Subject: Methodology and credibility [was: Open letter ...]
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 12:32:15 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Crispin" == Crispin Cowan <crispin@cse.ogi.edu> writes:

    Crispin> "Stephen J. Turnbull" wrote:

    >> It's not.  It is the considered judgement of an expert in the
    >> field who has not yet done, let alone presented, a formal
    >> analysis.

    Crispin> It's not about credentials. I think you're begging the
    Crispin> conclusion.

I haven't done the formal analysis or written the paper yet, OK?  But
if people are saying something I believe to be incorrect based on my
informal analysis, I don't see why I shouldn't express an opinion.
Until a formal analysis is presented, credentials are very much
relevant to credibility.

    Crispin> Most commercial software vendors would assume that your
    Crispin> claim is true, while many open source/free software
    Crispin> advocates would assume that your claim is false.

And both are wrong to assume.  Before the paper gets written (which
will probably take some weeks due to current commitments), though,
people are going to be making decisions, especially about advocacy.
And that paper is not going to be the final word, for sure.  Open
source advocates are going to look pretty silly if they make a lot of
claims that are gradually shown to be bogus; they might want to trim
their sails a bit.

    Crispin> I feel that investigating precisely this point is
    Crispin> critical to the impact that economists :-) will have on
    Crispin> the open source movement.  The open source movement, for
    Crispin> its part, is likely to carry doing its thing on
    Crispin> regardless of what you justify :-)

The _free software_ movement should do exactly that.  Eg, I don't
expect that I will personally release any software under anything but
the GPL, whatever the outcome of my research.

The _open source software_ movement, on the other hand, does found its
advocacy (at least partially) on claims of benefits that are
appropriately analyzed by economic methods.  It had better pay
attention to _correct_ economic analysis; even merely plausible
economic analysis.

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