Subject: Re: the Free Software Movement in Industry
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 13:12:12 +0900

>>>>> "Tom" == Tom Lord <> writes:

    Tom> But now this thread is trailing off into old-hat
    Tom> boiler-plate.

Huh?  It started there.

What was new in your original post was the fact that a "hard-line Free
Software advocate" proposed the open source motivation: the economics
is good.  Unfortunately, as you admit elsewhere

    Tom> That approach is already at work in some segments of the
    Tom> industry.

Ie, precisely where the economics is good.

So you return to the well-worn "socialized software" model to extend
it to the rest of the industry.  It's sugar-coated with voluntarism
and claims of profitability, but definitely it is incompatible with
the current practice of capitalism.  It would surely require external
forces (a cartel---by the way, why did you omit Microsoft? don't you
expect them to profit most from your proposal?---or the government) to
induce even a shred of stability.

All that's going on here is the ancient argument about the prisoners'
dilemma.  A says, "The dominant strategy for all players is to fink,
therefore the solution is `all fink'."  And B says, "But that sucks
socially, so it can't be the answer."  Life's a bitch, Mr. B, face it.

The fact is, that _is_ the answer.  "So, Doctor, what do we do about
it?"  "Well, if it hurts when you do that, stop doing that."  We have
to stop playing the prisoners' dilemma.  The question is, "what
alternative game can we agree to?"  And, "how can the rules we set be
enforced?"  That's what Seth is asking.

And that's what the boards of the companies whose participation you
invite and require are going to ask.  I haven't seen a remotely
satisfactory answer from the businessman's viewpoint.

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