Subject: Re: Do We Need a New Evangelist
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 1 Apr 1999 14:27:27 -0500

   Date: 1 Apr 1999 18:40:48 -0000
   From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>

   Scott Goehring writes:
    > In article <19990401134253.15002.qmail@desk.crynwr.com>, Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
writes:
    > I have long contended that ESR's "Homesteading" thesis is incorrect.
    > The primary motivation behind writing libre software is
    > self-enablement; that is, people write libre software to solve a
    > problem that they need solved, usually for their own use.

   Then why give it away, with all the accompanying costs?  People
   criticize you for doing <X>, they call you and ask for help, they send 
   you surface mail, and they send email.  You could avoid those costs by 
   giving the software away anonymously.  I've never seen anyone do
   that.  That says (to me) that people give away software to get
   recognition.  If they don't want that recognition, they don't give
   their software away.

Well, there was the Fortran port of Zork, done by ``a somewhat
paranoid DEC engineer who prefers to remain anonymous.''  (To give
credit where it is due, I believe he has since come out of his
anonymity, and that his name is Bob Supnik).

Besides, even if I personally didn't want the ego boost, I still
wouldn't dump software out anonymously.  I would want to get the
feedback and the bug reports, in order to make it better.  Sure, I
could probably set up an anonymous remailer and so forth, but that
would seem like a ridiculous amount of work.

Besides, your list of costs basically amount to getting a bit more
e-mail.  Big deal.  I get hundreds of messages every day anyhow.

Besides, recognition can be a part of the motivation without being the
primary motivation.  The primary motivation could be, as Scott says,
to solve a problem.  Once that has been done, it takes only a minor
extra effort to release it on the net.

Ian