Subject: Re: Competition by internal expertise for F/OSS vendors
From: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2008 13:12:13 -0700
Wed, 03 Sep 2008 13:12:13 -0700
Don Marti wrote:
> begin Thomas Lord quotation of Tue, Sep 02, 2008 at 08:44:28PM -0700:
>
>   
>> The net effect of that social dynamic is that there are always,
>> lying about, an oversupply of wannabe hackers, doing stuff
>> for free.   The large firms draw very heavily on the free labor
>> pool that, in hollywood, is called "auditions".   All volunteers
>> are supposed to "build reputation" and that kind of stuff as a
>> career plan -- this is as if all those hollywood audition tapes
>> that kids fresh off the bus from Kansas did were the main
>> product hollywood sold.  It's theft of labor, essentially.
>> It's exploitation and the *actual* hollywood mostly swore
>> off it, decades ago.
>>     
>
> I guess you haven't watched much "Reality TV" recently.
>   

That's a poor analogy.   Reality TV participants are handsomely
compensated.

 
> Peer production isn't just signaling.  A participant
> isn't just revealing abilities he or she already
> has -- he or she is also building new abilities.
>   

And the celebs help govern what abilities the volunteers
are likely to be developing.   And they do a bad job at that.


> And the audience for the signaling isn't just the few
> high-level open source hackers and their employers.
> Other employers can search the web too.
>   

There's room for a few more celebs, that's presumably
true.




> Should NFL football players refuse to play in a system
> that uses unpaid high school and college football
> for training and selection?
>   


That's an *interesting* analogy.

Have you noticed how, within that system, there *is*
a struggle to prevent or at least limit or at least mediate
the damage done by exploiting high school and college
player exploitation?

It's not quite the same, almost the opposite:  The NFL
and the schools and the law have rules to *prevent*
paying those players and here in free software I'm suggesting
professional norms to *require* paying those players
but both cases are about trying to prevent exploitation.

Why do I suggest *requiring* payment?  and for what?
Why is it different from the NFL?

The NFL doesn't tape high school and college games
and then license those tapes for broadcast.   The
high school teams and colleges are, indeed, producing
a pool of WORKERS for the NFL but they are NOT
producing any PRODUCT for the NFL.

The software volunteers are producing PRODUCT
for the vendors in addition to producing workers. 
That production of product, if unpaid for, lowers
demand for such workers.

So, the NFL "arms length" implementation is to
avoid trying to change the behavior of student
athletes by giving them money --- the software
"arms length" implementation should be to pay
for each line of code you check in to your product
source code base.


-t



Don Marti wrote:
begin Thomas Lord quotation of Tue, Sep 02, 2008 at 08:44:28PM -0700:

  
The net effect of that social dynamic is that there are always,
lying about, an oversupply of wannabe hackers, doing stuff
for free.   The large firms draw very heavily on the free labor
pool that, in hollywood, is called "auditions".   All volunteers
are supposed to "build reputation" and that kind of stuff as a
career plan -- this is as if all those hollywood audition tapes
that kids fresh off the bus from Kansas did were the main
product hollywood sold.  It's theft of labor, essentially.
It's exploitation and the *actual* hollywood mostly swore
off it, decades ago.
    

I guess you haven't watched much "Reality TV" recently.
  

That's a poor analogy.   Reality TV participants are handsomely
compensated.

 
Peer production isn't just signaling.  A participant
isn't just revealing abilities he or she already
has -- he or she is also building new abilities.
  

And the celebs help govern what abilities the volunteers
are likely to be developing.   And they do a bad job at that.


And the audience for the signaling isn't just the few
high-level open source hackers and their employers.
Other employers can search the web too.
  

There's room for a few more celebs, that's presumably
true.




Should NFL football players refuse to play in a system
that uses unpaid high school and college football
for training and selection?
  


That's an *interesting* analogy.

Have you noticed how, within that system, there *is*
a struggle to prevent or at least limit or at least mediate
the damage done by exploiting high school and college
player exploitation?

It's not quite the same, almost the opposite:  The NFL
and the schools and the law have rules to *prevent*
paying those players and here in free software I'm suggesting
professional norms to *require* paying those players
but both cases are about trying to prevent exploitation.

Why do I suggest *requiring* payment?  and for what?
Why is it different from the NFL?

The NFL doesn't tape high school and college games
and then license those tapes for broadcast.   The
high school teams and colleges are, indeed, producing
a pool of WORKERS for the NFL but they are NOT
producing any PRODUCT for the NFL.

The software volunteers are producing PRODUCT
for the vendors in addition to producing workers. 
That production of product, if unpaid for, lowers
demand for such workers.

So, the NFL "arms length" implementation is to
avoid trying to change the behavior of student
athletes by giving them money --- the software
"arms length" implementation should be to pay
for each line of code you check in to your product
source code base.


-t