A recent message to the cc-icommons mailing list pointed readers to a self-described “slick” critical report of the iSummit held in Rio earlier this year. The reporter, Andrew Garton, takes Creative Commons to task for the “self-congratulatory” atmosphere, the acceptance of Microsoft as a sponsor and our apparently over-zealous promotion of Microsoft’s CC licensing plugin for Microsoft Office (among other things). Garton questions if the same response would have been equal had a similar plugin been developed for OpenOffice.org. I can’t speak for Creative Commons as an organization or any other staff member. What I can say is that I would personally have been even more enthusiastic about an OOo version, because that would mean I could actually use it.
I think that critical self-examination is a good thing, both at the personal and organizational level. But after an initial read, here’s the rub in my mind:
- Implying that we would be less enthusiastic about an OOo plugin because we accepted sponsorship from Microsoft is at best the moral equivalent of an ad hominem argument.
- The scholarships CC handed out to enable greater (broader) attendance of the iSummit weren’t free; they relied on, uh, sponsorship.
- We can’t even debate how well we would promote an OOo plugin because no one has written one. It’s not like I took time out of my work schedule to write a Microsoft plugin or even to assist them with coding. They simply took advantage of our **publicly available** web services and built it.
- The amount of crap I took at the iSummit as a CC employee for “helping Microsoft” was, well, ridiculous. If you want something different, maybe you should stop whining about it and start coding.
- Red noses are dumb. Throwing paper wads at the presenter from Microsoft (which Garton fails to mention as another “protest” action) is not only disrespectful, but makes you look like a child. A spoiled, petulant brat of a child. [God, I’ve been wanting to say that for months!]
So those are my own initial thoughts. As I was reading the PDF in Evince, I happened to look at the document properties. Huh, that’s interesting. Written using Microsoft Word, generated used Distiller for Microsoft WIndows.
“Mmmm… that’s some good irony; with just a hint of hypocrisy.”