Re: Formalising the release naming process [Was: GNOME Development Release 2.5.3]

It's a shame how the fun has to be sucked out of absolutely everything
by crap like this.  This is not a flame against Jeff -- I recognize that
his stance is one born of diplomacy and that he is merely recognizing
the situation as it stands.  This is rather a condemnation of the
societal situation that results in everything but the most banal being
interpreted as "offensive" or otherwise \w*-ist.  It's a tyranny of the
overly sensitive and humorless.

It's interesting though that in this case there seems to be no one who
was actually offended, but rather all this resulted merely from the
thought that there theoretically _might_ be someone offended.

As this process continues, GNOME will lose its character and its
identity as a project.  Somewhere, the line will need to be drawn.


On Mon, 2004-02-09 at 16:59, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> <quote who="Tom Lamm">
> > I don't chime in often but.... Let's not throw the baby out with the
> > bathwater.
> I think in this case, we're really not throwing anything out at all:
>   * Obviously, quite a lot of people believe that even development release
>     announcements are representative of GNOME as a project (and potentially
>     the Foundation as an organisation). I didn't really think this was the
>     case, but it is a point that has been made quite noisily, and it seems
>     most of the people who have objected to the current development release
>     name have done so on "representative" grounds of offensiveness, not
>     personal grounds. [1]
>   * Release names are not important. They don't actually mean anything.
>     They're just a bit of random fun. During 2.5, the release naming theme
>     has been quotes from The Big Lebowski, which is a "sacred text" within
>     the GNOME project. Random, wacky, off-topic, etc. Not important. :-)
>   * The aggregate releases - such as the Desktop and Developer Platform -
>     represent everyone who contributed, so a release name selection may or
>     may not appeal to (or even offend) a proportion of those people. Totally
>     disregarding issues of representation, 
>   * Finding or making up release names can actually be a non-trivial amount
>     of work, and as noted above, they're unimportant. Imagine trying to turn
>     this into "a process" or "democratising" it... Insane. We have enough
>     work to do as it is on stuff that is actually important.
>   * There are so many points of cultural failure here. At one stage, we were
>     flamed for putting up an 'themed' GNOME logo for a Muslim celebration. I
>     was actually flamed for being disrespectful to Astrid Lindgren during
>     the pre-2.0 releases because referenced (in Swedish) Pippi Longstocking
>     and her friends! I mean, it was almost an in memoriam (she had recently
>     passed away)! Insane. So, even when we're being funny or nice, there's a
>     chunk of our audience who may see it differently, even if they're a
>     lunatic fringe (which I don't think is the case this time).
> Now, given all of this, I think the right solution is to simply not name the
> cross-project aggregate releases - stable or development - at all. Module
> maintainers will still do whatever they want, and be flamed individually as
> appropriate. We all look forward to Iain and George's release announcements,
> don't we? [2] Anyway, I think this is the Right Thing to do. It's easy and
> hopefully uncontroversial in itself (disappointment is not controversial).
> But then, I thought that was also the case with the flags. :-)
> So, while I didn't believe the release name was that objectionable in
> context, I understand that quite a few people see it differently, and this
> is how I'd like to avoid the problem in future.
> Thanks,
> - Jeff
> [1] Which at least makes me somewhat happier that we're not suddenly veering
> off into an icy, middle-age, social conservativism. What a horrible thought.
> [2] Except, perhaps, all those people who flamed them for being informed
> about the war in Iraq, and other highly political and offensive issues like
> that. But then, maybe they like to flame.

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