Subject: Re: Chaordic Commons
From: "Andrew Smart" <Andrew.Smart@smart-knowhow.de>
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2002 15:00:28 +0200

Hi folks,

I follow your discussion now over some days.
Interestingly we have had the same discussion here over in Europe. I've
arrived from the first european Python & Zope Conference [Python is a
valuable Open Source language, Zope is a web application server build with
Python]. We discussed business models based on "Open Source", what ever
"Open Source" means in this context.

Our background: there are around 20 and more Companies / individuals which
support Python and Zope and try to make a living from it. We founded a
"Python Business Foundation" and try to work this out.

In our discussion I saw the following point which I would like to contribute
to the discussion:

Behind the discussions I sense there a two different models:

- do I want to multiply my income over units (selling licences)

or

- do I want to earn my income over the hours-of-work approach (selling
consultancy, e.g.)

I think that the first approach also has raised a discussion about ethics. I
think that there is a substantial amount of people who think "I found out a
very good way to optimize this...". They want to get paid for their
intelligence (intellectual property). No one will pay them if they show
everyone how it is done.

There is a different group of people who say: "the idea is free, knowlegde
is free, and such a thing like intellectual property hurts the society".

I personally can understand both positions, and in their own perspective its
true.

Since someone has already stolen one of my ideas and tries to make money out
of it I can even feel with the first group.

The second opinion is also very important. What would we be if we haven't
shared our ideas? I think this is a basic requirement for every society to
share ideas: where is fresh water, how can leather be made, how can you
build a house and such. But: if you share, you loose the exclusivity of this
knowledge. But the society gains.

Since our modern western societies are heavily depentand on information
technology it IS important for us to share the knowledge and NOT to rely on
companies or other exclusive property holders to provide us with the
technology.

If I want to build a bridge, I can go to the library and get a book about
it. I may not be allowed to build one everywhere I want, and I'm probably
not able to build it with my resources, but the knowledge "HOW" is freely
avaiable.

Software compines the "how it can be done" and the "do it" into one code,
and this make this topic very difficult.

Just some thoughts...

Andrew