Subject: Re: source access vs dynamism
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/08/25
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Erik Naggum
| Linux is a success because it is well _managed_, not because it is Open
| Source.

* Philip Lijnzaad
| yes, but at the same time I cannot conceive of a well managed Linux that
| does not give source access.

  sigh.  neither can I.  _please_ note that my argument is not against
  source access, but against giving it to anyone, without restrictions or
  need or any concept of investment in it.  I have argued for source access
  so much that I really did believe it would be very hard to for anyone to
  confuse the issues, but let me phrase it differently in the hopes that I
  can transcend the apparently strong desire to see this as an access vs no
  access issue: I want source access to be granted by the author/owner to
  those deemed worthy as part of building a community of people who agree
  to co-invest and share knowledge.  I don't want source access to be a
  "right" to be demanded of authors/owners regardless of personal values or
  intentions.  on a higher level, I want to solve better the problem that
  source access is solving badly: helping people get software that works
  the way they, individually, want it to work.

| that might seem so superficially, but big part of the motivation for open
| source developers is to do something well, and be known for it (somehwere
| I read the strange term 'egoboo' for this).  The packages/projects that
| really last fall in this category.

  my argument is that you get more egoboost (I'm sure that's the word you
  saw) out of being part of a community with privileges than you get out of
  having access to source code.  with source access to any stray comer, it
  is actually _harder_ to build the community, and the time it takes to
  deal with the eager incompetents is alarming.

| No: first of all, most packages need recompiling of modified source code
| before the package can be said to have adapted.  This is simply not
| convenient, for neither power user nor layman, and there is clearly an
| incentive to make software adaptable in an easier way.  Secondly,
| adaptability necessarily involves generality and therefore complexity.
| Using this to its full extent will likely remain the domain of the power
| user, and this category of users overlaps with those who'd be inclined to
| change source code anyway.

  I think you miss my point, again: at issue is using _dynamic_ languages.
  I'm arguing that source access is a necessity in the static language camp
  and that by giving people access to source in static languages, you deny
  them the opportunity to do what they really want, which is to add or use
  dynamic properties of the system as delivered.

  if you reply, _please_ keep in mind that I'm not opposed to source
  access, nor do I think that source access is not necessary for a number
  of useful things.  I'm opposed to giving people access to the source as a
  means of "solving" their real problem: insufficiently dynamic software to
  deal with the complexity of real-world applications and people.  most
  people who code leisurely fail to appreciate the inherent complexity of
  every problem that actually deals with real people, and I'm NOT talking
  about the user interface, and I want to remove the source access from
  people who are likely to be hurting themselves and the whole profession
  by doing stuff that they should rather communicate in a human language to
  a human developer.

  save the children: just say NO to sex with pro-lifers