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The case of the fire-breathing gnomes. An example of a BenevolentDictator at work.

In June 2001, the gnome-hackers mailing list went on a spurious flamefest about whether to use the newly created bonobo-conf or the older gconf configuration tool. Martin Baulig, Gnome's release coordinator, had unilaterally reverted the changes Havoc Pennington had made to use bonobo-conf in Gnome 2.0. This naturally irked a lot of people, considering that the bonobo-conf vs. gconf argument was a very old one, and it's rather rude to casually throw out someone's work. The typical flamewar events happened:

Naturally, the real problem was that the combatants were arguing with IntelligenceFailure. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Our BenevolentDictator, MiguelDeIcaza?, leader of the Gnome project, [weighs in] a few days into the bloodbath. Like a good leader, he tries to put things back into perspective:

"I did not see Martin's post as an ultimatum, I guess I saw it as another instance when someone is too tired to keep arguing in his defense when his work is being criticized . . . Do I think this is fair to treat Martin in the way Mathieu did? no, I do not think so."

"I saw two people quit the Linux Networking project in the early days of Linux due to flamage of a few people . . . The same thing happened with the original creator of Wine."

As well as show the greater vision for the GroupDynamics?:

"We have to turn the GNOME community around and make this community a tolerant community, and a community of love . . . Let's please put behind all the crap about conspiracy theories, and try to do what is best for GNOME as a platform; Lets compensate and give our love and support to those who are actually contributing their work and sweat to the project; To those that promote the platform; To those that spend their time going through Bugzilla and contacting maintainers and have little time to express their opinions in public . . . I am more interested in propositive, constructive comments, anything else will just add to the already huge amount of noise. "

And finally, the killer quote:

"You can now flame me, I am full of love, and will ignore any insults, because that is how good my Gnus filter is."

This remarkably changed the tone of the discussion. The conflict entered a rather rare and positive phase: DoubleLoopLearning?. [5] (read the thread for a few messages from this point)

Also, our BenevolentDictator deftly denies the calls for more rules. [6] [7] In this last one, he applied NameTheConflict to identify the real cause for the problem--IntelligenceFailure.



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