The Invisible Hand

Matthew C. Weigel weigel+ at
Sun Sep 30 05:20:37 UTC 2001

On Sat, 29 Sep 2001, David Johnson wrote:

> You're not seeing the forest through the trees. The "invisible hand"
> is the forest.

No, I'm seeing hills, and you're calling it a forest.

The FSF and OSI distance themselves from one another politically, and
advocates of one over another disagree, but NO ONE says the things you
are ascribing to them.

> The point of my post was that no matter how hard you try to do the
> socially right thing, you end up being pragmatic, and no matter how
> hard you try to be practical, you end up helping the community.

It just so happens that the people involved with the OSI are
*motivated* by the social/ethical concerns, but try to present the
pragmatic issues in order to convince people.  They are not trying to
be pragmatic, they are simply accepting that other people are (and
trying to speak to their concerns).

Once a developer has bought it, it really doesn't matter whether open
source is *actually* pragmatic or not (as long as they don't pull it
back out).

If it happens to not be pragmatic for a particular developer, then NO,
being pragmatic and being socially conscious do not have the same
 Matthew Weigel
 Research Systems Programmer
 mcweigel at ne weigel at

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