By Alan Griffiths

Overload, 8(36):, March 2000

A Word from the C++ SIG Organiser

Before April 1999 Overload was exclusively the journal of the C++ Special Interest Group. Accordingly, the material submitted reflected the interests of that group. A lot of people, including myself felt that this was restricting the development of the journal and that a broader territory would be beneficial to Overload.

Changes take time, but as the year sped past nothing happened; Overload remained healthy but the material remained much the same. Until issue 35. Now some of the problems can be put down to a new production process going awry, but there is a much more serious matter to consider.

The Overload editorial team and contributors have developed a patch of intellectual space and made it theirs (this is a process that Eric S Raymond refers to as "homesteading" in his paper Homesteading the Noosphere http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings /homesteading/ ). As they receive no financial reward for their efforts the recognition this accords them is important.

Technology drives social change and the increasing ease with which intellectual property such as software and articles can be distributed is making its impact felt. Look at the rise of the "free software" movement started by visionaries such as Richard Stallman (check out http://www.fsf.org/ ).

The free software movement is an example of a "gift culture" where status is attained by making the most generous gifts. Of course, one focuses ones efforts on what matters to oneself and hopes to benefit from the reciprocal gifts of others. But the status accorded to those that make gifts is the reason that such care is taken in correct attribution.

ACCU in general and the production of Overload in particular is also a gift culture, I write articles for Overload and I treasure the moments when someone whose opinion I respect makes a favourable reference to one of them. It is the attribution that gives status. With issue 35 the boundaries of the "Overload Homestead" have been challenged. John Merrells appears as editor in the inside front cover, but clearly didn't write the editorial, and did not edit the "Derivatives" section.

Society has a way of viewing anything that promotes self as impolite. And I'm sure John and his team are too polite to complain on their own behalf, but the homestead they have been tending will revert to wilderness if they do not receive the recognition they deserve.

I call on the Journal Editor, the Overload editorial team, the Overload contributors, and all you Overload readers to make your best efforts to preserve a clear identity for Overload and continuity with its past.

The "Campaign for Real Overload" starts here!

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