Subject: Re: "The Open Source Revolution"
From: Joel Bresler <jbresler@ma.ultranet.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 15:40:41 -0400

Thanks to Tim and Frank for their thoughts.

I agree with what Tim said, with one amplification:

>At the same time, you have to realize that the "community
>development" angle is only one aspect of open source.  The
>freedom to modify software has a functional side that is not
>really at issue in databases such as you describe.  

I think there could be a lot of room for expanding and extending a core
database. Start with something as obvious as one person's "best of" picks,
but backed by a wealth of underlying information. Or software that let
users download song titles from discs they owned directly to a local PC.
(Or things going the way they are these days, keep such a database up on
the net for access anywhere.)

In any event, if the recipients here learn of interesting projects,
especially in the music space, do let me know. There is one underway to
catalog every 78rpm and cylinder recording made in the United States, THE
AMERICAN VINTAGE RECORD LABELOGRAPHY
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Museum/8764/avrl.htm for more info. 

Best,

Joel


At 04:50 AM 3/27/99 , Tim O'Reilly wrote:
>
>
>Joel Bresler wrote:
>> 
>> Dear Mr. O'Reilly,
>> 
>> First off, thanks for a great guest edit issue. I am fascinated by the
>> principles you outlined for open source software, and was wondering if
>> there might be possible parallels in open source databases? Do you know of
>> any efforts along these lines? For example, the existing music discography
>> databases are all proprietary. Companies such as Schwann, Muse, Valley
>> Media, CDDB and others collect the information in pursuit of their own
>> business models.
>
>You're right.  This is a very interesting area, and in the
>process of getting more interesting (at least from a political
>point of view) as the holders of some of these databases are
>trying to extend the reach of their copyrights, such that they
>own the actual facts they've compiled, and not just the
>compilation itself.
>> 
>> You wrote, "Given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow.'" 
>
>It's actually Eric Raymond who said that.  I was just quoting him
>in my summary of his paper.
>
>
>I wonder if, given
>> enough collectors, all databases are small? And there is another parallel,
>> "monetary reward is rarely the primary concern of open source's best
>> programmers. These people are involved in a reputation game..." The same is
>> surely true in many different topical areas.
>> 
>It's an intriguing idea to try to put together some cooperative
>projects to create such databases.  The net does give enormous
>power to communities of people to develop cooperatively what a
>small group of individuals would have difficulty developing
>alone.
>
>And given the increasingly restrictive copyright climate,
>projects like this might be important tests of the rights of
>"users" versus the rights of businesses.
>
>At the same time, you have to realize that the "community
>development" angle is only one aspect of open source.  The
>freedom to modify software has a functional side that is not
>really at issue in databases such as you describe.  
>
>> I would be interested in knowing of any open source efforts you are aware
>> of in the content database arena, and will look forward to our 
>correspondence.
>
>Well, probably the best known is the Internet Movie Database, but
>now that it has been bought by Amazon, who knows what direction
>it will take.  I'm sure there are many others.
>
>I've cc'd some other people who might have opinions and knowledge
>on this topic.  I agree that it's worth some consideration.  
>
>I imagine that there are groups more closely interested in the
>issues here than the Open Source community.  Copyright is
>becoming an increasingly significant battleground, and this is
>not going unnoticed by a variety of advocacy groups.
>> 
>> Best,
>> 
>> Joel Bresler
>> 
>> Joel Bresler
>> 250 E. Emerson Rd.
>> Lexington, MA 02420 USA
>> 
>> Home:           781-862-2432
>> Home Office:    781-862-4104
>> FAX:            781-862-0498
>> Cell:           781-622-0309
>> 
>> ***PLEASE NOTE NEW EMAIL***
>> 
>> Email:          jbresler@ma.ultranet.com
>
>-- 
>Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.  
>101 Morris Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472   
>707-829-0515 ext 266, Fax 707-829-0104, tim@ora.com 
>http://www.oreilly.com http://software.oreilly.com
>http://www.songline.com
>



Joel Bresler
250 E. Emerson Rd.
Lexington, MA 02420 USA

Home:           781-862-2432
Home Office:    781-862-4104
FAX:            781-862-0498
Cell:           781-622-0309

***PLEASE NOTE NEW EMAIL***

Email:          jbresler@ma.ultranet.com