Subject: Re: Competition by internal expertise for F/OSS vendors
From: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2008 14:42:39 -0700
Wed, 03 Sep 2008 14:42:39 -0700
simo wrote:
>   
>> Thought experiment:
>>
>> Many public or semi-public software projects have,
>> on their web pages, a link usually named something
>> like "get involved" or "how to contribute" or 
>> "for developers".    The linked page will tell where
>> to get the source, how to tie in to the source
>> control system, where the bug reports are kept,
>> what the coding standards are ... that kind of thing.
>>
>> What if, overnight, we could do a text search and
>> replace on all of those links so that all of them 
>> were named "work for us without pay".
>>
>> That would be completely accurate.   It would 
>> not in any way change the infrastructure to disrupt
>> work patterns.
>>
>> What would happen next?
>>     
>
> And what would you gain or demonstrate by such move ?
>
> Do you really think that the people that "donate" their time is stupid
>   

No.


> and do not realize exactly what they are doing ?
>   

Yes.


> Ben Tilly and Chris Di Bona already summarized well that there are other
> rewards than just money in this field.
>   

They summarized people's self-reported attitudes -- which are
irrelevant to the question of exploitation.


> I too started *donating* my time. I did it for fun, to help people, and
> of course to advertise myself and my skills. This allowed 2 jobs to
> literally fall on me when I came to the US.
>   

I don't fault you for doing that.  I do that myself, too.
That's not the point.

Where are the *opportunities to donate*?  Who creates
the bulk of them?  Who sets the rules of where and how to
donate?   What do the people running the show get out of
the deal?  compared to the people donating?

Consider a subset of the opportunities to donate:  there's a
subset which are those opportunities to donate that can land
you a job.   There are other places to donate coding that won't
help much with a job but there are a few reliable places,
at any point in time.

Those volunteer opportunities are where most of the action
is.   The projects in the "best bet for help getting a job" category
are a narrow set of all projects, heavily influenced by the
actions of the vendors and their studio-system celebs.
They largely define, month to month, "what's cool to hack on".

They are mostly in the business of supporting a platform for
non-free software.  They mostly compete by not paying for
large amounts of the new code they use each month.

Meanwhile, you and 10,000 other guys are putting all of
your "donating" efforts into that narrow range of
projects, completely ignoring the question of which projects
are the most tactically important to eliminating proprietary
software -- all while putting money in the pockets of
shareholders of a few vendors.


> Also let's not forget that one of the rewards is getting back a lot of
> free software from other volunteers or paid programmers alike.
>   

Yes, but *what* free software?   That which makes the most
sense or that which happens to "fall of the back of the truck"
the vendors use to deliver their platform for proprietary software?


> Most people get back ample rewards/returns even if it is not money.
>
> Show me evidence of the contrary please.
>
>   


I have been.   Please see it.

-t




> Simo.
>
>
>   



simo wrote:
  
Thought experiment:

Many public or semi-public software projects have,
on their web pages, a link usually named something
like "get involved" or "how to contribute" or 
"for developers".    The linked page will tell where
to get the source, how to tie in to the source
control system, where the bug reports are kept,
what the coding standards are ... that kind of thing.

What if, overnight, we could do a text search and
replace on all of those links so that all of them 
were named "work for us without pay".

That would be completely accurate.   It would 
not in any way change the infrastructure to disrupt
work patterns.

What would happen next?
    

And what would you gain or demonstrate by such move ?

Do you really think that the people that "donate" their time is stupid
  

No.


and do not realize exactly what they are doing ?
  

Yes.


Ben Tilly and Chris Di Bona already summarized well that there are other
rewards than just money in this field.
  

They summarized people's self-reported attitudes -- which are
irrelevant to the question of exploitation.


I too started *donating* my time. I did it for fun, to help people, and
of course to advertise myself and my skills. This allowed 2 jobs to
literally fall on me when I came to the US.
  

I don't fault you for doing that.  I do that myself, too.
That's not the point.

Where are the *opportunities to donate*?  Who creates
the bulk of them?  Who sets the rules of where and how to
donate?   What do the people running the show get out of
the deal?  compared to the people donating?

Consider a subset of the opportunities to donate:  there's a
subset which are those opportunities to donate that can land
you a job.   There are other places to donate coding that won't
help much with a job but there are a few reliable places,
at any point in time.

Those volunteer opportunities are where most of the action
is.   The projects in the "best bet for help getting a job" category
are a narrow set of all projects, heavily influenced by the
actions of the vendors and their studio-system celebs.
They largely define, month to month, "what's cool to hack on".

They are mostly in the business of supporting a platform for
non-free software.  They mostly compete by not paying for
large amounts of the new code they use each month.

Meanwhile, you and 10,000 other guys are putting all of
your "donating" efforts into that narrow range of
projects, completely ignoring the question of which projects
are the most tactically important to eliminating proprietary
software -- all while putting money in the pockets of
shareholders of a few vendors.


Also let's not forget that one of the rewards is getting back a lot of
free software from other volunteers or paid programmers alike.
  

Yes, but *what* free software?   That which makes the most
sense or that which happens to "fall of the back of the truck"
the vendors use to deliver their platform for proprietary software?


Most people get back ample rewards/returns even if it is not money.

Show me evidence of the contrary please.

  


I have been.   Please see it.

-t




Simo.