The land of the Mice, a bedtime story

Craig Latta craig at
Tue Jul 3 02:26:03 UTC 2007

Hi Göran and everyone--

     Whoa, I guess it's way past time for an update from the board. ;)
(Seriously, it's way past time and as de facto board secretary I do

     We are in the final stages of discussion with the Software Freedom
Law Center[1] about Squeak joining as a member project of their Software
Freedom Conservancy[2]. By "final" I mean that we have a legal agreement
in front of us, we're discussing slight modifications to it, and we're
about to sign it. After the board and the SFLC are happy with it, we
will forward it to squeak-dev. We intend to sign it within a couple of
weeks after that. I'm acting as the liaison between the board and the
SFLC. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Ron Teitelbaum again
for suggesting and advocating working with the SFLC.

     If you are surprised that we've done this without enough public
discussion (although we did mention it on squeak-dev at multiple points
in the past), again please accept our apologies. We believe we are doing
what you elected us to do.

     Please do follow the SFLC and Conservancy links to remind yourself
why this will be a good arrangement. Basically, they will handle the
legal stuff, including being able to accept tax-exempt donations on
Squeak's behalf. Stay tuned for the minute details, most likely after
the board meeting on 18 July, where we will have SFLC counsel as a guest.

     Yes, this is all taking much longer than any of us would like. But
it's happening! Zoom out a little bit and remember some of the things
we've (finally) accomplished:

-    The original Squeak release is now available to us under better
license terms (that took a lot of personal cajoling on the part of
myself and several others)

-    We are very close to having written consent to new terms on behalf
of each subsequent contributor to Squeak.

-    We are on the verge of allying the project with an organization
that will make us legally viable.


     Now, as for the bedtime story: while I enjoyed it immensely, I
think it does point out a not-so-subtle problem that our community has.
Some reverence for those who have come before you is good, but I think
we take it a little too far. Yes, Dan and the rest of the original
Squeak team are very talented, but we should also realize that they had
financial support for their efforts. We are simply not working with the
external resources that they had.

     I think we are too quick to frame technical decisions with the
question "What would they have done?" We need to think for ourselves; no
one has all the answers. The Squeak team has achieved a wonderful thing,
and has made an amazing gift of it to us, but we should not be
distracted from our own powers.

     For my own part, I am always eager to lend whatever help I can,
including making executive decisions. I've certainly made a few in the
process of making us legally "real", and I think it's turning out well.
I have no problem speaking for the board to the rest of the community,
and to others on behalf of the community. I'm not going to force myself
on anyone, I think that's just unrealistic amongst peers. Rather, I will
continue to act on our behalf as long as I'm asked.

     Our other big problem is that everyone is generally too polite to
do anything that smacks of autocracy (despite an apparent longing for it
:). This is normal-- we're friendly people. I'm willing, however, to
wield whatever authority is given to me (and I am :).




Craig Latta
improvisational musical informaticist
Smalltalkers do: [:it | All with: Class, (And love: it)]

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