[kwlug-disc] Security arguments

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Fri Oct 2 19:17:12 EDT 2009

> What I mean by "guts" is a willingness to fall on your face in public.

That is true, and I agree.

> And this happens not just at the start, but at every sub-starting point
> of your project, when you tackle something new.

My take is a little bit different. The fear barrier is a mental one that
is most difficult at the start. Once you jump in, it is no longer that

> Imagine Linus Torvalds being confronted with something core to kernel
> programming that he doesn't know.  (Work with me here.) :-)  It would
> take some guts to admit it  openly and ask for help.  Conversely, pride
> might motivate the project leader to learn quickly in order to save face.
> Either tactic benefits the project (and can happen together), but I would
> argue that it takes a more skilled person to regularly pull off the second
> method.  There's always a risk you'll fall on your face.  Might as well
> manage that risk with some humility and guts... the community notices.

So, your points are:

1. Admit you don't know and openly ask for help.

2. Learn more in order to lessen #1.

Both are true, and apply in different situations at different times.

So, I would add a few random thoughts:

3. Realize that the community as a whole is far better than a few
people, and continually detect and solicit improvements. Sometimes
being "lazy" works in open source. Others will do a lot of work for
various reasons (scratch their own itch, being paid by their client/company,
spare time + idealism, ...).

4. Learn to detect fluff (empty criticism, aggressiveness, trollishness,
and steer around it so it does not poison the community (e.g. lose other

5. Adjust continually to community growing pains (you will not be able to
read every email or forum post forever, you will get the suits involved

6. "Good enough" is always quite good. It will be continually improved
over time, by a team of contributors. Don't try to get it perfect from the
start. It never is.

Perhaps this is just my personality, but I would not want to be in
> Dan Bernstein's shoes.  He's set himself up on such a high pedestal
> that the fall would be pretty severe.  Fortunately for him, he's doing
> ok so far. :-)

He is a lone cowboy. His personality is like that, and has alienated people
in the past. He does not know what he is missing by not having a community.

I would rank "Community" as the most important aspect of FOSS, after
Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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