Subject: avoiding tragedy of the commons (was Re: ... services model?)
From: Tom Lord <lord@regexps.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 03:26:47 -0700 (PDT)



	Ben Tilly writes:

       So while it is clear that service industries around open source are
       going to thrive, it is not clear how much they will contribute back
       to the open source community.

Those are almost mutually contradictory statements.  Proprietary
companies aren't exactly standing still, you know.  There is no market
for services built around obsolete systems.

Classical FS services will thrive if there is also an FS R&D industry
to keep it relevant.

An FS R&D industry will get-real-funded if there are FSBs implementing
next generation services with much higher margins.  That's a cycle:
R&D feeds software to the next generation services; next generation
services feed funding to R&D.

"Very high margins" means that next generation services won't look
much like classical FS services.  A radical new service model requires
some structural changes in the software architecture (no, I'm not
(only) harping on my call for non-MS GUI architectures -- this is a
larger issue than just that one example).

The job of classical services in the context of that cycle is to add
value to the next generation services and the software they pay to
develop.  Classical services can keep all the money they make doing
that, as far as I'm concerned, though they pretty much have to kick in
the first several million bucks to bootstrap the cycle.

-t