Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th Dec 2009 15:16 UTC, submitted by chully
Gnome Over the weekend, there has been a bit of a ruffling of the feathers over in the GNOME camp. It started with complaints received about the content on Planet GNOME, and ended with people proposing and organising a vote to split GNOME from the GNU Project.
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[q]This makes no sense. You're just inventing your own definition of consistency, unless you think that contradiction == adaptation.

You clearly misunderstand what I'm trying to say.

A lot of people have this perception that leaders NEED to be consistent AT ALL COSTS. That consistency in and of itself is a redeeming quality that BY DEFINITION makes you a good leader.

This is absolute bogus. Consistency makes you bad leader. A good leader adapts, dare to admits his mistakes, dares to change policies based on the ever-changing nature of the world around him. A good leader is not set in his convictions, he bases his convictions on the world around him.

Riiiiight. To quote Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others". Unfortunately, he was a comedian and you're being serious.

This is what happens in politics, where the only real principle is "I'll do or say anything that fits with the prevailing moods in my society (which sometimes I help manipulate) in order to stay in power".

That's why even the biggest Christian party in The Netherlands supports gay marriage, euthanasia, and abortion: because Dutch society deems these things important, valuable, and a sign of progress, freedom, and civility.

That's all well and good Thom, and I'm glad to hear it. Given the self-proclaimed strength of your principles, I suppose that if 20 years down the road Dutch society starts thinking that all these things are now uncivilised again, that will be A-OK with you.

Have you ever wondered why churches are running low on visitors in Western Europe? It's because many church leaders refuse to adapt their convictions to the changing world around them. The FSF will go down the same route if it continues this way.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of this discussion. Free Software is not a religion, it is only called that by its detractors. Oh, and while we're at it, its "tenets" are not demonstrably false.

In summation: changing one's convictions and principles based on the changing nature of the world is a GOOD thing. Radically holding one to one's convictions in spite of the ever-changing world is a BAD thing - no matter how well these convictions may have served you in the past.

What you're describing is a good way to be absolutely feckless, with little hope of affecting any change unless you happen to jump on the right bandwagon.

Holding someone to their self-proclaimed convictions is radical? I'm sorry, but you keep throwing logical fallacies after non-sequiturs after etymological fallacies at me, and I have no desire to dissect them all.

It's OK for you to only be temporarily principled, i.e., basically unprincipled, whatever. However, in your last and earlier posts you're conflating politics, leadership and science, at the very least. Some ideas for you:

"Great leaders" have followers because they stick to their ideals, come what may (where said ideals are not "anything, so long as I'm the leader").

The FSF has always stood for software freedom and the proliferation of free software (both as defined by them).

Scientists do have one uncompromising principle, also known as search for the truth. Falsification of flawed theories and subsequent reassessment of one's understanding of how things work is the whole point of science.

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