than selling it.

              > We already have "Free Software", and people can "just add themselves to
              > Free Software" at will and work on what they want. The only question is how
              > your company fits into this puzzle.

              See above.

              Regards,

              Shlomi Fish

              >
              > > I suppose that once someone has signed a contract, we can tell him to
              > > give us a percentage of all the consultancy/contracting he's been doing.
              > > Or we can
              >
              > It sounds like you're describing now the "partnership" model we once
              > discussed, of creating a free-software/consulting firm which works very
              > similarly to how law firms currently work. This is indeed a good idea, and
              > one which I'd like to see materialize. But it is very far from what you
              > described above...

              ---------------------------------------------------------------------
              Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
              Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

              If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
              one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
              -- An Israeli Linuxer
            • Nadav Har'El
              ... It is conceivable that some outside-world experience can give you a philosophical idea. For example, Richard Stallman s free software ideas (and
              Message 6 of 18 , Apr 12, 2007
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                On Thu, Apr 12, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                > By becoming a full time philosopher who does nothing in real-life but think
                > and write, I'll lose my edge. Philosophy and insights come from experience
                > and from getting your hands dirty. You need to learn in order to experiment,
                > and you need to experiment in order to teach.

                It is conceivable that some "outside-world" experience can give you a
                philosophical idea. For example, Richard Stallman's "free software" ideas
                (and ideals) came after some real experience with a real printer. Many ideas
                of Peter Singer (the philsopher I mentioned in a previous mail) probably
                came from his experiences in a world eating meat and (ab)using animals.

                However, once you have idea, it takes time and effort to make it into a
                well-polished theory, book, or whatever. You can't do that if you don't devote
                a lot of time to it. I'm not saying that you need to devote to it all your
                time, or even most of your time - but if you spend 30 minutes a day "blogging",
                I seriously doubt your ideas will have a strong impact on the world..
                If Richard Stallman continued to work full-time on coding Emacs, he wouldn't
                have had the effect he has today. Conversely, Linus who concentrated on "dirty"
                code-writing hardly had any effect at all on free-software philosophy.

                One problem with your "philosophy" posts (and I hope you don't take this as
                an insult, I'm not trying to insult you) is that you do *not* do enough fact
                checking or thinking on your theories. You raise ideas which have been
                discussed by many philosophers in the past, but you never heard of them or
                read their books (or books about them). You raise ideas on how to run a
                country which doesn't go well with existing history as we know it. You raise
                ideas on the perfect job, when your commulatative job experience is just a
                few months, and you never talked to other people to hear about their job
                experiences.
                If you spent time on *research* - finding the facts, reading what other
                philosophers said, listening to what other people think, and so on - that
                will make you a better philosopher. If you can't do that because your time
                is spent doing something else (be it programming or raising a kid), well,
                that will never make you a better philosopher, unfortunately.

                At least this is how I see it.

                > While education is important, your output is what matters, not what you've
                > earned.

                This is 100% right. So if one day you'll write a brilliant philosophical
                essay, I'd say, hats off for that auto-deduct renaisance-man. But until
                then, I can still try to make suggestions ;-)

                > I have read many of Kant's conclusions - from you or otherwise. And I can
                > prove them to be wrong based on Logic and more basic assumptions. According
                > to Neo-Tech, everything of importance can be deduced from the biological
                > nature of men and women (and possibly some other natural laws and facts) and
                > using Logic.

                So basically, your argument is that since Neo-Tech is right, Kant must be
                wrong. That would be a perfect proof, if only Neo-Tech was indeed right.
                But how do you know it is? And what if neither of those two positions is
                wrong, and Neo-Tech is only partially right, and Kant is also partially right?
                And what does it mean to be "right" anyway? Philosophy isn't an exact science
                like math or physics. You don't check a philosophical idea - which is a way
                to look at the world - for correctness based on experiments; Nor can you
                check them using just logic - because unlike mathematics, there is no fixed
                set of "philosophical axioms" that everyone agrees with.

                Just a small example, is it ethical to eat animals? Some say it is (like
                probably Neo-Tech, since eating meat is in our biological design), some say
                it isn't (like the aforementioned Peter Singer). There isn't a "right" answer.
                The only thing that matters (to philosophers) is how you explain your answer,
                and the assumptions you made during this explanation (the "axioms").
                You can say "yes" with a good explanation, and you can say "no" with a good
                explanation...

                --
                Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Apr 12 2007, 24 Nisan 5767
                nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |Having a smoking section in a restaurant
                http://nadav.harel.org.il |is like having a peeing section in a pool
              • Shlomi Fish
                Hi Nadav! Please don t take it the wrong way, but I think that following my refute of your claims, you have evaded them, and instead of saying that you stand
                Message 7 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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                  Hi Nadav!

                  Please don't take it the wrong way, but I think that following my refute of
                  your claims, you have evaded them, and instead of saying that you stand
                  corrected, you tried to amend them. But I'll reply to them just in case.

                  On Thursday 12 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                  > On Thu, Apr 12, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il]
                  Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                  > > By becoming a full time philosopher who does nothing in real-life but
                  > > think and write, I'll lose my edge. Philosophy and insights come from
                  > > experience and from getting your hands dirty. You need to learn in order
                  > > to experiment, and you need to experiment in order to teach.
                  >
                  > It is conceivable that some "outside-world" experience can give you a
                  > philosophical idea. For example, Richard Stallman's "free software" ideas
                  > (and ideals) came after some real experience with a real printer. Many
                  > ideas of Peter Singer (the philsopher I mentioned in a previous mail)
                  > probably came from his experiences in a world eating meat and (ab)using
                  > animals.
                  >
                  > However, once you have idea, it takes time and effort to make it into a
                  > well-polished theory, book, or whatever. You can't do that if you don't
                  > devote a lot of time to it. I'm not saying that you need to devote to it
                  > all your time, or even most of your time - but if you spend 30 minutes a
                  > day "blogging", I seriously doubt your ideas will have a strong impact on
                  > the world.. If Richard Stallman continued to work full-time on coding
                  > Emacs, he wouldn't have had the effect he has today.
                  > Conversely, Linus who
                  > concentrated on "dirty" code-writing hardly had any effect at all on
                  > free-software philosophy.
                  >

                  Are you kidding? Linus had a huge effect. A lot of what he says has been very
                  influential. He's often being quoted. He is a wonderful humourist and has
                  provided a lot of balance to free software by not holding the radical
                  opinions that RMS does. And he projected the project of writing the Linux
                  kernel which is currently the most advanced open-source kernel and the one
                  used by the most popular free software OS.

                  From reading Linus, I think he's both extremely intelligent and extremely
                  wise. RMS, OTOH is very idealistic, very stubborn and completely unable to
                  distiniguish between the two. I often found value in what RMS said, but I
                  believe I usually agree with what Linus or other people like Tim O'Reilly say
                  more.

                  > One problem with your "philosophy" posts (and I hope you don't take this as
                  > an insult, I'm not trying to insult you) is that you do *not* do enough
                  > fact checking or thinking on your theories.

                  That may be true.

                  > You raise ideas which have been
                  > discussed by many philosophers in the past, but you never heard of them or
                  > read their books (or books about them). You raise ideas on how to run a
                  > country which doesn't go well with existing history as we know it.

                  History can often be interpreted in a misleading way. Some people claim that
                  the pre-depression USA was a counter-example for why Laissez-Faire Capitalism
                  does not work, but it wasn't LFC by a long shot. Some people claim that the
                  situation of the Negros in the USA was improved by the regulation, but for
                  all we know it could have been better without it and with a public,
                  voluntary, action on part of the Black people and the people who supported
                  them.

                  > You
                  > raise ideas on the perfect job, when your commulatative job experience is
                  > just a few months,

                  Actually my commulatative job experience is a few years.

                  > and you never talked to other people to hear about their
                  > job experiences.

                  I have in fact. On IRC, on Email, in real-life, etc.

                  Please stop making wrong generalisations about me.

                  > If you spent time on *research* - finding the facts, reading what other
                  > philosophers said, listening to what other people think, and so on - that
                  > will make you a better philosopher. If you can't do that because your time
                  > is spent doing something else (be it programming or raising a kid), well,
                  > that will never make you a better philosopher, unfortunately.
                  >

                  I could find facts. But I believe a philosopher has an artistic licence to
                  publish an essay without much fact checking. Just because he has this idea.
                  As you may know, I publish a lot of mini-essays on my blogs, because I have a
                  good idea, and don't want to form it into a good essay on my site (or don't
                  feel its scope justifies that), and instead just publish it there for
                  everybody to read.

                  > At least this is how I see it.
                  >
                  > > While education is important, your output is what matters, not what
                  > > you've earned.
                  >
                  > This is 100% right. So if one day you'll write a brilliant philosophical
                  > essay, I'd say, hats off for that auto-deduct renaisance-man. But until
                  > then, I can still try to make suggestions ;-)

                  I think many of my philosophical essays are good. Most of them are not about
                  philosophy proper ("What is existence?", "Is the meta-variable nature of the
                  presence of multi-purpose individualism beneficial for the collective state
                  of mind?"[1]) but rather about applicative philosophy.

                  If you're claiming I should invest more time in researching my essays, that
                  may be true, and I can agree with that. However, if you're claiming I should
                  get a Ph.D. in Philosophy, just to be able to call myself a philsopher - it's
                  not something I can agree with.

                  A good engineer is any person who is competent at doing engineering work, not
                  necessarily someone who has a degree in an engineering field. Similarly, a
                  philosopher may not have studied philosophy in university. I believe my
                  experience as a software developer, a student for Electrical Engineering in
                  the Technion, a K12 student, a writer of humourous stories, bits and
                  aphorisms, a writer and giver of presentations, a blogger, etc. give me
                  enough credit to call myself a philosopher. And I certainly have more in my
                  arsenal than most people with a B.A. in philosophy.

                  {{{{{{{{
                  [1] - Don't ask me what the latter question mean.
                  }}}}}}}}

                  >
                  > > I have read many of Kant's conclusions - from you or otherwise. And I can
                  > > prove them to be wrong based on Logic and more basic assumptions.
                  > > According to Neo-Tech, everything of importance can be deduced from the
                  > > biological nature of men and women (and possibly some other natural laws
                  > > and facts) and using Logic.
                  >
                  > So basically, your argument is that since Neo-Tech is right, Kant must be
                  > wrong.

                  That's not what I said. You completely mis-interpreted me. What I said was
                  that given several of Kant's conclusions, I could disprove them based on some
                  more basic assumptions and Logic. Nothing that has to do with Neo-Tech. I
                  don't know how Kant reached his conclusions, but since the conclusions are
                  wrong, I can assume his reasoning was wrong too. (Or else Logic, which is the
                  tool for non-contradictory identification, is useless.)

                  > That would be a perfect proof, if only Neo-Tech was indeed right.
                  > But how do you know it is? And what if neither of those two positions is
                  > wrong, and Neo-Tech is only partially right, and Kant is also partially
                  > right? And what does it mean to be "right" anyway?

                  I have some things I disagree with the core Neo-Tech documentation, or think
                  they should be corrected. I also have many extensions or corrections to
                  Neo-Tech. And I think some of the strategy that Neo-Tech took was wrong.
                  However, that doesn't make me any less of a N-Ter, because in N-T people
                  think for themselves, guide themselves, and philosophise for themselves.

                  > Philosophy isn't an
                  > exact science like math or physics. You don't check a philosophical idea -
                  > which is a way to look at the world - for correctness based on experiments;
                  > Nor can you check them using just logic - because unlike mathematics, there
                  > is no fixed set of "philosophical axioms" that everyone agrees with.
                  >

                  Due to the liberty of speech anyone can utter the greatest stupidity, and it
                  is his right to do it. However, it is also my right to claim that he's
                  speaking non-sense, or even trying to voice a bad philosophy in order to do
                  harm. I believe that like Math, we can make a deduction about reality,
                  humans, societies, etc.

                  For example, many people assume that altruism, the belief that humans must or
                  should subject themselves to "higher causes" in order to live is good.
                  However, then Ayn Rand asked "Why?" - give me a good reason why. And you
                  cannot answer.

                  JFK said <<< Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do
                  for your country. >>>. There's also <<< Social good is superior to personal
                  good. >>> . That was a slogan of the German Nazi party. (and no, Godwin's Law
                  is not invoked here.)

                  Imagine what would happen if a vast majority of the people of the countries
                  surrounding Germany before WWII were armed with firearms. Wouldn't history be
                  completely different?

                  > Just a small example, is it ethical to eat animals? Some say it is (like
                  > probably Neo-Tech, since eating meat is in our biological design), some say
                  > it isn't (like the aforementioned Peter Singer). There isn't a "right"
                  > answer. The only thing that matters (to philosophers) is how you explain
                  > your answer, and the assumptions you made during this explanation (the
                  > "axioms"). You can say "yes" with a good explanation, and you can say "no"
                  > with a good explanation...

                  If you tell me Peter Singer's reasoning, I may be able to detect some flaws in
                  it. I can accept any philosophy as a philosophy, but I also reserve the right
                  to claim it is false, invalid and illogical. Otherwise, we might as well
                  agree that for each A, both A and Not-A are true, and being omni-knowing not
                  say anything later on.

                  Regards,

                  Shlomi Fish

                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                  Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                  If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                  one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                  -- An Israeli Linuxer
                • Tzahi Fadida
                  ... Don t confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those ideas. His
                  Message 8 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
                  • 0 Attachment
                    On Friday 13 April 2007 10:52:19 Shlomi Fish wrote:
                    > Are you kidding? Linus had a huge effect. A lot of what he says has been
                    > very influential. He's often being quoted. He is a wonderful humourist and
                    > has provided a lot of balance to free software by not holding the radical
                    > opinions that RMS does. And he projected the project of writing the Linux
                    > kernel which is currently the most advanced open-source kernel and the one
                    > used by the most popular free software OS.
                    >
                    > From reading Linus, I think he's both extremely intelligent and extremely
                    > wise. RMS, OTOH is very idealistic, very stubborn and completely unable to
                    > distiniguish between the two. I often found value in what RMS said, but I
                    > believe I usually agree with what Linus or other people like Tim O'Reilly
                    > say more.

                    Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
                    may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those ideas. His
                    influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of inventing the word,
                    which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear that for GPLv3 he had more
                    reservations than any ideas.

                    --
                    Regards,
                            Tzahi.
                    --
                    Tzahi Fadida
                    Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
                    WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
                    http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
                  • Muli Ben-Yehuda
                    ... So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and he s a great
                    Message 9 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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                      On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:

                      > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
                      > may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
                      > ideas.

                      So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
                      where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
                      he's a great implementor.

                      > His influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of
                      > inventing the word, which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear
                      > that for GPLv3 he had more reservations than any ideas.

                      Same question.

                      Cheers,
                      Muli
                    • Nadav Har'El
                      ... My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi s replied to it) was that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds of gifts,
                      Message 10 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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                        On Fri, Apr 13, 2007, Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                        > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
                        >
                        > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
                        > > may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
                        > > ideas.
                        >
                        > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
                        > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
                        > he's a great implementor.

                        My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi's replied to it) was
                        that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds
                        of gifts, "design" and "implemtation"), he spent and still spends most of
                        his time on engineering, and a minority of his time (although of course not
                        zero) "philosophizing" on free software licenses and their social effects,
                        on the effects of patents on innovation, on expanding free software's
                        philosophy to other areas of intellectual property (text, music, etc.) and
                        other areas of life in general, and so on.

                        Not spending most of his time philosophizing doesn't say anything bad about
                        Linus (some may even say it's a *good* thing!) but I think it can hardly be
                        denied.

                        On the other hand, there are people in the free software world that *do*
                        spend most of their time philosophizing, theorizing, and writing texts - not
                        software. This includes Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond (ESR), and a bunch of
                        others, many of them not (yet?) famous. There are even groups trying to work
                        together on free software philosophy, like the german Okenux, trying (in very
                        broad terms, that may do them an injustice) to somehow combine the best ideas
                        of marxism and free software.

                        I've heard more than once remarks like "Who's that Eric Raymond guy, and
                        what did he do - write the measly Fetchmail application?", or "Who's that
                        Richard Stallman, and what right does he have to preach to us after he wrote
                        a lousy editor 20 years ago". Ignoring the inaccuracy of these "facts" for
                        a moment, the important point is that these "philosophers" (or theorisers,
                        writers, bloggers, or whatever you want to call them) really wrote less
                        free software in the last decade than other people (like Linus). This is
                        because they spent most of their time on free software philosophy. It doesn't
                        make their ideas any less valid. Sometimes, it makes their ideas even more
                        worth listening to because their ideas have been well-researched, well-
                        thought out, and well written.

                        Of course, not everybody that has a lot of free time and writes something
                        is worth listening to. Hitler's book (and again, I hope I'm not invoking
                        Godwin's law ;-)) was written while he was in jail, and had a lot of time
                        to think on his hatred to Jews and come up with all sorts of insane theories
                        and plans. This is why peer review and hind-sight by the next generations is
                        important in philosophy, as in any other academic field. Kant (just to use
                        an example given by Shlomi) is remembered today not because of some arbitrary
                        reason, but because his peers and successors thought that his theories were
                        interesting, important, and that we have something to learn from them, even
                        if not all of them are considered 100% correct. Just like Newton's is still
                        considered important to learn, even though later generations found that in
                        many cases, his laws aren't actually correct, and have been ammended by
                        relativity, quantum physics, and so on.

                        --
                        Nadav Har'El | Friday, Apr 13 2007, 26 Nisan 5767
                        nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                        Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |Those who beat their swords into
                        http://nadav.harel.org.il |plowshares will plow for those who don't.
                      • Tzahi Fadida
                        ... We are referring here to FOSS philosophy, not to coding (either code design or code implementation). If there are projects of FOSS philosophy i am not
                        Message 11 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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                          On Friday 13 April 2007 21:36:16 Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote:
                          > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
                          > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge,
                          > > linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
                          > > ideas.
                          >
                          > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
                          > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
                          > he's a great implementor.

                          We are referring here to FOSS philosophy, not to coding (either code design or
                          code implementation). If there are projects of FOSS philosophy i am not aware
                          off, i will take my comments back. Till then...

                          > > His influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of
                          > > inventing the word, which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear
                          > > that for GPLv3 he had more reservations than any ideas.
                          >
                          > Same question.

                          Same answer.


                          --
                          Regards,
                                  Tzahi.
                          --
                          Tzahi Fadida
                          Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
                          WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
                          http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
                        • Shlomi Fish
                          ... [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on ... That may be true. ... Right. ... Well, this is a generalisation, which is not quite accurate.
                          Message 12 of 18 , Apr 14, 2007
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                            On Friday 13 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                            > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007, Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm]
                            [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on
                            Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                            > > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
                            > > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my
                            > > > knowledge, linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not
                            > > > invent those ideas.
                            > >
                            > > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
                            > > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
                            > > he's a great implementor.
                            >
                            > My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi's replied to it) was
                            > that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds
                            > of gifts, "design" and "implemtation"), he spent and still spends most of
                            > his time on engineering, and a minority of his time (although of course not
                            > zero) "philosophizing" on free software licenses and their social effects,
                            > on the effects of patents on innovation, on expanding free software's
                            > philosophy to other areas of intellectual property (text, music, etc.) and
                            > other areas of life in general, and so on.

                            That may be true.

                            >
                            > Not spending most of his time philosophizing doesn't say anything bad about
                            > Linus (some may even say it's a *good* thing!) but I think it can hardly be
                            > denied.

                            Right.

                            >
                            > On the other hand, there are people in the free software world that *do*
                            > spend most of their time philosophizing, theorizing, and writing texts -
                            > not software. This includes Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond (ESR), and a
                            > bunch of others, many of them not (yet?) famous.

                            Well, this is a generalisation, which is not quite accurate. ESR still spends
                            a large amount of his time writing code - he recently wrote bogofilter for
                            example, and many other things. RMS cannot write code due to strain injury
                            (see http://geekz.co.uk/lovesraymond/archive/hacking-for-christ ). However,
                            he still spends a large amount of his time doing: working on the GPLv3 and
                            other licences (GFDL, etc.), writing essays, travelling and giving
                            presentations, etc.

                            Consider this quote by Richard P. Feynman from his excellent book "Surely
                            you're Joking, Mr. Feynman":

                            http://www.pitt.edu/~druzdzel/feynman.html

                            <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                            I don't believe I can really do without teaching. The reason is, I have to
                            have something so that when I don't have any ideas and I'm not getting
                            anywhere I can say to myself, "At least I'm living; at least I'm doing
                            something; I am making some contribution" -- it's just psychological.

                            When I was at Princeton in the 1940s I could see what happened to those great
                            minds at the Institute for Advanced Study, who had been specially selected
                            for their tremendous brains and were now given this opportunity to sit in
                            this lovely house by the woods there, with no classes to teach, with no
                            obligations whatsoever. These poor bastards could now sit and think clearly
                            all by themselves, OK? So they don't get any ideas for a while: They have
                            every opportunity to do something, and they are not getting any ideas. I
                            believe that in a situation like this a kind of guilt or depression worms
                            inside of you, and you begin to worry about not getting any ideas. And
                            nothing happens. Still no ideas come.

                            Nothing happens because there's not enough real activity and challenge: You're
                            not in contact with the experimental guys. You don't have to think how to
                            answer questions from the students. Nothing!
                            >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                            While this quote is a bit wrong-headed - it illustrates a point. As I'm saying
                            here - http://xrl.us/vrek - there are several levels of learning:

                            * Level 1 - Learning.

                            * Level 2 - Experimenting.

                            * Level 3 - Teaching.

                            * Possible Level 4 - Science or Philosophy. (Possibly included in Level 3)

                            Now you need to learn something before you can experiment with it, and you
                            need to experiment with something before you can teach it. However, you
                            cannot just sit idly on day thinking - this is unproductive.

                            I believe I'm now spending a minority of my time coding. Most of
                            my "productive" time is spent writing essays, important emails (like this),
                            blog entries, etc. But I also get a lot of inspiration and insights from
                            learning or experiencing with new technologies, etc. I must if I want to be
                            good.

                            Nadav, the obscure philosopher you've quoted was wrong. While it is possible
                            that my philosophical essays will not be taught in philosophical courses
                            soon, it does not mean it is invalid or bad or not innovative. Most B.A.
                            Philosophy corriculums don't cover Ayn Rand either, and I found her
                            philosophy incredibly original and highly enlightening. And all her books
                            were huge best-sellers, and have directly influenced a great deal of
                            Americans and other people.

                            > There are even groups
                            > trying to work together on free software philosophy, like the german
                            > Okenux, trying (in very broad terms, that may do them an injustice) to
                            > somehow combine the best ideas of marxism and free software.
                            >
                            > I've heard more than once remarks like "Who's that Eric Raymond guy, and
                            > what did he do - write the measly Fetchmail application?", or "Who's that
                            > Richard Stallman, and what right does he have to preach to us after he
                            > wrote a lousy editor 20 years ago". Ignoring the inaccuracy of these
                            > "facts" for a moment, the important point is that these "philosophers" (or
                            > theorisers, writers, bloggers, or whatever you want to call them) really
                            > wrote less free software in the last decade than other people (like Linus).
                            > This is because they spent most of their time on free software philosophy.
                            > It doesn't make their ideas any less valid. Sometimes, it makes their ideas
                            > even more worth listening to because their ideas have been well-researched,
                            > well- thought out, and well written.

                            I feel that I've written less code lately, and instead wrote more philosophy.
                            That's what I feel I'm better at. However, I still have to write some code
                            and be productive in this regard, or else I'll lose my edge.

                            >
                            > Of course, not everybody that has a lot of free time and writes something
                            > is worth listening to. Hitler's book (and again, I hope I'm not invoking
                            > Godwin's law ;-))

                            No, it does not.

                            > was written while he was in jail, and had a lot of time
                            > to think on his hatred to Jews and come up with all sorts of insane
                            > theories and plans. This is why peer review and hind-sight by the next
                            > generations is important in philosophy, as in any other academic field.
                            > Kant (just to use an example given by Shlomi) is remembered today not
                            > because of some arbitrary reason, but because his peers and successors
                            > thought that his theories were interesting, important, and that we have
                            > something to learn from them, even if not all of them are considered 100%
                            > correct. Just like Newton's is still considered important to learn, even
                            > though later generations found that in many cases, his laws aren't actually
                            > correct, and have been ammended by relativity, quantum physics, and so on.

                            Well, it is important not to take anything for granted. I used to find a lot
                            of value in Marx' theory, but then after reading Neo-Tech, and other
                            Objectivist writing, and taking the time to digest it, found Marxism to be
                            more and more stupid, and can actually prove it.

                            As you may well know, there are many ways of explicit or implicit censorship:
                            state-governed censorship (Modern day China, the Communism in Eastern
                            Europe), abusive laws such as the DMCA, or copyright takedown notices etc.
                            All of these prevent the proper growth and expansion of knowledge:

                            http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

                            Regards,

                            Shlomi Fish

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                            Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

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