Further thoughts on open source community . . .

Andrew C. Greenberg werdna at mucow.com
Sun Jun 3 20:54:11 UTC 2001

Much has been written in this forum of, on one hand, the "imperative 
of," and on the other, the "anathema of" formulating a 
committee-qua-committee, defined not by the program, but by some 
communally reached statement of purpose.  I noted that it is foolish to 
insist upon choosing between a community-driven artifact and an 
artifact-driven community, noting that they are inherently co-dependent 
notions, neither well-defined without the other.

Nothing in this colloquy has led me to reconsider that view.  I am more 
convinced than ever that a community defined by some theoretical purpose 
rather than an underlying program is doomed to irrelevance, and that an 
ossified artifact program to define a community is likewise doomed.  The 
looser the structure of the community, the better and more flexible it 
will be.  As I was reading some recent criticism of Cas Sunstein's 
"REPUBLIC.COM," the following 1992 quote by Dave Clark of MIT caught my 

	"We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in: rough 
consensus and running code."
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