Subject: Re: Fwd: Wall Street article on a new Cooperative
From: "Matt Asay" <masay@novell.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 16:49:51 -0600

>>David wrote:
>>And speaking of trust, I trust these greedy, shortsons of 
>>bitches about as far as I can throw them. They are *not* operating in 
>>the public interest, even by accident.

I disagree. One of Adam Smith's central arguments, and one that seems to
bear itself out in practice, is that you just don't have to trust any
subset of human/corporate interest. You trust in the checks and balances
that exist in the web of a myriad of conflicting self-interest. (That
is, you trust in the overall balance of self-interest.)

The real problem is when someone (like Microsoft) breaks through the
clutter of atomized self-interest to impose Self-Interest.  That is,
centralization of interest in one party. Avalanche, whatever it may
become, is at the moment a great check on Microsoft (and Novell, and Red
Hat, and any other company that hopes to exercise control over customers
to boost margins). We should be grateful for every new, robust form of
self-interest because it adds one more restraint to the pile that tends
toward centralization over time.

As for the Sherman Antitrust Act, it is designed to prevent collusion in
pursuit of the restraint of trade. I don't see this in Avalanche, just
as I don't see it in the vast majority of partnerships and alliances
companies have long forged between themselves to co-develop products.
Perhaps it may come to that, but Avalanche today does not fit the
antitrust bill. If anything, it fosters a potential check on the
Microsoft monopoly.

As for the critique (made by others) that Avalanche does nothing for
open source, how so? Why is it any less open source because it is
restricted to a smaller group of participants than most open source
projects, a restriction largely dictated by our voraciously hungry legal
system? We should be hoping Avalanche will succeed, regardless of
whether we directly share in its benefits as members of the co-op, no
matter that it doesn't fit our established view of what open source
"should" be. It's about time our industry innovated its business models.

Matt