Subject: New ESR paper: The Magic Cauldron
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 24 Jun 1999 18:22:14 -0400

ESR has a new paper out: The Magic Cauldron:
    http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings/magic-cauldron/

It's about the economics of free software, so it is directly relevant
to FSB.

On the other hand, I didn't find it nearly as interesting as The
Cathedral and the Bazaar or Homesteading the Noosphere.  I have
serious reservations about both, but I thought they were at least
insightful if wrong.  The Magic Cauldron seems less interesting to me.

In his list of free software models, he doesn't mention the insurance
model.

He manages to omit Cygnus from the paper while mentioning several
other free software companies.

As a canonical example of an application, he says a word processor,
but in the real world I think Microsoft Word has just about become
infrastructure.

He spends time on the tragedy of the commons, but I can't see why
anybody would think that would apply to free software.  Do people
really make that objection?

He adopts some ideas I first saw clearly expressed in Neal
Stephenson's In the Beginning paper about software following a natural
evolution from application to infrastructure.

Ian