Subject: Re: small worlds and better than ransom
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2007 15:43:50 +0900

Thomas Lord writes:

 > As things stand now, social norms are imposed that have
 > nothing at all to do with the craft of creating software.

Welcome to the wonderful world of business bureaucracy.  AFAICS it's
inevitable once you have firms with more than a couple hundred
employees or $100 million in revenue.  These social norms have nothing
to do with the basic productive activities in *any* industry, but they
grow up like weeds wherever large organizations and large sums of
money converge.

All they really mean is that free software has come to be of interest
to big organizations.  It's like getting a dog; you will eventually
have to de-flea the living room.

 > Don't you think a little honest exchange of money would be
 > a breath of fresh air?

No, not in the free software community.  I think if you managed it,
you would immediately be accused of selling out and your judgments
about the needs of your projects would be suspect.

Anyway, you're not talking about an honest exchange of known values
like money.  You're talking about being paid to do what you think is
important.  You will get money, the universal token of value; it may
not be enough, but you know what you're getting.  But what about the
pre-purchaser?  They are rather unlikely to get what they want on the
schedule they need it.

The hell of it is that what you think is important probably *is*
important in the larger scheme of things.  But there's little reason
to suppose it will reliably be what the pre-purchaser needs for her
business.  There's a huge conflict of interest there, and that
conflict of interest is, I believe, going to vitiate your plans for
"prepurchases".