I need to get a current copy of The New Hacker's Dictionary. Seen in the on-line version (the Jargon File): GandhiCon
There is a quote from Mohandas Gandhi, describing the stages of establishment resistence to a winning strategy of nonviolent activism, that partisans of open source and especially Linux have embraced as almost an explanatory framework for the behaviors they observe while trying to get corporations and other large institutions to take new ways of doing things seriously:
First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.
In hacker usage this quote has miscegenated with the U.S military's DefCon
terminology describing ‘defense conditions’ or degrees of war alert. At GandhiCon One, you're being ignored. At GandhiCon Two, opponents are laughing at you and dismissing the idea that you could ever be a threat. At GandhiCon Three, they're fighting you on the merits and/or attempting to discredit you. At GandhiCon Four, you're winning and they are arguing to save face or stave off complete collapse of their position.
Of course, true to the form of civilians appropriating military terminology, the GhandiCon levels are backwards. DefCon 1 is "we are on the verge of total war", while DefCon 5 is normal peacetime operations.
This is related (SCO is one of the outfits presently at GhaniCon 4, and losing), and damn funny: IBM and SCO in a battle of wits a la Princess Bride.