The high road

Christopher Cozad ccozad at
Sat May 10 12:31:42 EDT 2008

I think I may see a light at the end of this tunnel. It completely  
depends upon which way you look down the tunnel.

Fred, I think I understand your intentions, just as I think I  
understand David and Clifford's intentions.

You are in a very strong position to assist in determining how the  
community progresses - together or apart.

Let me offer this look at the real situation we are facing by starting  
with 2 powerful statements from your last email.

On May 10, 2008, at 9:17 AM, Fred Brinkman wrote:
> ... They make my life easier and in return I ask them to come to  
> EurOmnis, to be a speaker, to spent half the week presenting  
> sessions and then send them home knackered... so far for  
> gratitude... ;-)
> ... I am willing to do everything in my power, how little that may  
> be, to prevent people from hijacking the Omnis Community for their  
> personal gain and financial motives, pulling up a façade of  
> righteousness and 'knowing what's best for the riffraff'.

Depending upon how we choose to read this, we could conclude that in  
order to fulfill your own goals you would need to cease charging a  
registration fee for your EurOmnis conferences.


If we took this email literally and did not know you, we would expect  
that you would soon be informing us all that you have chosen to live  
by your own words and are no longer in this for personal gain ("they  
make my life easier") and have no more financial motives("... so far  
for gratitude" and back from your May 5 email, "you need enough people  
to make sure you do not loose money, to say is disrespectfully; you  
need 'bums on seats'."). And you would be campaigning vociferously  
against hijacking efforts.

You realize, it could almost sound like you were throwing stones from  
a glass house.

But, doesn't that all sound a bit silly? That isn't what you meant, is  

I would instead choose to believe that you are saying you love the  
Omnis technology as we all do, and wish to see it remain a part of all  
our lives for a long time to come. And you don't wish to see that  
spoiled by anybody.

I believe you are not alone. In fact, I believe nearly everyone (David  
and Clifford included) share that wish.

I also believe we have a very small community with limited resources -  
enough - but still limited.

I believe there has been spirited competition for some of those  

I believe we have witnessed distinct approaches to that competition.

And I believe the strong personalities needed to make the competition  
successful have, at times, seriously clashed.

And I would assume that, just as you hope to profit enough from a  
EurOmnis conference in order to afford to provide another conference  
or other valuable service to the Omnis community, you would recognize  
others' financial motives in similar light.

If it is possible to put aside the belief systems and the business  
models and the personal opinions, and just look at the financial  
motives alone...

... can we see that there is indeed common ground? Or do we continue  
to all go our separate ways because we choose not to find the common  

Doug Kuyvenhoven and others have just started a new mailing list.

I am sure you realize that if there was ever an opportunity to "hijack  
the Omnis Community", and if we really wanted to look at it this way,  
it could appear we just witnessed an attempt at it, a coup d'etat, if  
you will. A further effort to divide up the community. And you would  
jump all over such a hijack attempt.

But is that really what happened? More important, is this what we  
really all believe? And is it what we want to see? More division?

If I remember, you did not want the community to perceive EurOmnis as  
some divisive, new conference designed to eventually destroy  
OmnisCentral by siphoning off resources. Instead, you viewed it as a  
European solution for local Omnis developers. And others shared your  
view. And it quickly became much more than just a local solution. It  
attracted International speakers as well as attendees. And it was  
successful enough to do it again. Nevertheless, business is business  
and this small community got to experience the reality of business  
first hand. The painful reality of business is not the problem. The  
reaction to it is the problem.

"The List" as it has been known all these years did not go anywhere.  
There was no downtime and no re-subscribing. "The List" is still "The  
List". I am writing this email to "The List" which still services the  
Omnis community. It is well established and it (apparently) isn't  
going anywhere.

History will look back on these days and say, 'The guys that were  
hosting the list entrusted it to others who are now hosting the list.  
And there was a web portal and a conference. Then there was another  
conference. And then the previous guys took down their web portal and  
ceased their conference efforts. And then some other guys started  
another list.'

Or something like that.

Again, pull all the personal stuff out of it and I am sure you agree  
that if you look at it this way you can see there was a loss to an  
already beleaguered community. Regardless of who or why or how, that  
is never a good thing.

If we can all set aside this insidious need to divide, this "us versus  
them" mentality, the need to be right, long enough to have a look at  
the repercussions of all our actions, we may actually see the problem,  
overcome this dispute and be stronger for it. I am not naive enough to  
suggest that we all simply "love one another and it will all work  
out". Business is business and everybody doesn't win all the time. But  
we can indeed cooperate for the survival of the community. And we may  
prove we are able to do so without being complete assholes in the  
process (this last point is, as yet, unproven in most business  
environments - but I hold out hope <grin>).

Understandably, there has been lively debate over the last year or two  
regarding the distribution of these extremely limited resources coming  
from a very small technology community. A new load on those resources  
has just been established. I would express a concern that this can  
translate (later) into cost to the community. It has absolutely  
nothing to do with the pride of ownership or the beating of chests or  
the drawing of battle lines or determining a victor.

We all know that volunteer efforts are costly to the volunteers .  
Sometimes people use "loss-leaders" (products designed to be free only  
in the beginning) in order to gain market (or community) entrance  
(remember those 'financial motives' you had mentioned earlier). Other  
times, what starts out as a free, humanitarian, philanthropic service  
gets a huge dose of reality - and that product or service either  
suffers from atrophy due to under-funding or grows up into a fee-based  
version of it's former self. And we have examples and combinations of  
the above all throughout Omnis. Whatever the motives are that inspire  
the creation of new products or services, the fact remains that it  
costs resources to do any of these things. But that's all OK by me.  
That is the world as I know it. And I know you live in that same world.

I have confirmed that Brian O'Sullivan, Dan Ridinger, Fred Haislmaier  
and Mark Phillips are currently donating their time to continue to  
sustain the Omnis List. Distributing the load upon four shoulders  
could minimize the possibility of the effort becoming too costly for  
any one person, thus ensuring it's survival. Should the need to  
supplement their effort arise, I will have no problem in understanding  

Just as I understand the need to charge for conferences.

Just as I understand the need to charge for products and services.

I hope all of you in the Omnis community can generate sufficient  
income to sustain your interest in this technology and keep it alive,  
let alone help it to thrive. Whether you are employed where Omnis is  
supported, or you sell Omnis products or services, I encourage your  

Just remember, whther we are talking about Omnis or anything else,  
when money is at stake and there are limited resources to compete for  
- watch the behavior.

Take a step back, catch a breath, and think of where we were (and are)  
all trying to go. We already had the facilities to get there.  
Introducing more facilities may seem smart at the time, but there are  

In this light, we had one conference choice. Then EurOmnis was  
started. Today we are back to having one conference choice.

The List existed and persists. Now a new list has started.

Maybe we could consider returning to the front of the tunnel and just  
use the List we have. Is it in any way not sufficient?

Maybe we could avoid the dark tunnel altogether.


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