Subject: Re: Charging the Charger
From: Laurent GUERBY <>
Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 01:48:12 +0200

On Tue, 2005-05-10 at 16:13 +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> >>>>> "Laurent" == Laurent GUERBY <> writes:
>     MWVA> Why not harness these market incentives and add them to the mix?
>     Laurent> Every action has a cost and ressources are scarce, I
>     Laurent> don't say your proposal would not add to the mix but just
>     Laurent> that focusing economists attention on other areas may
>     Laurent> lead to much greater payoffs for OSS :).
> Dunno about any of the other economists here, but when *I* want to do
> something "for OSS" I fix bugs and fight spam and write docs for
> XEmacs.  

Well I do some of that (on GCC). But I also have spare money that I
could channel to OSS development (and I believe efficiently because I
know lots of developpers that would achieve great things for little
money), unfortunately right now I know my annual FSF France donation of
12500 euros (7500 tax rebate included)
is used only for lobbying and legal fees, no actual line of code is
written with this money. By lobbying, I mean paying people to show up at
all political meetings where *economists* are telling lawmakers and the
medias that infinite exceptionless copyright, no reverse engineering,
extensive database rights, ultra broad software patents and monopoly on
support are the best thing since sliced bread for customers and social
welfare, and try to sing a different song just to avoid immediate death
of all OSS (under a full worldwide software patent regime). And
unfortunately I agree it's the best use of the money for the interest of
OSS right now.

> Doing economics "for OSS" would cost me all credibility in my
> own eyes, and in the eyes of my peers.  

That's why I'm asking other people more objective and competent than me
to do the economics :).

But I do hope economists do take input from practionners of the field
they study to get some ideas, and I'm saying that they should
look a bit more (than exactly zero according to my random readings) at
incremental innovations, competition on support and customization, open
hardware/software interface, protocols and file formats, more efficient
in house work and externalization of such work - all things that are
needed badly in my day to day experience - and less on initial creation
from scratch helped by government granted monopolies as sole effective