Subject: Re: Open letter to those who believe in a right to free software
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 21:37:25 -0700

Bernard Lang wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 28, 1999 at 03:15:39PM +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

> >     Bernard> modularization is far from marginal ... neither is
> >     Bernard> promoting/enforcing standards. Multi-granularity
> >     Bernard> competition is another. Effective debugging (and I am
> >     Bernard> sticking to what concerns development).
> >
> > It _is_ marginal in the sense that the best-practice proprietary firms
> > do it too.
> Not so well apparently. I was yesterday on a panel with someone from
> Computer Associates, and he told me that they are currently modifying
> their production organisation to benefit from lessons learned from
> free-software production.

I'd be inclined to agree with Bernard's comment that proprietary firms
don't modularize well -- more from results than having seen processes. 
As someone who's seen the insides of a lot of systems shops, the
modularization and general understanding of "own code" is low.

Bernard:  details on what CA said?  I just gave an earful to an R&D
manager for software I use heavily -- proprietary stuff.  Apparently all
this free love and software's made me a bitter man....
> And math develops slowly not because of its economic model, but very
> simply because it is hard.

Does it and is it?

Is math any harder, say, than chemistry or drug development?

What about times like WWII and the Cold War era when certain areas of
basic research (nuclear physics, crypto) were heavily funded for
strategic reasons.  Is there an incentives problem in math?  Are we or
are we not producing an economically efficient level of algorithms and

Karsten M. Self (
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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