Blackboard conference – Cato or Cicero?

I’ve been invited to give a keynote at the Blackboard user’s conference at Durham on December 14th. I accepted, which might stink of hypocrisy, given what I said in a previous post about boycotting any conference sponsored by BB. However, two things persuaded me – one was that it is the user’s conference organised by BB users in the UK, and not sponsored by BB, and the second was that I stated I wanted to talk about the patent and open source options, and the organiser was happy for me to do so. He mentioned that many of the BB users were unhappy with the patent too (which is obvious I suppose, but one tends to forget this and think it is sole right of OS or other developers to feel aggrieved by it).

So I felt it would be a good audience to talk to, but I’m still not sure if I didn’t just say yes too quickly and not stick to my principles. It’s the old debate – are you Cicero (willing to compromise) or Cato (impervious to compromise). The latter is often the most admirable, but of all the great Romans I always preferred Cicero (hey, it’s better than having a Caeser complex). I wonder if this is one of those personality traits so beloved of management consultants, we are all either Ciceros or Catos.

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