Subject: Re: Opportunity lost? Challenge declined!?
From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 00:22:34 -0400 (EDT)

Stephen J. Turnbull writes:
 >     >> They're coming toward open source, which, though technically
 >     >> equivalent in the license definition, is _very_ different in
 >     >> terms of the dynamics.  Note that many of the economic benefits
 >     >> that Eric pushes apply to published but proprietary source
 >     >> code, as well as to free software.
 > 
 >     rn> I don't believe this to be true.  The benefits derive from the
 >     rn> freedom to fork.  Remove that -- and all proprietary code
 >     rn> removes the freedom to fork -- and you remove the benefits as
 >     rn> well.
 > 
 > Tim gives the theory, I'll just give a better test case:  Crynwyr.  Do
 > you really mean to tell me that freedom to fork is why you use qmail? :)

You're right and I'm wrong.  It's more complicated than I put it.  For 
example, do you have the freedom to make changes to the source code
and redistribute them within your organization?  Do you have freedom
to publish source code patches?  What transaction cost is necessary to 
get the source code?

 > And not all proprietary code removes the freedom to fork.  It just ups
 > the price to greater than zero.

Even if the price was zero, you still wouldn't have the freedom to
fork.  If the code is proprietary, then by definition you cannot make
a unlateral decision to fork it.

-- 
-russ nelson will be speaking at http://www.osdn.com/conferences/handhelds/
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