Subject: Re: Competition by internal expertise for F/OSS vendors
From: Don Marti <>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 06:46:56 -0700

begin Rich Bodo quotation of Wed, Sep 03, 2008 at 11:14:18PM -0700:

> I see more of your point of view now.  The trade off is:
> +lower risk for the would-be pen manufacturer
> +at least they have something to work with that, lets face it, is  
> probably easier to learn right now
> +dollars go to pen research
> -swords are distributed to poor people, who now have strong incentive to  
> violate copyright and little incentive to learn about alternatives.
> Versus:
> -high risk for the pen-manufacturer
> +pens are distributed to poor people - they're gonna figure it out and  
> learn more this way
> +some poor people become contributors to FOSS via product feedback, bug  
> reports  and other contributions
> +some poor people get to grok yet another reason why peer production and  
> the free exchange of information is so dang cool.

It's not a choice -- it's both.  Once "bargaining
chip" code is out there, if it has any audience at
all, it can get snapped up for "real" uses.

Laptop manufacturer A wants a better deal on
proprietary licenses from OS vendor B, so it tells
its wireless hardware supplier C to publish a Linux
driver.  Company A is only going to use the Linux
driver for one demo, at a big customer where the
news will get back to B.  Then B comes across with
a better OS license deal, and A is happy.

Meanwhile, wireless chicken-plucker vendor D
is looking for cheap infrastructure hardware and
software (since all the unique value is in the actual
chicken-plucking layer) and uses C's wireless hardware
and driver -- even though C would never have gone to
the trouble of getting a GPL driver release through
Legal just to capture the niche chicken-plucking

Don Marti                                               +1 510-814-0932         Linux device driver unconference: