[OT] Re: Python training time (was)

David K. Trudgett dkt at registriesltd.com.au
Tue Feb 25 23:35:11 CET 2003

Hi again,

On Tuesday 2003-02-25 at 11:28:00 +0000, Martijn Faassen wrote:

> > On the specific point of ESR's, that the term "free software" gives a
> > bad impression to business people, and that the term "open source" is
> > better used instead, I have to disagree.
> It makes some amount of sense in English, but less so in most other
> languages, where we have separate words for 'free' and 'gratis', too.

True. They are completely different concepts, so it is easy to imagine
most languages would have different words. Italian has 'libero' and
'gratis', just to give one example.

> I can imagine a manager getting daunted by use of the word 'freedom'
> in a business proposition -- people don't associate business so much
> with ideology.

The point I was making, badly probably, is that freedom has lots of
practical advantages for a business, even before one starts talking
about "ideology", as you put it (I don't like the word: it's too close
to 'dogma').

> [snip]
> > I have to agree with RMS that
> > the principle of freedom is the crux, even for business.
> Then again, RMS himself won't make any stunning impression on most
> business people. :)

What sort of businesses do you run over there? :-))

> > I wonder if ESR would prefer the term "free love" to "open monogamy".
> > Which is more important? Openness or freedom? :-)
> He prefers 'polyamorous' as far as I'm aware. :)

And right he is, too! Although, it's not right for everyone. (And it's
darned hard work, I hear.)

> > I would hazard that that is mostly because a lot more people in Europe
> > are exposed to, and know about, the various flavours of communism and
> > how they are supposed to work in theory.
> We're not exposed to communist theory that much. But somehow it seems
> to be less of a bogeyman, even though many europeans saw flavors of 
> communism practiced very much up close.

I remember twenty years ago, when I was trying to read Italian
newspapers, I was surprised at the apparent popularity of "communist"
and "socialist" parties in Italy. For a nominally Catholic country,
that was surprising to me (because when I was a kid/teenager,
'communism' was only associated with that evil system over there in

> > To an outsider, it appears to
> > me that to many Europeans, communism is more something to be wary of
> > than fearful of, and that's mainly because a number of evils can be
> > hidden within one label (authoritarian and totalitarian control being
> > one of them).
> Wariness tends to be closer to wisdom than fear. You fear what you
> don't know and can't get a handle on. You're wary of something you 
> know plenty about and have figured is not a good idea.

That's correct. Or maybe 'plenty' should be 'something'.

> [snip]
> >> Oh, and of course ESR also holds peculiar views not shared by lots of
> >> others in the US -- then again, his set of peculiar views could've only
> >> arisen in the US. :)
> > 
> > Not wishing to comment one way or the other on ESR's well-known views,
> > I can only ask the rhetorical question: "How many geniuses didn't have
> > 'peculiar' views?" :-) That's not to say that peculiar views are any
> > indicator of genius! :-))
> It can also work the other way around. If you're intellectually inclined
> and have some peculiar views *and* you're pretty sure you're right
> about them, you're far more inclined to go go public with them and
> become well known than if your views were a bit more subtle and you 
> were a bit less adamant. Thus, you're far more likely to be recognized
> as a genius if you are unconventional in your thinking *and* adamant about it.
> You got to have both; one isn't enough.

That's an interesting point. I suppose it's really what we expect of a
genius. If a person never says anything that's controversial, they may
possibly still be highly intelligent, but they won't achieve fame as
being a "genius"; i.e., they probably won't be recognised for it.


More information about the Python-list mailing list