September 19, 2001

A place for the community to discuss terrorist attacks: compassion@dotgnu.org

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

Members of the Open Source and Free Software communities continue to feel the effects of last Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the United States, with community responses ranging from anger to concern over civil liberties to desire to discuss the events.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman have called for vigilance in protecting civil rights, while some in the community have suggested that a clamp-down on civil rights may be the price the United States has to pay to fight terrorism (see the responses to Stallman's article).

Amid those debates, the DotGNU project has opened a new mailing list, called compassion@dotgnu.org, for members of the community to discuss the events of the last week. Barry Fitzgerald, a member of the DotGNU Steering Committee, says the list will be an open one to discuss the terrorist attacks and related subjects.

But he also urged restraint among list members. "Please be compassionate and treat
others in this list with respect," Fitzgerald wrote to the DotGNU-developers list. "There is room for disagreement. There is no room for brutal grandstanding. Please join and share your emotions."

Fitzgerald says part of the reason for the new list is to move such discussions away from the DotGNU-developers list. But he also acknowledged the need for people to work through their emotions.

"Many people harbor many different political opinions all over
the world," he wrote to the DotGNU developers list. " I personally feel that these diverse political opinions are
what gives us strength. These diverse opinions provide us with a sense
of refinement in our systems. Without our differences, we could never
adapt in a positive way to the events around us. As such, everybody
has something different to say about these horrible events. This has
affected everybody in a mutually unique way."

To join the list, go to http://dotgnu.org/mailman/listinfo/compassion.

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