Subject: Re: Open Source Developer (Economics)
From: Ken Dyke <ken_i_m@elegantinnovations.net>
Date: 21 Mar 2003 11:31:12 -0700

On Thu, 2003-03-20 at 10:56, Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
> * The design decisions to be made are largely technical decisions
>   which can be easily made by the developers.  For large scale
>   business software, the design decisions must be made by people with
>   experience in large scale business.
> 
> Siebel requires
> extensive customization for each deployment, 

I think it safe to say that most FSB developers come from a *nix
background.  A fundamental *nix design principle is to provide
"mechanism" and to push "policy" as close to the end user as possible. 
Those coming from a Windows background generally do not understand this
and whine about the over-whelming number of choices they have to make
just to get things running.  This delay in setting policy is a feature
not a bug.

"extensive customization for each deployment" is just another way of
saying "setting policy".

Claims that the open source development model are not up to the
complexity of this problem space smack of the same claims that were
leveled against Linux and the complexity of operating systems.

What is often overlooked when considering free/open source developers is
motivation.  The reason FOSS has produced great OS, servers and such is
that these are what the first generation of FOSS developers were
passionate about.  As the idea of FOSS spreads and more and more people
"get it" these dynamics are showing up in other application areas.

As a community of FOSS developers emerges that is focused on the
enterprise level/problem space the dynamics of this development model
will come into play.  Then either SAP, Siebel, Oracle, et al adapt or
get buried.  (Or hire a bunch of lobbyists of buy off Congress a la
Hollywood.)

The comments regarding "pain" are another motivation for scratching the
FOSS itch.

ken