Subject: ways of funding
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 04:56:29 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Bradley" == Bradley M Kuhn <bkuhn@ebb.org> writes:

    Bradley> I don't know if these are the sort of "silver bullets"
    Bradley> you are looking for but what about community group
    Bradley> funding based on need.

Under the (somewhat unrealistic) assumption that free software doesn't
result in development efficiencies, these methods will result in
underfunding of software development unless the entire relevant user
community is induced to join.

I say "somewhat unrealistic" because reuse of software components is a
hard management problem.  The theory for free software is obvious:
some extra reuse[1] will be generated by the very fact the source is
open to random developers, but I see no evidence that in practice free
software will result in the desirable levels of resources being
devoted to reuse.  It seems more likely that most people will hang
out, waiting for the libraries to magically appear, and when they
really really need it, they'll either buy or build the minimum they
need, and not put huge amounts of resources into further reusability
not of direct benefit to themselves and their customers.

This is an exaggeration, but all of the software management books I've
read have referred to the great difficulty of achieving even 20%
reusability, and even with substantial management backing.  Has this
changed?

Yes, I know about the various libraries out there being actively
developed.  Are you satisfied with the rate at which they're getting
specified, designed, coded, and debugged, on average?


Footnotes: 
[1]  Reuse due to sharing binaries is not relevant; it is an advantage 
compared to the proprietary model, but the calculation of "desirable
level of software development" and "desirable level of reuse" I'm
thinking about is entirely under free software conditions.

-- 
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