American Elections and Such

On November 4, 2008, the people of the United States decided to 'peacefully' change governments as it has done in various forms for the 220 years. As with all elections there are winners and losers. One can look at successful elections when the winners remember that they do not just represent those that voted for them, but all Americans. Another sign of successful sign is when those that did not 'win' do not sit around in sack-cloth and ashes being obstinate and snarly.

One of my grandfather's was about as 'Red' as you can think of someone. He was a Goldwater Republican, a Reagan Republican, and proud of it. But I also remember him getting angry and upset at various people who when Republicans lost during the 1970's wanted to go into 'slash and burn' politics. This was not what he had fought for in World War II, for what he had seen in the camps in Europe after the war was the result of such politics. People have to stand for what they believe in, but also must be able to know that they are usually wrong. [Nobody bats over 0.500 without drugs.]

Its funny, my grandfather didn't 'have much use for Kennedy' but thought that he spoke a truism that people should follow:

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

So what does all this have to do with Free Software Projects?

When you are voted into a position on a board, remember that you represent not just the 50%+ X VOTES who selected you, but everyone.. even the 'ingrate' who called your previous decision to remove XVi from a base build the biggest step backwards your project has ever done. Make sure that while you may not be able to please that 'ingrate'.. you at least listen to them.

When your candidate does not win, do not spend the next four years making sure those that did win can't even tie their shoes without failing. Cutting off one's nose to spite ones face is a time-honoured position of those who have only fear, anger, hatred and despair to rely on. If one can not stand the present governance, work towards changing it, making it listen, or in the end finding a project that better suits ones needs.

And finally, do not ask what your project will do for you, but what 'together we' can do for the Freedom/Libre/Openness of Mankind.


In Memorium: David J Northrop

Today, my good friend David Northrop died at work today. He was my boss and also my friend. While I had heard of him years ago when I was at New Mexico Tech, I had never met David until I was interviewing for a job at UNM a couple of years ago. David was smart, inquisitive and had done it all: startup, big business, hypno-therapist. The hypno therapist was the biggest reason I took the job. From what David told me, he had done hypnotism mainly as a way to hack the brain. It was a pure computer geeks view of how malleable we all are. David was one of those few computer geeks who could do computers and manage people. He was always available when a crisis occurred and was very good about getting out of people's ways when they were getting stuff fixed.

Anyway, he was a good friend, and I will miss him. As David always said on the way out... "Nighty night"