Subject: Re: a model of competition between free and proprietary software
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 12:52:04 -0700

Tom Hull wrote:
> Russell Nelson wrote:
> >
> > Tom Hull writes:
> >  > It is interesting how much F has been developed by people when they
> >  > are not acting as entrepreneurs, capitalists, or [wage] workers.
> >
> > I need an example here.
> I was thinking of Linux. For example, in Glyn Moody's book there is a
> piece on how Linus wrote the first cut of Linux VM to stave off boredom
> during Christmas vacation. It seems likely that most of GNU fits this
> mold, whether written for principle, for fun, or just as part of the
> gift culture -- all of which strike me as fundamentally different from
> the investment of time to secure increased future consumption.

One thing that's interesting to me is that the same thing goes on in
proprietary companies.  I was somewhat bemused to discover recently in
conversation with its developers that ASP.Net started as a similar
christmas vacation project by a couple of MS programmers, got
increasingly adopted inside of MS, and only then got "discovered" by
management and turned into a product.  It needed to happen this way
because the developers were throwing out backwards compatibility and
trying to work xml into the picture.

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
101 Morris Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472
+1 707-829-0515, FAX +1 707-829-0104,