Subject: Re: Ransom GPL Licensing: ethically and legally viable?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: 20 Feb 2003 12:59:32 +0900

>>>>> "Taran" == Taran Rampersad <cnd@knowprose.com> writes:

    Taran> Monetary benefit is made (or should be) by the people who
    Taran> benefit from the creation/maintenance of the capture of the
    Taran> business/societal logic.

As written, this comes down to "the people who benefit are the people
who benefit (plus some additional restrictions)".  Do you mean
"monetary benefit should accrue to those who capture business logic"?

Anyway, I like your focus on the "capture of business logic".  (Note
that this argument points, alas, directly to the "business method/
software patent".)

    Taran> Jobs like this can be 'outsourced' in a geographic sense,
    Taran> but in a global sense, it's impossible.

That's true.  However, the full software development task is quite
large and divisible.  Fred Brooks (_Mythical Man-Month_, Ch. 4) argues
that it is impractical for more than a few to be involved in "the
capture of business logic".  Conversely (Ch. 3), he points out that
there are many projects that require 1000 workers.  The conclusion is
clear: the architects are not outsourced and get rich, the rest of the
programmers are more substitutable, get outsourced and commoditized.

One of the cornerstones of my interpretation of RMS's philosophy that
property in software is _wrong_ is an egalitarian notion that people
with comparative advantage in "capture of business logic" are quite
dependent on the skills of others to execute their visions.  If you
take away property in software, it is no longer possible for
architects to retain copyright (and thus the revenues) and hire coders
(for fixed wages).  Rather, all are developers together, some
exercising their architectural skills, others doing other kinds of
work.  Brooks saw this, too (Ch. 4, again), although he did not
envision free software as the solution.

An entertaining (well-written but scary, if you prefer) discussion of
these issues is in Yourdon's partial trilogy, _Decline and Fall of the
American Programmer_ and _Rise and Resurrection of the American
Programmer_ (I'm waiting for _Ascension and Apotheosis of the American
Programmer_ ;).

-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.