Subject: Re: "I've got more programmers than you"
From: Lynn Winebarger <owinebar@free-expression.org>
Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2001 00:35:53 -0500


   What baffles me about this whole situation is why the government and 
corporations don't form industry groups/non-profits to develop these 
core back-end technologies and bypass the middleman.  What are they 
paying for their software now? 
    Ok, I can guess at least 1 reason for businesses not to do so, 
which would be an inclination to not cooperate on revealing middleware 
designs enough to talk about what the requirements of a common backend 
would be.  And they might have some repulsion at the prospect of free 
riders as well. 
    But these shouldn't generally apply to the government.  The only 
obstacle there is political (maybe "only" is an understatement).
     What's that you say?  Some of the proprietary software is enabling 
in ways unanticipated by corporate/government IT people?  Funding basic 
and mid-level research (I don't know the proper term for the research 
between basic and actual development here) is not out of the question 
either.  Actually, they pay for both anyway*, it's just a matter of how.
      By the way, are any of the people who complain(ed) about lack of 
accountability with free/open source software suing Microsoft over Code 
Red?  That cost us some valuable connectivity (didn't even infect the 
company I work for, but people sharing our router at our ISP were 
infected, and it caused all kinds of havoc).

Lynn
PS  Obviously I'm leaving out research that gets done by companies that 
go under without significant market share.  Someone's footing that 
bill, but it's not clear to me how the cost circulates in the economy 
as a whole.  Or whether that R&D is "just" duplicated effort.