Subject: Re: Competition by internal expertise for F/OSS vendors
From: Federico Lucifredi <>
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2008 15:10:27 -0400

Wow - better not get on Eben's wrong side :-)

What I find disturbing is not so much the Web side of the discussion 
(where Tim has a valid point), but the insistence on ignoring the money 
aspect. If the "enemy" in many's definition has 20+ billion in the bank, 
monetizing Open Source is a key part of the strategy, and marxist 
statements about people getting rich are just absurd.

A friend comments that Eben likes to take the long view, which is fine, 
but defining the proprietary software models as gone history is not 
something that today we can realistically do, where the largest F/OSS 
software success story we have out there is making 500M$ a year and 
represents very little of the size of the whole Computer or Software 
industries - we need more economical weight to get the patent system 
reformed the right way, and we cannot do it when by far the largest part 
of the industry (by money) is proprietary (or looks that way to to the 
external observer anyway).

Sure, IBM helps, Oracle is playing in the pen with their supercheap RHEL 
clone, Sun's Schwartz looks like a believer, and Google and Yahoo have 
large interests - but I doubt regulators will see it the way we do, and 
they will regulate by "industry", if they bother at all, which does not 
bode well in my view.

So yes, money counts. Aand for one, I am glad for those who did make 
some off clean F/OSS business, because it makes our position factually 
stronger, not morally weaker.

  Best -F

Tim O'Reilly wrote:
> On Tue, 2 Sep 2008, Thomas Lord wrote:
>> From a labor perspective, it is as if the free software movement
>> and open source crowd came together to build the ultimate
>> platform for proprietary software, gratis.   If that had been our
>> goal, we should be popping champagne corks.
> FWIW, I've been saying that for years.  See The Open Source Paradigm 
> Shift: 
> Or even earlier, see my warnings to Richard Stallman at the Wizards of 
> OS conference in 1999:
> This is just one more step in that direction.
> And also FWIW, I've been castigated as recently as last year by the FSF 
> for saying that.  See my attempt to interview Eben Moglen about this 
> issue at OSCON 2007: 
> Eben wasn't having any, preferring to ascribe my talking about Web 2.0 
> as pandering to the money folks, rather than seeing that I'd been 
> warning that the F/OSS crowd had better watch where their innovations 
> were taking the industry.
> Lots of good things about web 2.0, including an architecture of 
> participation at the user data layer, but freedom it ain't.  It could 
> have been different if the F/OSS community had recognized a long time 
> ago that this was about more than software, and the implications for 
> free software when software moved to the cloud.
> But this isn't all bad.  The world is a better place than it was in 
> 1999.  Just has new challenges.  Fighting the old wars doesn't get us 
> anywhere.  What is the right battle to fight for user freedom today?
> ____________________________________________
> Tim O'Reilly, Founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media
> 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472
> 707-827-7150 <>

-- "'Problem' is a bleak word for challenge" - Richard Fish
(Federico L. Lucifredi) -

My thoughts are my own, not my employer's. Duh.