[TOS] First draft of textbook: introductory chapter (foreword?)

MJ Ray mjr at phonecoop.coop
Thu Sep 10 08:54:39 UTC 2009

Chris Tyler <chris at tylers.info> wrote:
> The Teaching Open Source initiative, like most other Free Software/Open
> Source projects, is a meritocracy (or a doitocracy), where your
> influence scales with your contribution. So if your co-op enabled and
> encouraged you to work on TOS stuff, you could certainly use the term
> Free Software in your textbook chapter or sub-project or new wiki
> material, and I don't think anyone would change it. On the other hand,
> if your main contribution is a global string change on the wiki...

I feel that's simply not true.  Firstly, this project is not a
do-ocracy, as demonstrated by the reaction when I offered to do work
to open participation beyond those who accept the current
exclusively-open-source position: no-one was willing even just to add
a ServerAlias for a TFOSS domain name, let alone open the wiki source
to enable an alternative template for requests on that domain (I think
it would be good to replace the unnecessary Javascript-based menu with
CSS too).  Actually, no-one even admitted to having access to edit
those!  That's a no-will-do-ocracy - ruling by ignoring offers to
help open participation.  It's saying that anyone can drive the pool
car, but hiding the keys.

Secondly, if each author can use whatever term they wish in their
chapters, what's the point of the section in the introduction?

Furthermore, I suspect it was my edits to put FOSS instead of OSS in
the textbook outline which provoked that FOSS-go-away section with the
misleading Richard Stallman part-quote in the introduction.

This seems similar to the well-known discussions about "constructive
engagement" in the field of social responsibility.  There comes a
point when you wonder if enough people in the org are so determined
not to respect a view that engagement will be subverted and used
(or search for the other articles on that worker co-op's website.)

So, while I didn't vote for the decision, I had no evidence to the
contrary to offer the other members that constructive engagement would
actually construct something useful.  Have I overlooked the cases
where this project has become more inclusive of pro-freedom views?

MJ Ray (slef)  LMS developer and webmaster at     | software
www.software.coop http://mjr.towers.org.uk        |  .... co
IMO only: see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html |  .... op

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