[Fsf-Debian] Alliance, and respecting diversity of views

Ian Jackson ijackson at chiark.greenend.org.uk
Mon Jul 9 17:31:19 UTC 2012

The purpose of this list is to try to find common ground between
Debian and the FSF, and try to improve relations.  I've just read the
archives of this list so far, and there have been a numer of dogmatic
statements (on both sides) which are in danger of making that very

What I would like to see is members of Debian and FSF treat each other
like allies.  Treating someone as an ally means focusing on areas of
agreement, not disagreement.  It means seeing things from one's
allies' point of view.

When you have a disagreement with an ally, it means not presenting
arguments that aren't going to be convincing to the ally.  If you
can't convince your ally on some point then the right thing to do is
not to browbeat them harder.  The right thing to do is to agree to
differ, and move onto a topic where cooperation is possible.

If you're not sure how your ally will react then you need to ask them,
respectfully, whether (for example) they are doing some thing
deliberately, and whether it might be acceptable to do something

And, finally, statements that "my side will never agree to X" are
generally unhelpful.  Particularly if they come from people without
the authority to say so.


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