Murray's Blog

Ignoring the awkwards

I was reading an article about London's mayor, Ken Livingston, in the Economist last week. It reminded me of the attitude that an open source maintainer must often have. Livingstone believed that people do not need to drive their cars in central London, and that a) the majority of people should not have to suffer just because a minority do not understand that, and b) that loony minority will pay for the luxury if it's so important to them. He knew that once you clear the roads of all that empty metal then you can improve public transport, and thus remove the need to drive in the first place. There was a lot of opposition to the congestion charge, but Livingston knew that he was right and did not believe that the loudest voices were the most representative. I visited London a few months ago and the streets were noticeably calmer, with just commercial vehicles to be seen. Ken Livingston just got re-elected.

Likewise, in GNOME, maintainers sometimes have to ignore people who think they are shouting on behalf of the majority, because the maintainers know that they do not, and because the maintainers have actually thought things through.

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