Re: Money, democracy, and transparency

From: Anand Pillai <abpillai_at_nospammail_dot_net>
Date: Sat Aug 16 2003 - 14:37:03 CDT

I am certainly not involved in this project for any money, because at
this stage I would like more experience and interaction with some of the
top
experts in programming concepts and security like Dr. David Mertz.
I am solely involved in this project for that purpose. Any name it brings
to me if I do a good work, or any money if there is some at the end, is
of a very distant concern to me.

I also joined this project because it was announced in c.l.py group as
an opensource project. Now according to my belief, an opensource project
is one which uses a license approved by the OSI and nothing else. It
seemed
natural that this project will adopt some kind of opensource license
along the
way when I initially agreed to take up lead developer role and contribute
to this project, both in my time as well as my efforts.

After reading through all the 30 or so mails on the discussions about
this topic,
I have some strong concerns. I spend upto 3-4 hours a day on this
project,
apart from managing my regular career in the office and my personal
affairs.
If at the end of this day all of my work is (apparently) going towards
making
money for person or a group of persons I have not even met, I have strong
reservations about continuing in this project. Who knows whether the
University
of California or whoever, if they take over will even keep my name in
the source
code? I may not even get the narrowest visibility an opensource developer
expects,
that is having his name in the source code files (in the
comments/headers) because
perhaps the people who take over the code might decide to remove it. (who
knows?)
The people who commercialize the code might decide to "throw away" the
original
code, but still borrow its concepts. Since an opensource kind of license
(OSL, LGPL,
GLP, BSD etc) is not enforced, this will be a pretty easy task since
AFAIK only the
OSI approved licenses enforce any kind of control over derived source
code or
derived licenses based on the original work. A commercial license does
not do that
since the licensing terms based on the actual source code is not really
relevant in
a commercial setup, as it is based on the binaries or the bytecodes.

It is surprising that this project apparently looked on the way to
adopting a proper
opensource development methodology, but now is talking in terms of
intellectual
property to a person or a group of persons. Let me ask then what the poor
developer
who did the *throw away* demo gets? A word of mention maybe? 100 or so
mails
in this list? Or some kind of "thanks a lot for your work and your
motivation" mail?
If I am working in an opensource project for making someone else rich,
then I might
as well devote that time doing a closed source project of myself, which
might one
day benefit me financially. I dont care about my mails being archived in
this list for the
future, since I am involved in many other opensource community projects
apart from
this. They are actually truly opensource by the way. I might not have
said this
before, but in the light of the mails exchanged here, I would like to
stress that point.

I am at present involved in many community (especially python) and
personal
projects most of which are truly opensource. Heck, my python page albeit
a
small effort is listed in google under the heading "Opensource software
written in python".
All my freshmeat projects are under OSI approved licenses and their
sourcecode is
available for download. I have listed EVM 2003 also in my homepage
thinking that
it was a true opensource approach at promoting ransparency and security
of election
processes, whose code would be written in python, a language I love to
program in.
Exactly the same reasons David has mentioned.

It would have been a gentleman's decision to let us developers know
beforehand that
the project was aimed at developing a commercial solution managed by a
select
coterie one day right during the announcement of this project in c.l.py.
That would have
given at least a person like me who belives firmly in the opensource
philosophy sometime
to ponder over before actually joining this project.

I am not sure of continuing my contribution to this project in any
capacity before this
issue is not sorted out. And in the way I see it there might be only one
way to sort it
out, that is by announcing an OSI approved license for this project in
its sourceforge
page.

 I want to inform everybody else in this project that I am suspending my
 time and effort
devoted for this project till then. . I am also a busy person in my own
little way and has my
own ideas and projects, where I can devote a better time in terms of
trusting trust, adherence to
ideals and the spirit of opensource.

Best regards

Anand Pillai

On Fri, 15 Aug 2003 16:17:10 -0400, "David Mertz"
<voting-project@gnosis.cx> said:
> "Alan Dechert" <adechert@earthlink.net> wrote:
> |Okay. FYI, I have in the neighborhood of $200,000 of my time and
> |expenses invested in the project so far (beginning in Nov of 2000 with
> |first published descriptions in Dec of 2000)....I intend to recover
> |these costs.
>
> This quite exacerbates my concerns. I got involved because I wanted to
> promote transparency and security of election processes... NOT because
> of a desire to remunerate Mr. Dechert. It sure looks here like Alan
> puts the getting money thing very high in his concern, and the democracy
> thing as a sort of peripheral issue (I suspect said opportunity costs
> were inflated too, but that's minor).
>
> I do not wish to contribute my code (nor encourage others to) for the
> narrow purpose of putting money in some particular persons pocket.
> Heck, not even if it were my own pocket, but certainly not someone
> else's.
>
> Yours, David...
>
> --
> _/_/_/ THIS MESSAGE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Postmodern Enterprises
> _/_/_/
> _/_/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[mertz@gnosis.cx]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> _/_/
> _/_/ The opinions expressed here must be those of my employer...
> _/_/
> _/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/ Surely you don't think that *I* believe them! _/_/
>

-- 
  Anand Pillai
  abpillai@nospammail.net
-- 
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Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:10 2003

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