Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: "Forrest J. Cavalier III" <mibsoft@mibsoftware.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 10:43:13 -0500 (EST)

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org> wrote in part:

> So should we concentrate on how many companies use the FS that _is_
> produced?  That's minor, minor, minor, as long as FS is drastically
> _underproduced_.  And it will be underproduced, because FS is starved
> for resources for development.  It will depend on gifts of friends,
> family, and the pound of flesh nearest the developer's own heart.  And
> that is not enough when weighed against the benefits provided by free
> software.
> 

Sounds like you have your "half-empty" glasses on today. (And
your choices of imprecise, undefined, and subjective terms to make
a point is unlike what you usually write.)

When I use my "half-full" glasses, I see it differently.  Much
Proprietary Software ("PS") is very overproduced (or in other words very
inefficiently produced) because of not-invented-here attitudes and
policies which prevent reusing and sharing existing code.  How many
times are wheels reinvented?

So, if you subtract out the inefficiencies that traditional
PS has to contend with[1] and further consider that the most
productive programmers work on what they love, the amount of
FS development can very well be "enough."

The challenge of this thread is to define "enough" "starving"
"underproduced" and "benefits of FS."  

From reading this thread, it appears that there remains a lot
of cost and benefit which escapes the accounting which computes
GDP, (whether it is housework by stay-at-home parents or "gifts"
of working on free software.)

I don't know that I believe the inevitability of "the gift
economy."  But certainly a gift economy cannot be measured
the way you measure GDP.  I expect when it needs to be taxed,
the IRS accountants will find a way to measure it.

Forrest
[1] - Actually if you take a look at any SourceForge category
you will see a huge amount of duplicated work as well.  Ego
rules, but rules less strongly in FS.