Subject: RE: FW: Why would I pay for Ximian software?
From: Scott Capdevielle <scott@syndicom.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 11:08:14 -0800

Stephen, thanks for your thoughtful reply.  I will try to address each
of the points you have made.


Stephen >The questions are (1) "how does the sharing take place?"
Consider that Microsoft and Adobe
Stephen > both have multiple programmers working on any given project,
and they only sign one NDA. 
Stepehn > After that they share freely.  

Peter Drucker, Raymond Miles, Peter Snow, etc. state that there are
several factors that have to be present for collaboration to be
effective. The two interesting ones are detailed below.

1. Collaborators need to have ownership of their work.  

It is the rule that when someone goes to work for Microsoft or Adobe or
most other companies for that matter, that one of the first things they
do is to sign over all rights to any software that they create. Not true
when they are contributing to an open source software project. They own
the code as much as anyone else does.

2. Collaborators need to have control over their means and methods of
production. Most companies (and I would bet it is true for Microsoft and
Adobe) force their employees to use the established procedures when
working. Whether it is just using source control software or whether
there are formal processes and tools in place for all aspects of the
job, the typical employee is required to do their job in the "company
way."

These contraints, most researchers agree, will force the knowledge
workers to do their innovation outside of the big companies.  Intel is a
good example.  They have the biggest corporate venture group in the
world. They invest in companies that create demand for their chips. 


Stephen > And (2) "how many minds need to be in the sharing group?" 

This is where I think we may be arguing over semantics. To me the
contributors are not just the people checking in code but everybody
participating in the effort, from the users who are sending in bug
reports and feature requests, to the people writing books.  And these
people are certainly not employed full time.

I think that the mythical man month was valid for the stove pipe
organization but not so for the open source world.  I have been involved
in a number of open source projects. Sometimes I have been a user and
have sent in bug reports. Sometimes I have sent in one or two patches.
Currently I own a couple of projects.  In a corporate organization, I
would not have that luxury. I would have to be an "engineer" and devote
most of my time to writing code and fixing bugs or a manager or
whatever.  But in the open source world, people contribute ad hoc and
you have thousands doing so successfully on some of the larger projects.
End of story.  


    Scott> recognize that people are donating time and effort because
    Scott> it gives them pleaseure and raises their stature in the
    Scott> community.

Stephen > Oh, I've read a lot of "New Age Economics," and frankly it's
boring. 

You obviously have been reading the wrong books.  First of all it is not
"new age economics" I am quoting. I have reading books by very well
respected University professors, who back up there writing s with solid
empirical evidence.  

Here are a couple I would suggest reading. 

Lawrence Lessig, the future of Ideas. He is a Stanford Law Professor, a
board member of the EFF. http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/lessig/ 

Manuel Castells, Sociology and City and Regional Planning Professor, UC
Berkeley, The Internet Galaxy.

Pekka Himanen, not sure what he is doing now but he got his PhD in
Physics at age 20.  The Hacker Ethic.

And then there is always the Catehdral and the Bazaar which I assume you
have read by Eric Raymonds.

Stephen> if you're talking about the kernel itself, not any more.  The
principals are all well-paid,
Stephen > partly to work on the kernel, no?

This is the evolution of the open source model.  Corporations have
realised what many have stated before. That innvoation will happen
outside of their walls.  Even though they may be paid to work by some
company, they are working the open source model.  IBM plans to spend
over $1 billion on Linux
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-7783174.html?tag=lh.  Why?  Not
because they are "new agers". Because they know that they will get that
back at a better rate than spending it on their own proprietary OS.



    Scott> That is the "compensation" that they are getting and it is
    Scott> enough to keep them contributing.

Stephen > It is not enough to keep them contributing.  I wish it were.  

It is.  I don't know if you participate in any projects first hand, but
I know a lot of people who do. And it is the truth.  Now, everyone I
know also wishes and tries real hard to find a way to get paid as well,
but they spend the time that they can afford to because they find
satisfaction and passion in their work AND because they are recognized
for their contributions.

Stephen > We interpret the Linux phenomenon differently, then.  After
all, we haven't yet seen a 
Stephen >_new_ production-ready operating system built by open source
methods on a "gift culture" 
Stephen > basis.  Linus didn't do any design; Ritchie and Thompson did
that.  Linus didn't even have
Stephen > to build a prototype; Tannenbaum did that.  

The gift culture starts with a gift.  Any software that has an open
source license attached to it was  "given" to the world.  

Scott