Subject: Re: Wall Street article on a new Cooperative
From: Tim O'Reilly <>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 22:33:45 -0700

Very nicely said, Matt!

On Apr 19, 2004, at 3:49 PM, Matt Asay wrote:

>>> David wrote:
>>> And speaking of trust, I trust these greedy, shortsons of
>>> bitches about as far as I can throw them. They are *not* operating in
>>> the public interest, even by accident.
> I disagree. One of Adam Smith's central arguments, and one that seems  
> to
> bear itself out in practice, is that you just don't have to trust any
> subset of human/corporate interest. You trust in the checks and  
> balances
> that exist in the web of a myriad of conflicting self-interest. (That
> is, you trust in the overall balance of self-interest.)
> The real problem is when someone (like Microsoft) breaks through the
> clutter of atomized self-interest to impose Self-Interest.  That is,
> centralization of interest in one party. Avalanche, whatever it may
> become, is at the moment a great check on Microsoft (and Novell, and  
> Red
> Hat, and any other company that hopes to exercise control over  
> customers
> to boost margins). We should be grateful for every new, robust form of
> self-interest because it adds one more restraint to the pile that tends
> toward centralization over time.
> As for the Sherman Antitrust Act, it is designed to prevent collusion  
> in
> pursuit of the restraint of trade. I don't see this in Avalanche, just
> as I don't see it in the vast majority of partnerships and alliances
> companies have long forged between themselves to co-develop products.
> Perhaps it may come to that, but Avalanche today does not fit the
> antitrust bill. If anything, it fosters a potential check on the
> Microsoft monopoly.
> As for the critique (made by others) that Avalanche does nothing for
> open source, how so? Why is it any less open source because it is
> restricted to a smaller group of participants than most open source
> projects, a restriction largely dictated by our voraciously hungry  
> legal
> system? We should be hoping Avalanche will succeed, regardless of
> whether we directly share in its benefits as members of the co-op, no
> matter that it doesn't fit our established view of what open source
> "should" be. It's about time our industry innovated its business  
> models.
> Matt
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