[rms at gnu.org: Some problems on gnucash.org]

Thomas Bushnell BSG tb at becket.net
Thu Aug 10 22:49:31 EDT 2006

It seems to me that this is a case where it is wise not to declare war
and wise not to declare marriage.  War helps nobody, and marriage has
its risks too.

I have a lot of experience in dealing with RMS, and the very last
think we want to do is get into a conversation about the question "Is
GnuCash part of the GNU Project?"  He will insist that the answer is
yes, and begin imposing rules if he thinks it is necessary to force
the "marriage".  If the GnuCash developers protest hard enough, the
result will only be that RMS will attempt to find a new gnucash
maintainer (!) and appoint them the "official" GnuCash maintainer.  Of
course that doesn't affect anything directly, but it produces an
instant code fork for no good reason.

The current situation is happily ambiguous, in which we are all (both
GnuCash and the GNU Project) reaping the benefits of a marriage
without needing to enter in to all the long-term promises which that

Let's be very careful not to get our hackles up and declare war in our
eagerness to avoid an unwanted marriage, however; and let me warn:
clear statements like "we are not married and we never will be" will
be interpreted by RMS as a declaration of war.  Of course, that
interpretation will be wrong, but it doesn't matter, because the
result will be war, and it doesn't matter much whose fault the war is
once it is going full swing.

My suggestion is this: we tell RMS "thanks for the support and the
congratulations on the release; we are excited about the future of the
GnuCash project too," and then to make the trivial website
modifications requested without any feeling "we are doing this because
we are married and we have to."

Let's just make the website modifications because this will help us
maintain peace.  If RMS makes a truly unreasonable demand in the
future, we can address that then.  But the current request poses no
real problems, and so in the interests of comity, I suggest we take
it up, but without saying that we are doing so in response to his


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