Subject: Re: Varian @ Google (was Re: Epistemology of FS)
From: "Marshall W. Van Alstyne" <marshall@MIT.EDU>
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2005 09:32:13 -0500

At 06:18 PM 2/3/2005, Karsten M. Self wrote:
>on Thu, Feb 03, 2005 at 11:10:35AM -0500, Marshall W. Van Alstyne 
>(marshall@MIT.EDU) wrote:
> >
> > FWIW, we recently began economic modeling of free software.  Got a little
> > NSF $ to do this and have also been discussing it over at Creative Commons
> > on the cc-bizcom list (although that's been quiet lately) -- found out
> > about this list later.  One of the goals is to take econ theory and 
> build a
> > free and open model of software in software.  This will be a kind of
> > recursive open science such that anyone can test and modify the econ 
> theory
> > assumptions then see what kind of growth, adoption, and welfare results.
>Cool.  Post info as available.

Will do.  First step is developing a theoretical model of growth & 
diffusion, accounting for network effects.  Second step will be 
code.  Since one goal is to help build a viable business around free 
software, we're running the theory part past RMS to make sure it's in 
keeping with the spirit of free.

> > Also FWIW, I think Hal's on short term leave from Berkeley while working
> > for Google.
>*That* is news.  Got a reference for that?

Using the 2 source rule, got it from a few places :)  One is a coauthor of 
Varian's, the other is a former exec from Parc who knows him.

It will be interesting to see what new products they come up with using 
econ theory.