Subject: Re: A few here may have an opinion on this
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 08:13:38 -0800

On 10/28/02 5:29 PM, "DV Henkel-Wallace" <> wrote:

> A taxonomy of such FSB practices _would_ be a worthwhile discussion.
> Personally I ignore with impatience any discussion of degree of purity.


> I'd also be interested in a discussion of the "prisoner's dilemma"
> aspects of such businesses: when should you share and when not?  For
> example at Cygnus it was a tenet of (most of[**]) our business that we
> tried to get customer changes merged into the standard tree; when that
> became hard because of politics we formed a new "standard tree".  The
> sales guys never understood it!  "Why not keep our changes
> proprietary?" they'd frequently ask (we could have done with Kerberos,
> for example, but weren't interested in doing so).

Precisely.  Dissecting the ways that different people use free software, and
what are the advantages and disavantages of those ways, and whether or not
there are natural incentives behind some of them, is a great discussion.

For example, specifically relevant to my company's relationship to Free/OSS
software, I've argued that the incentives for producing free documentation
are different than the incentives for producing free code, and therefore
that different rules need to apply.  And not only that, I've run numerous
experiments to test out my hypotheses in this area.  (As have others.) This
seems to be useful, albeit not definitive, data for people considering the
subject, yet it almost always degenerates into a "moral" discussion.

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472