Open Source leader? (was Re: Celebrity advice)

Anton Vredegoor anton at
Fri Sep 5 11:08:48 CEST 2003

aahz at (Aahz) wrote:

>OTOH, Perens is also (like me ;-) a self-described asshole.  When I saw
>him at the Waterside Conference earlier this year, he basically claimed
>that only assholes could make significant progress in the Open Source
>community.  Linus and Guido are obvious counter-examples in some
>respects, but as you point out, they're not really interested in a
>spokesmodel position.

This a dangerous meme so I'll try to expose its working mechanism.

First two related forms:

"Thanks to microsoft which squished all the competition on the
software market, we now have standards and all computer programs are
compatible with the other surviving computer programs"

"Firing people is hard, nobody wants to do the dirty work, so we need
people who don't care about other people to be in charge of big
companies and accordingly they should be paid top salaries"

Excuse my English, but I still hope the readers get the general idea
behind those and other expressions of this very dangerous meme.

The general working mechanism seems to be to accept the current state
of affairs as unavoidable and to deny the possibility that things
could have gone different. Since the "what if" question is paramount
to all progress, this is an effective way to inhibit the creative and
critical capabilities in the human brain.


Since the meme takes different forms all the time one could create a
pattern recognition scheme to identify it and generate antimemes using
a template. For example a derived antimeme for the microsoft form
would be:

-If microsoft hadn't stalled progress in software development by
hiding the algorithms used for their software we would *now* be there
where we will be in twenty years.

An antidote to the antisocial big company leader:

-If people at the top are enriching themselves without any
consideration for those who they should be leading, people lower in
the hierarchy will take this as a role model. One ends up with a lot
of people that don't care.


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