Subject: Re: Back to business [was: the Be thread]
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 10:32:48 +0900 (JST)

Of course I don't speak for Crispin.

>>>>> "Tim" == Tim O'Reilly <> writes:

    Tim> "Stephen J. Turnbull" wrote:

    >> Bazaar development would be very difficult without free
    >> software, IMO.

    Tim> If by "free software" you mean GPL'd software (as opposed to
    Tim> open source software, which includes a broader range of
    Tim> licenses)

I use RMS's definition.  Why use anything else?  The software (code)
is the same, the licenses are the same, as for "open source".  I write 
"free software" rather than "open source software" because this is the 
"Free Software Business" mailing list.

    Tim> The bazaar happens when it makes more sense to give things
    Tim> away than to put up barriers to entry in the form of charging
    Tim> for them.

Your definition is "Information Rules" in a "Nutshell[tm]."  Surely
you don't think that Shapiro and Varian are the vanguard of the open
source proletariat?

Eg, dunno about MP3 skins; at least the ones for xmms seem to be
genuinely free.  But back when I was doing DOS, there was a "bazaar"
that also met this definition, called "shareware."  Not only wasn't it
libre, it wasn't really a development bazaar.

    Tim> This isn't to say that the Bazaar, as Eric describes it,
    Tim> doesn't happen to a greater or lesser extent in some projects
    Tim> more than others.  But I'll lay odds that it has a lot more
    Tim> to do with the complexity of the code base or the problem
    Tim> space more than it does with the license, as long as the
    Tim> license is functionally open.

That is the requirement that I mean by "free."  But in practice it is
unclear how close to fully free (source is open and "businesses" based
on forked trees are allowed) you need to be to generate a bazaar.

And ideology matters.  It matters even to non-ideological free
software businessmen.

People who care about building free software community will work on a
free software project precisely because it's free, as opposed to less
free or even merely non-copyleft projects.  Because software is non-
rival in use, this is potentially a diversion of their contribution to
every computer user in Known Space from one project to another.  It is
not clear to me whether business financing in the bazaar can be
sufficiently large to swamp such huge effects, or whether it can only
hope to surf the wave---note that it's not Red Hat FreeBSD.

University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences       Tel/fax: +81 (298) 53-5091
What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."