Subject: Re: RFC soon on essay "Does Free Software Production in a Bazaar obey the Law of Diminishing Returns?"
From: "Eric S. Raymond" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 23:03:01 -0400

Jacques Chester <>:
> Fifthly, the possible conclusions so far are:
> * That ESR is completely correct, that Free Software *does* break the 
>   LODR and that it represents a new economic phenomenon in production
> * That ESR is completely wrong, that Free Software *does* obey the
>   LODR, it just happens to be far more 'scaleable' than the traditional
>   "Cathedral"
> * That ESR, unaware of the economic framework in which this can be
>   viewed, does not realise that Brook's Law is the same as the LODR;
>   and has therefore failed to distinguish between production in the
>   Short Run (where the LODR applies) and the Long Run (where it does
>   not).

My take on the situation differs from any of these three :-).
I'm not familiar enough with the technical literature on LODR to form
a firm judgement on whether Brooks's Law is equivalent to LODR.  My
gut reaction is one of skepticism.

I also want to point out that I do not assert anywhere in my writings
that open-source development is immune to LODR -- for the very good reason
that I would coinsider any such claim patently ridiculous!

I'll put the case more positively.  I strongly suspect the following things:

1. Bazaar-mode development *is* susceptible to LODR effects, but (in your
   own words) "happens to be far more 'scaleable' than the traditional
   cathedral".  This, in fact, is almost exactly how I would have phrased
   my own answer if the question had come up before.

2. Brooks's Law is not precisely *equivalent* to LODR, but is rather a special
   case of it involving *particular* nonlinear scaling phenomena.  Accordingly,
   one may assert that the bazaar mode repeals Brooks's Law without making
   any commitment about the applicability of the LODR in general.
		<a href="Eric">">Eric S. Raymond</a>

The politician attempts to remedy the evil by increasing the very thing
that caused the evil in the first place: legal plunder.
	-- Frederick Bastiat