Subject: Re: anti/Law
From: Keith Bostic <>
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 12:30:24 -0400 (EDT)

> Distributed development (facilitated by open source and characteristic
> of many open source projects, especially in the "bazaar model", but
> obviously not dependent on open source) lives or dies on compliance
> with protocols (APIs), formally or informally defined.

In addition to the issues you pointed out, open source relies
on standards to refute the fear-uncertainty-doubt that the
software isn't reliable, or it's not "standard".  Even better
than a standard is some sort of test suite.  And, even better
than a test suite is an open source test suite.  For example,
free access to the X/Open POSIX/UNIX test suites would be a
tremendous win for the free OS folks.

Also, standards are a way to avoid playing release catch-up.
When you're trying to match a vendor, then you're always playing
catch-up as you don't know until the vendor's release happens
what changes you're going to have to make to your software.  If
both you and the vendor are matching an outside agency, then
you not only get advance notice of changes (and a chance to
argue that the change shouldn't be made), but standards bodies
tend to slow down the sometimes furious pace of feature wars,
and makes it easier to keep up.


Keith Bostic