Subject: Re: Great Bridge closes.
From: Peter Wayner <>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 14:39:52 -0400

>We emphasize advantages Open Source companies have over proprietary
>companies -- we neglect to mention the vulnerabilities Open Source
>companies have not shared by our proprietary brethren.
>Whenever negative actions (forking the source code base, etc.) are
>discussed, the convention FSB wisdom is that "it's not a problem, it's
>never happened".  I submit it's never happened because there's never
>yet been enough money in Open Source to make it worth someone's time.

These are good points, but I think they affect proprietary companies 
too. I seem to remember that MS spent plenty of money hiring the best 
compiler guys from Borland, way back when Borland was a leading 
company. That effectively killed it. Other companies have gone on 
hiring raids. It happens in proprietary companies too and all of the 
talk about trade secrets and non-compete agreements doesn't seem to 
stop it. That's the beauty of right to work laws.

The good news is that Oracle can't simply wipe out Postgres by hiring 
the best minds and sowing incompatibility. Everyone else can just 
stick with earlier versions or fork the product again. FreeBSD, for 
instance, emerged when people got tired of waiting for 386BSD. Oracle 
can spend tons of money and get nothing if a decent, stable 
competitor emerges.

Keith is quite correct that open source companies are vulnerable, but 
I think the open source ensures that the best producing team will 
always have access to the code. Anyone who tries to shut things down 
will fail.

This isn't to say that money can't sow trouble. But is sending money 
to open source developers such a bad thing? Eventually, they'll 
emerge from the shadows and start developing again.

So I say to Oracle: Come hire the Postgres guys. Spend big bucks on 
the best Postgres minds. I think the open source community will still 
benefit on the whole.

I guess I'm just putting a positive spin on it, not denying that a 
negative one exists.