Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 12:36:40 -0500 From: "Eric S. Raymond" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Guest editorial: Time Out - Linux (LWN, you're welcome to publish this. In fact, I wish you would.) > Why would VA Linux do this? Andover.net will increase VA's revenue stream, > but with losses of almost 8:1, I can't imagine that investors were really > pushing for something like this. I may be wrong, but I also can't imagine > some of VA's advisors recommending this. (And ESR has been > deafeningly silent on this issue as well.) As a matter of fact, I was among those on the VA board who actively advocated the Andover acquisition. I believe it will prove to be a good thing for the community. Actually, I've laughed pretty hard on the few occasions that people have since wondered in print if Slashdot's integrity would be compromised. Because I know exactly what would happen if anybody at VA tried to make the Slashdot guys toe a corporate line, or repeat VA propaganda, or even just grow up a little. First, Rob and Jeff would send Larry Augustin or me outraged email. Second, it's a coin toss whether Larry or me would be more pissed off. Third, whoever tried to lean on them would have to come up with a very good excuse for behaving like an utter idiot, or be fired on the spot. The key people at VA all understand how badly we would be damaged if Rob and Jeff felt they had no choice but to go public with a censorship complaint. And this is not just about Slashdot. Larry and I know that VA's reputation for playing it absolutely straight with the community is our most important and most fragile asset. Computer parts are cheap. Buildings are easy. Even people can be replaced. The unique web of trust we have with Linux hackers everywhere is what makes VA a potent force -- and such a web, once torn, can never be mended to be quite as good as it was. I think the community instinctively understands that we can't afford to mess with Slashdot; it would be suicide to try. That's a brute fact. Your editorial is all hypotheticals, second-order stuff, what might happen to this perception if that perception changes. Your concern is, IMO, understandable but way too fine-spun. I won't ask you not to criticize VA, but I will ask you to judge us by our record and by our actions rather than taking counsel of your fears. We depend on and serve the Linux and open-source communities; that's our mission, where we came from, and who we are. It's why I'm on Larry's board of directors, and you have my personal promise as well as my official one that we will never deliberately violate that trust. -- <a href="http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr">Eric S. Raymond</a> Don't ever think you know what's right for the other person. He might start thinking he knows what's right for you. -- Paul Williams, `Das Energi'