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Conformity in platforms

In the "A Stupid Response" thread a lively discussion developed about the future of the Mac and the craving of corporations for uniformity in their computing platforms.

The following link takes you to an interesting article on the Mac's collapse in K12 and the reasons.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2003/tc20030813_3719_tc016.htm

I find the following excerpts particularly telling:

+++Today, Apple's enemies in education are school superintendents, not Dell (DELL ) or Microsoft (MSFT ). And they make no bones about their vision for the future. Hear what Art Rainwater, superintendent of the Madison (Wis) school district, told the local Capital Times. He conceded that Macs outperform PCs, but he didn't care. "We want a single platform," he said. "We're trying to get there using the carrot, or blackmail, or rewards, or whatever you call it."
re are some interesting quotes to consider:+++

+++Why haven't steep price cuts stemmed Apple's market fall? It all comes back to what I call the lemming effect -- the willingness of people to follow blindly along, never questioning as they march in step with everyone else. Don't get me wrong: Conformity isn't all bad, especially when it comes to computers. A decade ago, most workplaces were a mess of different models, few of which could work together, let alone speak to one another.

That led to the rise of today's modern info-tech manager. His or her mission was to impose uniformity, ensuring that every computer bowed to the all-powerful network. But the downside of conformity was loss of choice and individuality. +++

This article should also serve as a harbringer of the future for those who believe that a "1000 Linux variants" will flourish.  They will not; no one wants them.

The question is how quickly will Linux consolidate down to a single platform and who will control it.  And what will this platform look like?  Who wins the UI contest?  Does a single Linux have a chance on the desktop against Windows?

rick

rick chapman
Monday, September 08, 2003

Strange. I have a totally different point of view on those platform thingies: It's the applications, stupid. The PC and Microsoft went on top of the iceberg not because of some superintendents' flavors but because of the fact that you can get warezed copies ... err: test versions of virtually any application running on your PC machine BEFORE you buy it. Also, many applications on the Mac have a record of being 1.5x as expensive compared to the PC version.
Don't believe it? Look at the Linux world: current kernel + KDE/Gnome/Enlightenment Desktop already is more stable and faster than Windows XP. But still no Photoshop/Quark XPress/SoundForge/3dsmax for Linux. Hence no professional seats.
Still don't believe it? Look at the initial sellings of the XBOX. Poor picture. But when the first mod chips came out, or even better: the infamous MechWarrior exploit, sales figures went through the top.

Drink Or Die
Monday, September 08, 2003

This article reminds me that these type of people care more about the productivity of their own departments than the productivity of the organization's staff.

Scot
Monday, September 08, 2003

TCO is also part of the equation. The TCO of a windows box is fairly well documented, the TCO of a linux box is only claimed to be lesser because it is "free" (yeah right).

Mony talks, let's see who has the last word.

Geert-Jan Thomas
Monday, September 08, 2003

I believe the author missed the most important point:
"Mom and dad have spoken, and what they say is this: Why should my child work on a Mac in class when most people use PCs at home and in the office?"

When it comes to our children we want what is best for them.  Now what may be best in the future as that is uncertain.  As it stands today MS owns 90%+ of the desktop market, even if Apple is a better machine, putting "Apple" on your resume without "Windows" is a very limiting choice.

I also disagree that it serves as a harbringer that anything but a single version of Linux is dead.  That is the mindset of MS, as much as Ford's Model-T: "Any color as long as it's black."  The industry has learned that standards are important and whether it be MS, Apple or Linux, it does not matter as long as they follow the standards.

MSHack
Monday, September 08, 2003

Geert-jan - money does talk and right now it is saying that TCO on windows is expensive.  Not the box, the OS and the applications.  MS has put themselves in a bind with their newest licensing scheme whereby you are locked into Windows and Office.  Too many IT people have been burnt by lock-in and they certainly fear the lockin of a single company over thier entire infrastructure.   

It TCO more for MS?  Is "Ford better than General Motors?"  Each side wants to ensure they get to define the measure.  But consider if you would buy the same brand car if you had to sign the following:
- you cannot discuss the performance of the vehicle. 
- you cannot release the price you paid or the rebates you may have received.
- you cannot change vehicles for 10 years.

Until the new EULA, you probably did not even consider switching.  But, tell me I HAVE to stay and now I need to be sure because 5 years from now, my career depend on this being the right choice and if the car maker now triples the price to replace the tires, I _must_ pay. 

MSHack
Monday, September 08, 2003

Good arguments have been made elsewhere that point to the IT department for the "uniformity cry".  There are claims that uniformity saves money, only having to support a standard platform and one set of applications saves money.

That may be true, but similar studies have shown that Macs tend to have a much lower support cost.  We went with Macs, I barely have to do anything to them, and that frees me to do other things, things which make money. 

Lou
Monday, September 08, 2003

"Too many IT people have been burnt by lock-in and they certainly fear the lockin of a single company over thier entire infrastructure."

Look at the current outsourcing to India or China. Fat cats spend big money on local infrastructure, training, education. They plan to stay there.

(1) What happens when living gets more expensive in those areas?
(2) What happens when the next India-Pakistan crisis begins?
(3) What happens when China's currency starts to free-float?

You want to tell me they really do fear a lock-in? Unless they are schizophrenic, they do not. This lock-in-syndrome is just one of those myths that gets constantly fed by corrupt "tech journalists".

Johnny Bravo
Monday, September 08, 2003

> This article should also serve as a harbringer of the future for those who believe that a "1000 Linux variants" will flourish.  They will not; no one wants them.

Conformity is only wanted in certain contexts.

You're right that no one wants 1000 different desktops -- of *any* OS. And in fact, major Linux deployments tend to be RedHat, SuSe or Mandrake, not "Joe's Linux", "Bob's Linux" and so forth.

However IMO the ability to package Linux up in 1000 different ways is one of its strengths: it exactly plays to the OS-as-a-commodity theme.

I think 1000 Linuxes *will* flourish; after all, there are several dozens already. However, they will spread *across* ecological niches; they will not be crowded into one or two.

Want a concrete example? Someone already has a Linux distro that runs on a Linksys access point (see Slashdot). Now imagine all the access points running some variety of Linux. Imagine other devices, especially embedded ones (who's going to see what OS they're running?) running some variety of Linux. 

1000 different ones is not far-fetched at all.

Peter Breton
Monday, September 08, 2003

"Now imagine all the access points running some variety of Linux."

Great prospect. Ever heard the term "change management"? Or: "patch"? Here's another one: "exploit". I like this one, too: "exponential growth". My favorite: "security risk".

Johnny Bravo
Monday, September 08, 2003

> Great prospect. Ever heard the term "change management"? Or: "patch"? Here's another one: "exploit". I like this one, too: "exponential growth". My favorite: "security risk".

Wow, argument by keyword association! Cool, I can do this too:

  Microsoft virus Outlook SQL Server Blaster SoBig

Doesn't prove a damned thing, but it sure sounds gnarly!

In fact, many companies already ship products using varieties of Linux, so I don't see your point here; all of these risks can be contained.

For a company which sells wireless access points, the question is going to be whether it makes sense to continue to develop and maintain their own OS (or license it from some other vendor).

And ditto with other hardware-based platforms, that's the basic point.

Peter Breton
Monday, September 08, 2003

Just wanted to be concise. Your initial argument sounded like it were OK to have a vast amount of different OS versions deployed out there. All of them need some sort of change management, though, so I hope you are aware of the fact that _most_ OS (including Mac OS and most major Linux distributions) have exposed some vulnerabilities in the past. It gets even worse when you have 1000 different configurations. Hence my advocacy for "standards". I'm not a zealot - if it turns out we all can agree on one basic linux distro: I'm OK with it. But please, no DLL-hell again.

Johnny Bravo
Monday, September 08, 2003

It's hard to see systems like BSD or Linux ever becoming a unified platform. But as long as the convenience is conductive to lowering administration cost and headaches I do believe that most corporate buyers of Linux would not only welcome but actively oppress innovative little start-ups to protect a singular RedHat/SUSE corporate strain of Linux.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, September 08, 2003

Apple - made some bad business decisions (hardware and software) a long time ago and they are still paying for them today.   

"Today, Apple's enemies in education are school superintendents, not Dell (DELL ) or Microsoft (MSFT ). "

Disagree.  Apple main enemies in education and other markets are the low cost of PC hardware and the fact that Intel based PCs have been the de-facto industry standard for a long time now.  Apple can continue to drop their hardware prices and it won't make a bit of difference.

Dell and Intel based PCs - IBM designed the original IBM PC to be an open system and other companies cashed in (both on the hardware and software side).  Dell is simply a survivor in what has become a low margin business (the production and sales of personal computers).

Microsoft - may dominate the desktop PC world, but they don't dominate the lucrative enterprise business market (hardware or software) and may never be able to.

Linux - just like Unix has its niche in the business world and that is where it will stay.  Most consumers don't want a free OS (even if it is easy to use and install) if they can't run all of the popular Windows programs they currently own.

One Programmer's Opinion
Monday, September 08, 2003

> Your initial argument sounded like it were OK to have a vast amount of different OS versions deployed out there.

I think you are reading the posts much too fast. :)

I wouldn't be surprised if there are "vast amounts of different OS versions deployed", but inside embedded devices where you don't see them. You buy the access point, which comes with an OS, which you don't see at all; all you see is the browser-based interface. To see the number of different OSes, count the number of different devices you see around you!

I realize that this is a different point than the original poster is making; the larger point is that the squishiness of Linux is a good thing, not a drawback.

Even in the context of the desktop, you could argue that squishiness is good; it lets companies like Mandrake and Lindows come out of nowhere, and thus push the evolution of the platform.

Peter Breton
Monday, September 08, 2003

Lou,

If the IT deparatment does things in the company's best interest you might be right. However, they typically do things in the IT department's best interest. Therefore, if it reduces IT spending, it's not a good thing unless it otherwise increases IT spending.

pdq
Monday, September 08, 2003

Rick (or anyone else), let me ask you something.  If you were the owner of one of these Linux companies that was being marginalized by the "single standard Linux" crowd, what would you do to keep your company alive? 

I read the other thread, and it seemed to me that the special purpose crowd was making a fairly solid logical argument about why someone would want to choose that strategy, especially considering oblivion as the alternative.

I can see why there are obstacles to it in the market, however.  Isn't that the job of a marketing group, though - to overcome obstacles like that?  What prevents an IT director from choosing that route, assuming he uses his brain to make the purchasing decision, rather than basing it on what he read in last week's trade rag?  What is driving the need for a one size fits all solution? Seems to me you need to know what is preventing you from making inroads and then attack it vigorously.

Do you think you could put together a marketing plan that would let you exploit a specialization strategy like those described earlier?  What more is needed to make it work?

marketing newbie
Monday, September 08, 2003

> If you were the owner of one of these Linux companies that was being marginalized by the "single standard Linux" crowd, what would you do to keep your company alive?

1. Conform to the standard, if it is sufficiently popular
2. Find a non-standard niche to compete in

Portabella
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++Rick (or anyone else), let me ask you something.  If you were the owner of one of these Linux companies that was being marginalized by the "single standard Linux" crowd, what would you do to keep your company alive?  +++

That's an interesting, and tough, question.  First, let me point out that selling the Linux OS has never been a very profitable endeavor.  Even the biggest player, Red Hat, doesn't make much money doing it:

+++Linux software vendor Red Hat Inc. today announced revenue of $27.2 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2004, up 5% from the previous quarter and 39% higher than in the same period one year ago.

In a statement issued after the close of the U.S. financial markets, the Raleigh, N.C.-based company said it had a net income of $1.5 million for the quarter that ended May 31, compared with a net loss of $273,000 in the previous quarter and a $4.6 million net loss one year ago. +++

Actually, I have to admit I've never fully understood the Linux buzz.  As I point out in In Search of Stupidity, Bill Gates has created more millionaires than any business in history: 12K+.  Heck, he's created more BILLIONAIRES.  How many millionaires has Richard Stallman created?

I mean, it's very NICE of programmers to work for free so that IBM and HP can sell Linux server boxes at handsome margins and corporations can save money on software but I'm not precisely sure why they should get rich and programmers shouldn't.

BTW, I cover some of these points in an interview I conducted with Dan Rosenberg, author of Open Source, the Unauthorized White Papers at http://www.softwaremarketsolution.com/SMS%20Articles/An_Interview_with_Don_Rosenberg.htm

Please note that Don points out that the services model for Linux is also a tough sell.

But I digress.

To answer your question, you have three alternatives:

Create a specialized verson of Linux embedded in a piece of hardware that can be sold as an appliance a la the Linux server blades so popular in the market.

Create an application.  Stay away from modifying the underlying platform; that makes IT uneasy.

Sell a services package that combines installation, custom modification of your application and post sales consulting.

+++What is driving the need for a one size fits all solution? Seems to me you need to know what is preventing you from making inroads and then attack it vigorously.+++

Because you're adding a massive layer of complexity where it's not really wanted.  It's enough to manage and maintain applications.  Now you want corporate IT to manage applications AND dive into the issue of managing multiple operating system variants.  This means an inherently unstable platform.  What happens if Vendor A goes out of business and is no longer able to suppor their "tuned and optimized" version of Linux?  Who modifies it?  Me?  I'm going to have to figure what that code does, maintain it, get someone on staff to grok its functionality, port it, get rid of it, etc etc etc?  Now, multiply these issues by dozens of variants.

See the problem?  IT hates dealing with different WINDOWS variants; but Linux is far more mutable.

Maybe the opportunity is for a meta application that tracks modules that "snap" into the platform and allows them to be "unsnapped" without massive disruption of operations.  Just a thought.

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

That's an excellent point.  I know I'd pay for the ability to cleanly add and remove components to my systems without any aggravating side effects.  Especially if the facility was also smart enough to optimize the changed system.

I remember reading once that one of the early successes of production system technology was the creation of an expert system that performed a similar function for DEC hardware configurations.  As I remember, the market snapped it right up.

Thanks for the insight - definitely something to think on.

marketing newbie
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I really don't understand what you are all talking about "different Linuxes" (Linices?). There is only one OS, the rest of the distribution is software (and, admittedly, different ways to install that software - dselect, apt RPM, whatever).


Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++I really don't understand what you are all talking about "different Linuxes" (Linices?). There is only one OS, the rest of the distribution is software (and, admittedly, different ways to install that software - dselect, apt RPM, whatever). +++

Once you've implemented different layers and types of functionality into an OS,  you've got a variant.  The kernel may be the same, but from the standpoint of the market, different installs, UI, and similar necessary components makes it a variant.

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

a bit off topic but there was a comment about the Xbox sales explosion after the mod chips came out.  Since MS loses a lot of money (by normal standards no M$ standards) on the hardware and tries to make it up on the software side, this situation really screws M$.  I have several friends who don't have a single original XBox game - just pirated copies.  I can tell you that Sony is more than happy to lose such connsumers to M$.

tekumse
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

--The question is how quickly will Linux consolidate down to a single platform and who will control it. --

Apple.


--And what will this platform look like? --


OS X

--Who wins the UI contest? --

Apple

-- Does a single Linux have a chance on the desktop against Windows?--

No.

note to pedants: yes, I know OSX is BSD, not linux. but no one really cares.

dead horse
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

> Apple.

Nope, they don't control Linux in *any* way, unless this statement is incredibly sloppy shorthand for, "A Unix variant will dominate the desktop and that variant will be OS X".

> OS X

Nice product. Maybe it does win the UI contest. But is it taking marketshare from Windows?

> Does a single Linux have a chance on the desktop against Windows?

Yes. The driving forces are economic, and have been outlined in previous JoS threads. Linux has plenty of problems, but if the economic drivers are powerful enough, these will be overcome.

Portabella
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"Actually, I have to admit I've never fully understood the Linux buzz.  As I point out in In Search of Stupidity, Bill Gates has created more millionaires than any business in history: 12K+.  Heck, he's created more BILLIONAIRES.  How many millionaires has Richard Stallman created?"

I am not sure what this factoid is supposed to demonstrate.  It tells me a little about the distribution of wealth; it doesn't tell me if any new wealth has been generated.  Has Microsoft made its money at the expense of its users, or has it been a rising tide that lifts all boats?

The wealth that Stallman creates is not concentrated in the hands of 12,000 millionaires, but in the hands of the 6 billion people on this earth that don't have to pay $100 a pop for usable software.

"I mean, it's very NICE of programmers to work for free so that IBM and HP can sell Linux server boxes at handsome margins and corporations can save money on software but I'm not precisely sure why they should get rich and programmers shouldn't."

Well, accumulating wealth may be a goal for some, but many are happy just to have enough snacks to eat and a safe, well lighted computer terminal.  It all depends on what makes you happy.  I would guess that the people most actively involved in Linux development do it for the love of contributing to something much bigger than themselves.  Some folks spend countless hours collecting stamps or building model airplanes; open source development is a hobby that contributes back to the world.

Alyosha`
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++Yes. The driving forces are economic, and have been outlined in previous JoS threads. Linux has plenty of problems, but if the economic drivers are powerful enough, these will be overcome. ++++

This boils down to it will sell if it sells.  Right now, it's not selling.

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++a bit off topic but there was a comment about the Xbox sales explosion after the mod chips came out.  Since MS loses a lot of money (by normal standards no M$ standards) on the hardware and tries to make it up on the software side, this situation really screws M$.  I have several friends who don't have a single original XBox game - just pirated copies.  I can tell you that Sony is more than happy to lose such connsumers to M$.+++

Hmmm.  On the other hand, as more and more people use and hack the Xbox, will it continue to grow in market share and reach profitability? Nintendos GameCube is currently on the ropes in the US; they're not even building them right now.

BTW, Sony loses money on its Playstations as well.  It actually makes its profits on manufacturing the CDs.

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++I am not sure what this factoid is supposed to demonstrate. +++

Perhaps because you mistake a simple fact for a fantasy construct you label a "factoid?"

+++It tells me a little about the distribution of wealth+++

Well, I would think so.  How many other companies have made so many people rich?  And this figure doesn't track the near millionaires; there are a lot more of them.

+++it doesn't tell me if any new wealth has been generated. +++

The US market for software has grown to over $136B over the last twenty years.  I think some serious wealth has been created.

+++Has Microsoft made its money at the expense of its users, or has it been a rising tide that lifts all boats?+++

Of course Microsoft makes it money by selling things to people.  That's how modern economies work.  We tried Communism and command economies; they didn't work.

+++but in the hands of the 6 billion people on this earth that don't have to pay $100 a pop for usable software.+++

I'm not sure what this all means.  The price of software has gone down since the beginning of the modern software industry while functionality has increased.  Factor in inflation and MS software certainly seems a bargain.  WordStar sans spelling corrector, mailmerge, indexing cost $495 in 1983.  Throw in the rest of the goodies and it came to $1K.

What does office cost now?  $280 to $500 depending on options?

Seems a very good deal.

+++Well, accumulating wealth may be a goal for some, but many are happy just to have enough snacks to eat and a safe, well lighted computer terminal. +++

So that's the Linux dream?  A lifetime  of cheesy poofs being devoured in cubicles?

Somehow it doesn't seem very...enticing.

A world of programmers all busy working to ensure they access to unhealthy munchies and cramped quarters.

While other people get rich.

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"A world of programmers all busy working to ensure they access to unhealthy munchies and cramped quarters.

While other people get rich."

<g> sounds a lot like the writers lifestyle to me....

what keeps you going, as a writer, despite the knowledge that you are not going to get rich...merely earn a reasonable living?

anonymous american
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

> This boils down to it will sell if it sells. 

The economic reasons for an open source OS have been discussed to death, and there are plenty of places to read them. No point in rehashing them all here.

> Right now, it's not selling.

Not so, I think the amount of Linux desktops is steadily increasing.

And if the Chinese Linux platform happens, the number will increase sharply indeed!

Portabella
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

<g> sounds a lot like the writers lifestyle to me....

+++what keeps you going, as a writer, despite the knowledge that you are not going to get rich...merely earn a reasonable living? +++

How do you know I'm not rich?

Ane what makes you think writers don't want to be rich?  Every writer thinks, in the back of his/her mind, that THIS book is a sure best seller.

And will make them rich!

Alas, it doesn't usually turn out that way.  But it does often enough to make one strive for the goal.

On the other hand, if I were supposed to write books for free or for a chance at a life time supply of cheesy poofs I don't think I'd bother.

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"How do you know I'm not rich?"

because you are a writer :)

Honestly, its easier to be hit by a bus than become rich as a writer. 
You can do a little better if you can persuade companies to pay you vast sums to talk at them during conferences, but its still pretty hard to do more than make a living unless you hit celebrity status.

"Alas, it doesn't usually turn out that way.  But it does often enough to make one strive for the goal."

statistically speaking the number of times it does turn out that way are not actually significant...

"On the other hand, if I were supposed to write books for free or for a chance at a life time supply of cheesy poofs I don't think I'd bother."

and _that_ is the difference between an artist and someone out for the main chance with the least work.

In my experience people who write for the money generally write books that are not worth reading.
Show me a book written by someone who loves writing so much that they would find a way to do it whether it was going to make them rich or not, and ill read it :)
hint:  As a writer you are not _supposed_ to write books, you are supposed to _want_ to write books.

anonymous american
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++The economic reasons for an open source OS have been discussed to death, and there are plenty of places to read them. No point in rehashing them all here.+++

Please feel free to discuss, or not discuss, whatever pleases you.

But I still have not heard any convincing reason why programmers should be so enthusiastic about the joys of Linux.

+++Not so, I think the amount of Linux desktops is steadily increasing. +++

Not in any significan number as of yet.  Wal-Mart is doing some business with Lindows machines and the hobbyists like Linux.  But there has been no significant migration off of Windows.

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++In my experience people who write for the money generally write books that are not worth reading.+++

Well, that's as may be.  Hemmingway and Fitzgerald were always happy to see fat royalty checks. They seem to have been decent writers.  They may not impress you, but the English literary world has a different idea.

+++hint:  As a writer you are not _supposed_ to write books, you are supposed to _want_ to write books. +++

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."
Boswell: Life

I think I'll go with the Dr. over you.

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"But I still have not heard any convincing reason why programmers should be so enthusiastic about the joys of Linux."


I have yet to hear a convincing reason why anyone would want to be a writer...?

its not the money obviously, 99.99% of writers dont make much more than a bare living if they are lucky.

So why would anyone choose to do it?

anonymous american
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"Hemmingway and Fitzgerald were always happy to see fat royalty checks."

accepting money in exchange for writing is different from writing only in exchange for money.

you _do_ see the difference, dont you?


"Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day."
  --  Ernest Hemingway

anonymous american
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"When I'm writing, I know I'm doing the thing I was born to do."
  --  Anne Sexton

anonymous american
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++I have yet to hear a convincing reason why anyone would want to be a writer...?

its not the money obviously, 99.99% of writers dont make much more than a bare living if they are lucky.+++

Well, that's not true, but off the point.

+++So why would anyone choose to do it? +++

So programmers desire to be poor and barely make a living?

This is the economic model driving Linux?

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++accepting money in exchange for writing is different from writing only in exchange for money.+++

These gentleman didn't "accept" money; they negotiated deals and wanted to make a whole lot of money.

+++"Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. +++

Hemingway liked to be paid handsomely for his loneliness.  You'll note he says nothing about wanting to be poor, and we know from the way he lived his life he liked to live well.

But apparently programmers like to be poor?

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++"When I'm writing, I know I'm doing the thing I was born to do."
  --  Anne Sexton +++

I suppose Dave Cutler said the same thing when developing VAX and NT but I assume he liked becoming a millionaire.

But apparently the economic model driving Linux is a quasi-religious desire to take a vow of  poverty?

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"Well, that's not true, but off the point."

actually it _is_ true and the amount earnt by writers is entirely on the point.

You are expecting programmers to meet standards that you do not apply to your own profession, or to the professions that others follow.

You have not yet given me a convincing argument as to why anyone would choose to be a writer?


"Hemingway liked to be paid handsomely for his loneliness."

But there is no doubt in my mind (looking at his history and lifestyle) that he would have continued to write even if he was not.  Do you believe he would have not written a word unless he was paid?

anonymous american
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"But apparently the economic model driving Linux is a quasi-religious desire to take a vow of  poverty?"

not at all.  I am an opensource programmer.  I am paid a good salary to do this.
I live a lifestyle that is far more luxurious than Hemmingways ever was.

But I will never be rich.  (unless I start my own software company which is  different story)

anonymous american
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

> But I still have not heard any convincing reason why programmers should be so enthusiastic about the joys of Linux.

Uh, lots of programmers are already enthusiastic about Linux. You don't find it convincing? Then don't be enthusiastic.  Ain't no one forcing you.

> Not in any significan number as of yet.  Wal-Mart is doing some business with Lindows machines and the hobbyists like Linux.  But there has been no significant migration off of Windows.

Look at it that way if you like. Plenty of folks said that Linux would never, ever be on the desktop at all; that there would be no significant commercial software available for it, at all, ever, and so on. These predictions were all wrong.

So far the adoption curve has only increased, not decreased. When the curve slows significantly, then you may have an argument. Til then, all we're doing is:

"Will"
"Will not"
"Will"
"Will not"

Portabella
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++actually it _is_ true and the amount earnt by writers is entirely on the point.
+++

Actually, it's not, and I have much more experience in the field than you.  People who write want to make lots of money and professional writers want to make a WHOLE lot of money.

Now, depending on their skills and talents, what they can make differs.  But the starving in the garret bit is for people who don't know better.

+++You are expecting programmers to meet standards that you do not apply to your own profession, or to the professions that others follow.+++

I don't apply these "standards" to my own profession.  Writers want to make LOTS of money.  They LOVE making money.  Show them a company making 12K of them millionaires and they'll be there faster than you can step on a rat in a garret.

+++"Hemingway liked to be paid handsomely for his loneliness."

But there is no doubt in my mind (looking at his history and lifestyle) that he would have continued to write even if he was not.  Do you believe he would have not written a word unless he was paid? +++

Probably not.  He had talent and was able to sell it and did so, handsomely.  A "word?"  I'm sure he would have writteN a "word."

But this off the point.  Writers like to make money regardless of how difficult this may be.  They try to make as much as they can. 

The proprietary system of writing software has shown it is able to make many people rich or very comfortable.

Linux has demonstrated nothing of the sort.  If we are to believe what I've read here, programmers want to live in garrets eating cheesy poofs and presumably date consumptive girl friends.

Is this the economic driver of Linux?  The desire of programmers to be poor, ill fed and febrile?

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"Actually, it's not,"

yes, it is :)

"and I have much more experience in the field than you"

thats an interesting assumption to make. 

"People who write want to make lots of money and professional writers want to make a WHOLE lot of money."

of course they do.  The question is not whether they want to make money, its whether the only reason they write is in the hope of one day creating a best seller and becoming rich from that.

There is not a single good author out there today who would stop writing if someone finally convinced them that it would not make them rich, but would merely provide them a decent living for the rest of their life.
There _are_ however a lot of bad authors who would.

"But the starving in the garret bit is for people who don't know better"
who is talking about starving?  you are the only one doing so.
I am merely pointing out that decent people are not necessarily driven by the chance to become rich, although we would all like to do so, many find that the tradeoff (always busy, stupidly long hours etc etc)required is more than we are willing to pay.
The fact that you are finding this so difficult to understand is quite an indictment.


"Writers want to make LOTS of money.  They LOVE making money."
Indeed, but its not the only reason they write.  If it _is_ the only reason they write, Im willing to state that they write nothing worth reading.

"He had talent and was able to sell it and did so"
indeed, but he was writing before he was able to sell it, correct?
in fact, he began writing for nothing and would have continued doing so for the pleasure it brought him if he had to.

Writers do _not_ become writers to make themselves rich, they become writers because they want to write.  Like everyone they generally manage to cope of someone offers them money.


"Linux has demonstrated nothing of the sort"

Im comfortable, although not rich.  I earn a good living.  Why is it so hard for you to understand that being rich is not the only thing that drives me? 
I earn a good days wage for a good days work, thats all I want.

If I wanted more I _could_ write propriety applications to run on Linux if I choose, its a perfectly good option.  It might even make me rich :)

anonymous american
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

+++Indeed, but its not the only reason they write.  If it _is_ the only reason they write, Im willing to state that they write nothing worth reading.+++

I'm sure that writers write because they discover they have the ability to do so and can make a living doing so.  And just about ALL of them want to make a lot of money.

Shakespeare was a good writer but very much a businessman who wrote to make a nice buck.

+++Writers do _not_ become writers to make themselves rich, they become writers because they want to write.  Like everyone they generally manage to cope of someone offers them money.+++

Yes, well, I'm sure programmers program because they like it.

However, I'm want to know why they wish others to make lots of money off their sweat.

+++Why is it so hard for you to understand that being rich is not the only thing that drives me? 
I earn a good days wage for a good days work, thats all I want.+++

Ah.  So it's OK for other people to make lots of money off your efforts while you do not?

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

yes, it is :)

No it's not.

+++"and I have much more experience in the field than you"+++

+++thats an interesting assumption to make. +++

Probably not.  But don't worry about it.  If you've written books with the idea of not making as much money as you could, let us know.

+++who is talking about starving?  you are the only one doing so.+++

You are.  You need to remember your own statements:

"its not the money obviously, 99.99% of writers dont make much more than a bare living if they are lucky."

Sounds like the starving writer in the garret trope to me!  (I assume the "unlucky" ones aren't eating well.)

And it's nonsense.

But really off the point.

+++I am merely pointing out that decent people are not necessarily driven by the chance to become rich, although we would all like to do so, many find that the tradeoff (always busy, stupidly long hours etc etc)required is more than we are willing to pay.
The fact that you are finding this so difficult to understand is quite an indictment.+++

Yes, yes, very noble of you.  But this doesn't answer the question of why programmers are so willing to sacrifice their economic well being for people like IBM and HP. 

I'm glad US programmers want to help China, a repressive oligarchy (I'm not sure you can call it "Communist" anymore) build better computers so that they can build a better military, but while they see their jobs heading offshore, how are they planning to compensate?

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"Sounds like the starving writer in the garret trope to me!  (I assume the "unlucky" ones aren't eating well.)"

interesting.  I would have said there was a decent step between "making a bare living" and "starving", but Ive been wrong before.

"But really off the point."

no, its not.  The point is that most writers write to make a living, not to get rich.  If they dont get rich, but manage to make themselves a decent living wage then they consider themselves lucky.

ie, Im saying there is nothing wrong with earning a living wage. and _not_ being desperate to strike it rich.


"But this doesn't answer the question of why programmers are so willing to sacrifice their economic well being for people like IBM and HP"

wow, you really are struggling with the concept of working for a living wage without hope of getting rich, aren't you?
..Im actually beginning to feel sorry for you, thats rather rare on this forum.

I _haven't_ sacrificed my economic well being, I make a very healthy wage and live a perfectly good lifestyle.
I haven't even really sacrificed my ability to  strike it rich, although given that I have to choose between spending my time outside normal work hours with my family or working on 'the next killer app', and given that I have no idea what 'the next killer app' is, Im pretty much betting striking it rich is not going to happen for me.
_but_ I do lead a perfectly good life. (I dont work for IBM or HP either..)


"I'm glad US programmers want to help China, a repressive oligarchy (I'm not sure you can call it "Communist" anymore) build better computers so that they can build a better military"

LOL, so your real objection to OSS is that its strengthening China's military?
I can think of no way to comfort you there, except to point out that Microsoft is also providing software to China, maybe you should take comfort from the idea that instead of using the quality microsoft software China has decided to 'make do' with low quality open source stuff.

"but while they see their jobs heading offshore, how are they planning to compensate?"

wow, you are spreading your neet really widely here and losing a little coherence....how exactly is OSS responsible for Microsoft outsourcing its development to india?

anonymous american
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"And just about ALL of them want to make a lot of money.

Shakespeare was a good writer but very much a businessman who wrote to make a nice buck. "

nothing wrong with wanting to make money....everything wrong with not doing anything unless there is a possibility of striking it rich.

"Yes, well, I'm sure programmers program because they like it."

I actually have rather a love/hate relationship to programming. 

"However, I'm want to know why they wish others to make lots of money off their sweat."

ye gods.  Isn't that the whole idea of capitalism?  I hire you, and you work for a wage and I make lots of money from the work you do.
or are _you_ advocating a return to communism?

"Ah.  So it's OK for other people to make lots of money off your efforts while you do not?"

:)  stating the blindingly obvious is clearly a talent you have.

Thats the whole idea of capitalism as I understand it.

I get paid a good salary, I work 9 hours a day to earn that salary.  The company that pays me does so because they hope that my work will either save them more money than they pay me, or earn them more money than they pay me.

Im not entirely sure what your objections are to this economic model?  but perhaps you would feel more at home in the Communist Party yourself?

anonymous american
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Does anyone else here detect an alarming drop in quality of the posts in this entire *forum*???

This thread, and the other one started by Rick, is an obvious attempt at cheap exposure for himself and his book. So a marketing weenie comes up with, frankly, a lame book about - what exactly? Really, nothing useful at all. Dilbert without the comic strip. Then the incessant whining about Apple market share shows a deep misunderstanding of what Apple's business is all about. 3% market share of... what? Desktop computers that need to be rebooted more than once a day? 3% market share of dissatisfied users? Then ridiculing the whole Linux effort.... Rick obviously thinks that corporate IT has to do it the Wintel way or suffer the consequences - which are what exactly? Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity. I have consulted to quite a few fortune 500 companies and in more cases than I'd like to admit, some of the corporate IT folk have been quite clueless about the business their own company is involved in. Try and engage them in a conversation about something their front office is currently doing and you get that glassy eyed blank stare from them. It's more like, "Oh I need to install this Microsoft patch/update on your PC, now!". And these are the guys entrusted to dictate the corporate computing requirements that we must conform to?

I don't know why, but every time Rick brings up the confrom to Microsoft thing, I think of that scene in Life of Brian where the whole crowd shouts out "Yes, we are all individuals!"

.
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Djeezes, and the lot here are supposed to be developers?

"Some writers that write for money are crap"
as you all should know does not automatically lead to
"All writers that write for love are good".

As for the Linux is free myth, as has been adequately demostrated in other threaths on this subject, business Linux licences are more expensive than Windows.
Yes, I know there are "free" linux distros out there, but the support cycle on those make them only usable to cowboy entrepreneurs, business amateurs and hobbyists. 6 month release cycles with 1 year support after release? Non-certified OS for themajor applications running on the Linux platform?
MS sometimes gets scoffed at for only having a 5 year support after release policy, and have been pressured into 7 year lifetimes before.
I am sure there will be lots of those West European college kids wanting to spend a few years of dorm time fixing and updating 5 year old kernels to save the BigCo's they love so much a few pennies.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

""Some writers that write for money are crap"
as you all should know does not automatically lead to
"All writers that write for love are good"."

very true.

"As for the Linux is free myth"

of course its a myth, every computer system costs money to run, and support always costs as well.
<g> only a cheap bastard would expect otherwise.

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Free as in Freedom, baby!

The thing about Gnu, Linux, whatever is that it represents code reuse, which is a holy Grail.  Most companies need to develop their own intellectual property, and this really hurts scaling.  Companies who already have a lot of IP are in a much easier position to get more, killing new competition.  So you should probably thinkof the GPL as a new company of sorts that allows you to build on its IP by releasing under the GPL (unless you pay for an exemption or something).

sammy
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

> This thread, and the other one started by Rick, is an obvious attempt at cheap exposure for himself and his book.

I agree.

It's reminiscent of Monty Python:

"Argument is more than simple disagreement!"
"No, it's not!!"

Stop the trolling, man.

Portabella
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

> As for the Linux is free myth, as has been adequately demostrated in other threaths on this subject, business Linux licences are more expensive than Windows.

It concluded nothing of the kind.

Typically I have much greater flexibility in structuring costs if I choose Linux, purely from anOS licensing perspective.

> I am sure there will be lots of those West European college kids wanting to spend a few years of dorm time fixing and updating 5 year old kernels to save the BigCo's they love so much a few pennies.

The big companies can pay someone, indefinitely if they like, to maintain them. That's a choice they don't have with many enterprise applications.

Portabella
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"Typically I have much greater flexibility in structuring costs if I choose Linux, purely from anOS licensing perspective."

Could you expand that a bit? I am not sure how I should interpret this.

I agree partly with you on the bringing an OS branch inhouse part for BigCo's. But I think you need to be a VERY big Co before you would have enough pull to convince Oracle, CA, IBM etc. to support MyCo Linux installs.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"Once you've implemented different layers and types of functionality into an OS,  you've got a variant"

So every time someone installs a new device driver in Windows there is a new variant of Windows? Puhlease.


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++"Once you've implemented different layers and types of functionality into an OS,  you've got a variant"

So every time someone installs a new device driver in Windows there is a new variant of Windows? Puhlease. +++

Oh, behave.  A UI is not a "device driver."  Multiple, incompatible installs requiring multiple versions of the same product for installation purposes certainly creates a major problem for both publishers and developers.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

> This thread, and the other one started by Rick, is an obvious attempt at cheap exposure for himself and his book.

Stop the trolling, man.

Oh, my goodness!  You mean, you think I'm mentioning In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters because I hope people may buy In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing and that my sole reason for being here is to mention In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing which can be bought at www.insearchofstupidity.com or at your friendly neighborhood book store?

That's just terrible!

Now, back to the topic of programmers interested in impoverishing themselves for the greater glory of corporations.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++ye gods.  Isn't that the whole idea of capitalism?  I hire you, and you work for a wage and I make lots of money from the work you do.+++

It seems companies such as Microsoft and many others did better than that.  B. Gates made a lot of money (on paper of course.  He can't actually put his hands on all those billions; they're, in a sense, theoretical) but he also made a lot of other people, particularly programmers, a lot of money.

Now, for reasons that are somewhat unclear, many programmers are spending time help enrich companies like IBM, HP, Dell, and hundreds of others and not seeing any benefit to themselves.  (At least ostensibly.)

This seems rather curious behavior.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"but he also made a lot of other people, particularly programmers, a lot of money."

<shrug> he never made me a dime.

I really do not understand your fixation on mr gates....worshipping  a man because he is rich is rather shallow.

"This seems rather curious behavior."

I really do not understand your confusion.

I work primarily with OSS during my job, prolly ~35 hours a week tweaking and improving it and also adding new features to various applications etc.
This directly benefits the company I work for, presumably by an amount equal or greater than what they pay me.

If this indirectly benefits some other companies, why should I think of this as a bad thing?

If by benefiting myself and the company I work for I can also benefit other companies, surely thats a win/win situation?

Really you are beginning to sound like someone with a real axe to grind.

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++interesting.  I would have said there was a decent step between "making a bare living" and "starving", but Ive been wrong before.+++

Yes, but you had to spoil it all by throwing in the element of "luck."

But again, off the point.

+++The point is that most writers write to make a living, not to get rich.  If they dont get rich, but manage to make themselves a decent living wage then they consider themselves lucky.+++

The point is that while few writers get rich most would love to be and few are interested in writing technical manuals for nothing for large corporations so that these corporations can therefore command even handsomer margins on their Linux servers while the writers do not benefit from their writing.

But this seems precisely the economic model that the Linux community espouses.

+++wow, you really are struggling with the concept of working for a living wage without hope of getting rich, aren't you?+++

No.  The concept I find interesting is outlined above.

+++I _haven't_ sacrificed my economic well being, I make a very healthy wage and live a perfectly good lifestyle.+++

That may be.  I've never said you were part of the Linux effort.  I've never said that you're the type of peson who, say, writes a device driver for a bit of hardware without getting paid and puts it out on the Inet for use by anybody.

Again, that's NICE of a programmer to do, but then HP or IBM uses that driver and pays you...nothing.  And device driver creation is not easy to do; tricky stuff.

HP and IBM salute you!  The check will NOT be in the mail.

A very curious ethos, at least to me.

+++how exactly is OSS responsible for Microsoft outsourcing its development to india? +++

Oops!  You're heading into True Believer Mode.

Wife...when...stop...beat....

Bad thing to do; wrecks the mind.

Switch back to Rational Mode.  Countries such as MXO, Germany, China, and others are funding Linux efforts in an attempt to build their outsourcing abilities.  I spend a lot of time in MXO; I see a lot of this.

Linux seems to be accelerating this trend.

From the standpoint of US Linux programmers, what is their economic stake in this?

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

> You mean, you think I'm mentioning In Search of Stupidity

You needn't look far for stupidity, then; you can start with the nearest mirror!

Or maybe you're an enemy of the real Rick Chapman, impersonating him on this forum to make sure everyone thinks he's an jerkoff and no one buys his book!

In that case, your strategy is working perfectly, dude! I'll never even borrow it from the library.

Portabella
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

>>Typically I have much greater flexibility in structuring costs if I choose Linux, purely from anOS licensing perspective.

> Could you expand that a bit? I am not sure how I should interpret this.

The OS is free; you can literally download the ISOs for the cost of the bandwidth, and install it on as many machines as you like. This is true even for the various enterprise servers that Linux companies like RedHat and SuSe offer.

Not so for the various varieties of Microsoft server. In one of the other threads you mentioned, Philo complained about not even being able to run eval copies of software on his machine, because it wasn't SuperHyperMegaAdvancedServer. This problem doesn't exist in the Linux world.

You pay for support if you want it, and there are quite a number of ways to structure it. These are mentioned on both the JoS thread and the Slashdot thread that the JoS thread refers to, so I won't list them again.

One of the fundamental shifts in OSS is that control of the licensing moves to the customer. You can bet that any business that's been taken to the cleaners by Microsoft, Oracle, Intuit, etc is going to be interested in that.

Portabella
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

rick - you left your brain at home. Gnome and all the other GUIs used on Linux are not part of Linux, nor are the different shells.


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++I really do not understand your fixation on mr gates....worshipping  a man because he is rich is rather shallow.+++

You need to read more carefully (and you need to read chapter 10 of In Search of Stupidity.  It's hardly a case of Gates "worship").

My point is that he has made a lot of OTHER people, particularly programmers, rich and near rich and this seems to be a strong economic incentive.  The Linux model seems, on the face of it, to do the exact opposite to programmers.

Linus Torvalds is becoming rich from Linux;  not mega rich, of course; you  have to have a company to do that.  But he's wealthy and becoming more so.  Are you becoming wealthy?  B. Gates made many people wealthy; shouldn't Linux make more programmers rich?

+++This directly benefits the company I work for, presumably by an amount equal or greater than what they pay me.

If this indirectly benefits some other companies, why should I think of this as a bad thing?+++

I didn't say it's bad; I'm asking why you shouldn't benefit?

+++If by benefiting myself and the company I work for I can also benefit other companies, surely thats a win/win situation?+++

If the other company benefiting is an Indian outsources using the collective efforts of Linux programmers to hire programmers at 25% of what you're being paid, and one of the reasons that they can do this is they have not had to make any capital investment in software, I could see where this could be a win/lose situation.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++rick - you left your brain at home. Gnome and all the other GUIs used on Linux are not part of Linux, nor are the different shells. +++

Of course they're not.  When people open the box and install the UI they of course know  that "that's not Linux" that's just a UI.  Everyone is dying to buy an incomprehensible command line driven character-based OS.

Seem as they understand that underneath the MAC OS there's a command-driven UNIX variant.

Please.  Try to stay rooted in reality.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++In that case, your strategy is working perfectly, dude! I'll never even borrow it from the library. +++

Don't worry about it.  I need new case studies and silliness for the sequel!  If everyone becomes smart, I'm in trouble.

Now, calm down and relax.  Perhaps a nice session recompiling a kernel somewhere will help you find inner peace.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++One of the fundamental shifts in OSS is that control of the licensing moves to the customer. You can bet that any business that's been taken to the cleaners by Microsoft, Oracle, Intuit, etc is going to be interested in that. +++

MS, Oracle and Intuit are companies too.  Why shouldn't they be paid for their software and their intellectual property?  Why should law firms, for instance, be entitled to "cheap" software?

How many insurance companies make 12K of their employees millionaires?

Exactly why should we root for car companies over software firms?

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Portabella,

"The OS is free; you can literally download the ISOs for the cost of the bandwidth, and install it on as many machines as you like. This is true even for the various enterprise servers that Linux companies like RedHat and SuSe offer.
...
You pay for support if you want it,
"

This is what I also thought before having looked into it, however:
Let's take RedHat Enterprise Linux WS, the equivalent of Windows XP Professional.
You can download it, but only for 179$, which includes just basic setup and config support (90 days vs Microsofts 60 days) and a 1 year subscription to the Red Hat Network Services (is this the equivalent of WindowsUpdate/MSDN/KB/Technet ?)
You can learn all this from:
http://www.redhat.com/software/rhel/ws/

Now once you downloaded this you can only use it on 1 machine ( 2 proc, 4 GB ram max). This you agree to by checking the required Licence agreement "I have read and agreed to the terms of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 2.1 Basic Edition subscription agreement".
Again I urge all the nay sayers out there to read this very interesting licence. http://www.redhat.com/licenses/rhel_us_2-1.html

You might be surprised that "If Customer wishes to increase the number of Installed System, then Customer will purchase from Red Hat additional Services for each additional Installed System. " (section I.4 Reporting and Audit)

Not only can you not share the software as you like, you can not even share patches: "The Support Services purchased by Customer are intended for use only for the benefit of the Customer and only for the Installed Systems with subscriptions. Customer may not use one subscription for Support Services for more than one Installed System. Any unauthorized use of the Support Services will be deemed to be a material breach of this Agreement." and "The Contact may not use Support Services on the basis of this Agreement to benefit any person or entity other than the Customer. "

I am sure there will be many more surprises for those that have never read such a licence. Give it a go at http://www.redhat.com/licenses/rhel_us_2-1.html and then come back and tell me why you think you can have RedHat Enterprise Linux for free, purchasing "support" only if you like.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"I work primarily with OSS during my job, prolly ~35 hours a week tweaking and improving it and also adding new features to various applications etc.
This directly benefits the company I work for, presumably by an amount equal or greater than what they pay me.
If this indirectly benefits some other companies, why should I think of this as a bad thing?"

If your company pays all of the costs (your time) and all its competitors share equaly in the benefits (your code), then your boss might not be too happy once he realises this. Once he realizes that you would still be writing this code if you worked for a competitor, he might be very happy to let you go.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

> Exactly why should we root for car companies over software firms?

Rooting is not the point. The idiot market place goes where it wills; like surfers, we ride the waves.

If a shift in licensing is in the winds, then we should ask how it can profit *us*.

I'll happily work for a car company *or* a software firm.

Portabella
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

If a shift in licensing is in the winds, then we should ask how it can profit *us*.

I'm not sure who "us" is.  I'm asking what is the economic incentive for programmers to band behind an economic model that seems to offer them few benefits.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Let's take RedHat Enterprise Linux WS, the equivalent of Windows XP Professional.
You can download it, but only for 179$, which includes just basic setup and config support (90 days vs Microsofts 60 days) and a 1 year subscription to the Red Hat Network Services (is this the equivalent of WindowsUpdate/MSDN/KB/Technet ?)
You can learn all this from:
http://www.redhat.com/software/rhel/ws/

Fascinating stuff!  I must add this tidbit to the Open Source section in the 4th Edition of the Handbook.

I am in your debt.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"You can download it, but only for 179$"

what a load of rubbish.  Its _open source_ software, you can download it from:
http://www.redhat.com/download/howto_download.html

If you dont want to compile it yourself you have the option of purchasing a precompiled version from their store, or from (for instance) me.

<g> personally if you dont want to compile it yourself Id suggest getting it from the redhat store since I have neither the time nor the inclination to support a non-technical user using Linux.

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"If your company pays all of the costs (your time) and all its competitors share equaly in the benefits (your code), then your boss might not be too happy once he realises this."

depends on how you look at it.  My boss is getting the equivalent of ~1000000 man hours of work for free, refusing to accept this would place him at a distinct disadvantage to those of his competitors who _do_ accept it.
So far through myself and 2 others he has contributed ~9000 man hours himself, and in return has received ~1000000 man hours of work for free.
Figures like that make OSS look pretty bloody sexy really.

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++"You can download it, but only for 179$"

what a load of rubbish.  Its _open source_ software, you can download it from:
http://www.redhat.com/download/howto_download.html+++

Ah, errrrmmm.  I believe the message said "RedHat Enterprise Linux WS."  Does this link take me to a place where I can download "RedHat Enterprise Linux WS?" It doesn't seem to mention this product.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++So far through myself and 2 others he has contributed ~9000 man hours himself, and in return has received ~1000000 man hours of work for free.+++

Well, don't you think you should work for free then?  You boss would benefit even more!  I'm sure he'd be happy to get that additional free work and become even richer.

IBM and HP and Dell and he could exchange warm notes in which they discuss the big hearts of programmers everywhere helping make them richer than they are.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"My point is that he has made a lot of OTHER people, particularly programmers, rich and near rich and this seems to be a strong economic incentive."

a strong incentive to do what exactly?  purchase windows?  because he makes such a huge profit from selling it that he can afford to make others into milionaires?  Im not sure I follow this logic..

A strong incentive to work at microsoft perhaps?  I can see that, but Im living in england, I have a good job and no real desire to change.

"The Linux model seems, on the face of it, to do the exact opposite to programmers."

take money _away_ from programmers?  thats just plain stupid. 
Some people do choose to work on OSS for free, thats their choice and if they get enough out of doing so to make it worthwhile who am I (or you) to judge?  personally I expect a fair days wage for a fair days work, I get that and so I am happy.


"Linus Torvalds is becoming rich from Linux"

??? only because employees appear to be taking it as proof that hes a decent programmer and so he is getting good jobs.
well earned rep in my opinion...

"But he's wealthy and becoming more so.  Are you becoming wealthy"

LOL, aiming at the jealous and envious crowds?  christ thats low....so you feel that Linus deserves absolutely no benefit of any kind for creating Linux? 
you are proving yourself to be a selfish, greedy and jealous jerk IMO.
Im beginning to understand what drives you and frankly its pretty ugly, not everyone is driven by envy and greed, incredible though it must be to you.

"I didn't say it's bad; I'm asking why you shouldn't benefit?"

and Im explaining that I _do_ benefit, I have a very good job that pays very well....

"I've never said you were part of the Linux effort"

I _am_ a part of the Linux effort (whether you say so or not), I have also contributed code to a number of other OS applications where we have needed to improve on what was available.

"I've never said that you're the type of peson who, say, writes a device driver for a bit of hardware without getting paid and puts it out on the Inet for use by anybody."

Im not, but, and this is the point, thats not the only kind of person who contributes to OSS. 
OSS development is increasingly driven by money from companies that see the advantages to themselves in funding it.

The company that employees me is such a company, it pays me a very good wage to work on OSS and also provide the usual inhouse support for its windows and Linux operating systems.

"A very curious ethos, at least to me."

<shrug> the people who do it for free are (in the minority these days) presumably getting other things out of it, and more power to them.
One day Im going to retire, when I do I am prolly going to spend at least some of my time contributing code for free...writing code is what I do and its what I want to do, if others benefit from the code I write then that is all good.

"Germany, China, and others are funding Linux efforts in an attempt to build their outsourcing abilities"

LOL, you dont mean that countries other than America are trying to build viable IT industries do you?  thats a terrible thing.

"Linux seems to be accelerating this trend."
So is the internet, in fact if I was going to choose between which has benefited outsourcing the most, between email, the internet and Linux, I dont believe I would choose Linux.

So far you have raised the spectres of the chinese army, outsourcing, jealousy of your fellow man and the incredible generosity of Mr Gates as reasons not to use Linux.

Frankly you are sounding more and more like a bad joke the more I hear of your opinions, I can only imagine what the content of your book is like.


"From the standpoint of US Linux programmers, what is their economic stake in this?"

Im a US programmer living and working in England, my economic stake is a very good job working for very good people doing work that I love.

You genuinely have no idea what the issues are, do you?

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"Does this link take me to a place where I can download "RedHat Enterprise Linux WS?" It doesn't seem to mention this product."

??? thats their name for the precompiled setup with a few setting tweaks.  OSS means they provide the code, it doesn't mean they have to do everything for you (unless you pay them).

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"Well, don't you think you should work for free then?"

wtf?  why would I do that?

"IBM and HP and Dell and he could exchange warm notes in which they discuss the big hearts of programmers everywhere helping make them richer than they are."

Thats what companies do, they hire employees who help make them richer than they already are.

Your total lack of understanding of this point is rather indicative of your IQ I suspect.

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++??? thats their name for the precompiled setup with a few setting tweaks. +++

And we can read this information where?

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++Thats what companies do, they hire employees who help make them richer than they already are.+++

Then why aren't you working for nothing and making them richer?

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"And we can read this information where?"

beats me, look around their site, I dont usually bother with their precompiled stuff.

All the open source code they have, you can download and use or distribute however you like without paying any fee of any kind.

Thats the definition of open source.

You appear to be looking for them to give away their support and their precompiled binaries for free 'just because' that would be bad business on their part and would provide them no way to earn an income.

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"+++Thats what companies do, they hire employees who help make them richer than they already are.+++

"Then why aren't you working for nothing and making them richer?"

??? because that would be genuinely stupid and my wife would have to sell her body on the streets to feed the children.

I have no idea what point you are trying to make here.

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

a strong incentive to do what exactly?

You don't understand the concept of becoming a millionaire?

I'm afraid I can't help you understand that concept.  There's a very old TV show I watched as child called "The Millionaire."  This might help you grasp the concept.

+++ purchase windows?  because he makes such a huge profit from selling it that he can afford to make others into milionaires?  Im not sure I follow this logic..+++

You don't understand the logic of building something that many people buy and sharing the wealth with employees?

This seems rather self evident.  I'm sure you can grasp the idea given enough time.

+++A strong incentive to work at microsoft perhaps?  I can see that, but Im living in england, I have a good job and no real desire to change.+++

That's wonderful but scarcely seems germane.

+++take money _away_ from programmers?  thats just plain stupid.  +++

Uh, and how many millionaires has Open Source created?

+++personally I expect a fair days wage for a fair days work, I get that and so I am happy.+++

That's wonderful!  So, why should you, after developing a new device driver, give away your IP without proper compensation?

???

Let me repeat myself to help make this clear:

Linus Torvaldes is getting wealthy from Linux.  Cushy jobs, consulting, the inevitable book contract, speaker fees, etc etc.

You, on the other hand, are not getting rich.

+++only because employees appear to be taking it as proof that hes a decent programmer +++

I assume you are an employee and are you getting rich from Linux?  MS progammers do; you don't seem to.

Why is this?

+++so you feel that Linus deserves absolutely no benefit of any kind for creating Linux?  +++

The question is: Are YOU sharing the wealth.  B. Gates shared the wealth.  What is YOUR share of the bonanza being generated by all these corporations and outsourcers taking your work and making money from it?

+++I _am_ a part of the Linux effort (whether you say so or not), I have also contributed code to a number of other OS applications where we have needed to improve on what was available.+++

Wonderful!  And you receive X number of shares in Linux, Inc?  They vest when?  Your strike price on your options is?

+++OSS development is increasingly driven by money from companies that see the advantages to themselves in funding it.+++

That's nice.  And your royalties from your contributions to their enrichment amount to?

+++Im a US programmer living and working in England, my economic stake is a very good job working for very good people doing work that I love.+++

That's wonderful!  And since you love them so much, why not work for free!  Make them even richer and your satisfaction will surely rise.  It seems you're already doing it now and making other people richer.  And you're very satisfied with your life.

In fact, don't you think writers should write for nothing when documenting the use of Linux?  Actually, shouldn't your company not charge anything for its Linux-oriented services?  This seems only fair; since YOU don't need wealth, why should they?

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"You don't understand the concept of becoming a millionaire?"

I do.  Im just not sure what you are suggesting I do that would make this happen?

"You don't understand the logic of building something that many people buy and sharing the wealth with employees?"

I do.  Mr Gates has done very well and created a very strong company that has treated its employees very well.

I am just not sure how this relates to the the whole OSS debate?

"Uh, and how many millionaires has Open Source created? "

????? so thats how you judge whether something is good?  how many millionaires has your _mother_ created?  how many have you created?  Of all the 100's of developers that come to this forum who work on propriety software, how many have become millionaires by doing so?

I just dont understand your fixation with becoming a millionaire.  Go buy a lottery ticket.


"Linus Torvaldes is getting wealthy from Linux.  Cushy jobs, consulting, the inevitable book contract, speaker fees, etc etc."

thats just stupid.  Linus is becoming wealthy because he is a exceptionally talented and productive programmer who created Linux.  He has worked very hard to achieve what he has.

"You, on the other hand, are not getting rich."
nope, but I earn a very good salary.

"I assume you are an employee and are you getting rich from Linux?  MS progammers do; you don't seem to.
Why is this?"
umm...because I dont work for MS?


"Are YOU sharing the wealth."

what wealth exactly? 

"B. Gates shared the wealth.  What is YOUR share of the bonanza being generated by all these corporations"


What bonanza exactly?  which corporations?  AFAIK there are no huge profits being made by any company in the Linux world, its because of the different economic models...its harder to make money from a straight support deal.

"and outsourcers taking your work and making money from it?"

???? which outsourcers exactly?  if it was my work Id have it, I dont so presumably its not my work....its _their_ work.  (because they have it...see?)

The entire outsourcing debate is a different discussion and has nothing to do with the existance of Linux. 

"Wonderful!  And you receive X number of shares in Linux, Inc?  They vest when?  Your strike price on your options is?"

Linux is not a company, it is an operating system.

"That's nice.  And your royalties from your contributions to their enrichment amount to?"

whose enrichment?  I am hired by a company who pays me a salary to work for them.  They tell me what to do, I do it.
Its called a job.

"That's wonderful!  And since you love them so much, why not work for free!  "

umm...because that would be genuinely stupid?

" It seems you're already doing it now and making other people richer.  And you're very satisfied with your life."

doing what exactly?  Im not working for free...making other people richer?  thats what happens when you have a job.

"In fact, don't you think writers should write for nothing when documenting the use of Linux? "

??? I have no opinion on what writers should charge when documenting the use of Linux at all. 

"Actually, shouldn't your company not charge anything for its Linux-oriented services?"

umm...it doesn't provide Linux-oriented services.  It uses OSS in-house and various open-source software to perform various tasks related to the business.

" This seems only fair; since YOU don't need wealth, why should they?"

so they can pay me a wage perhaps? 
I am _all_ in favour of the company I work for earning a profit. 

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++??? because that would be genuinely stupid and my wife would have to sell her body on the streets to feed the children.+++

Hmmm.  You seem to live on the razor's edge.  If you were richer, perhaps this wouldn't be such a concern?

I imagine an MS millionaire has less worries about penury than you.

Does Linux, Inc provide you with an annuity that will assist your wife and and children in the event that you become an unfortunate addict of those gut-clogging English breakfasts and keel over prematurely from heart failure?

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"Hmmm.  You seem to live on the razor's edge.  If you were richer, perhaps this wouldn't be such a concern?"

LOL....

Im not even close to the razors edge at the moment, but if I began working for free I soon would be.

"I imagine an MS millionaire has less worries about penury than you."

I imagine they would.  Your point being...?


"Does Linux, Inc provide you with an annuity that will assist your wife and and children in the event that you become an unfortunate addict of those gut-clogging English breakfasts and keel over prematurely from heart failure?"

Does the operating system I use at work provide me with an annuity? oddly enough no....

But of course that is why god invented health insurance :)

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

+++AFAIK there are no huge profits being made by any company in the Linux world,+++

You need to get out more!  IBM and HP are selling LOTS of Linux servers.  With your work in them.

I'm sure they're greatful that you're contributing to their bottom line.  And for free, too!

Very generous of you.

+++do.  Im just not sure what you are suggesting I do that would make this happen?+++

Well, you might think about working for a company that's making a great of money selling its software and share in the wealth.

+++I am just not sure how this relates to the the whole OSS debate?+++

I'm not sure of that either.  I guess it's because I didn't ask that.

I asked why are programmers interested in supporting an economic model that transfers wealth away from them.

It's difficult to get a straight answer.  I suspect it's because few programmer's have actually thought about the issue.

+++????? so thats how you judge whether something is good? +++

Seems a good start!  Why, are programmers haters of money?  Do you believe you should only make X amount of coin a year and that to make more is somehow bad?

Perhaps we should establish a special tax on programmers to ensure you don't stray past your appointed monetary boundaries?

+++Of all the 100's of developers that come to this forum who work on propriety software, how many have become millionaires by doing so?+++

If they're MS employees, about 12K.  And Open Source has created how many?

+++thats just stupid. +++

No, it's stupid to ignore basic reality.

I have accurately described the source of his income.

+++he is a exceptionally talented and productive programmer who created Linux. +++

Well, not any more. Right now, he monitors the work of other people, is the final authority on what gets incorporated into the kernel and blesses the final release.  I don't think he does much coding; don't see how he could.

And he is getting wealthy from this exalted position.  And I certainly don't begrudge him his success.

Now, apparently some of your work is incorporated in this product.  Your cut is?  You received how many shares of Linux, Inc?

+++nope, but I earn a very good salary+++

That's wonderful! You receive wages while MS programmers get rich.

The economic driver here seems a bit...weak.

+++I have no opinion on what writers should charge when documenting the use of Linux at all. +++

Why not?  You have an opinion about programmers; why not extend it to writers?  Tech support?  Sales and marketing? 

Are programmers supposed to take a special vow of poverty?

+++umm...it doesn't provide Linux-oriented services.  It uses OSS in-house and various open-source software to perform various tasks related to the business.+++

Then your services are Linux-based.  Shouldn't they be free?

+++I am _all_ in favour of the company I work for earning a profit. +++

MS programmers seem to believe the same thing.

And 12K of them are rich.  Many more are near rich.

You are on wages.

Hmmmm.

rick

rick chapman
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"You need to get out more!  IBM and HP are selling LOTS of Linux servers.  With your work in them."

yes....could you give me the profit figures for their Linux divisions again?  I have an idea whey are not in the black yet...


"I'm sure they're greatful that you're contributing to their bottom line.  And for free, too!"

well...actually they have contributed an awful lot more code to OSS than I have, presumably in your economic model I would have to pay them for that as well?
...I suspect Id end up worse off, dont you think?


"Well, you might think about working for a company that's making a great of money selling its software and share in the wealth."

good idea!  any suggestions? 


"I asked why are programmers interested in supporting an economic model that transfers wealth away from them."

because it _doesn't_ transfer wealth away from me.
(a) I still own the code I contribute, I have copyright over that code and I can remove it whenever I wish.
(b)If I charged for the code I provide to OSS presumably I would also be paying for the code I used.
Given that I have prolly contributed ~3000 hours, but am using ~1000000 hours of code I suspect Id be an awful lot worse off.
isn't that right?

"It's difficult to get a straight answer.  I suspect it's because few programmer's have actually thought about the issue."

actually no, its because its a bloody stupid question.  Kind similar to asking questions like "why do banks lend out money when there is no financial benefit in it for them?"


"Well, not any more. Right now, he monitors the work of other people,"

actually he does bugger all of that AFAICT.  He has trusted people who do that, he just adds patches in when his trusted people tell him to.

"is the final authority on what gets incorporated into the kernel and blesses the final release."

actually that displays a total lack of understanding of how the entire OSS setup works.
He is only the final authority on what gets incorporated into _his_ code tree, I can add whatever I like to mine (and at times I do)


" I don't think he does much coding; don't see how he could."

you are wrong, he still does an awful lot (check out the archives).  The fact he finds time is exactly what makes him worth so much as an employee.
As I said, he is unusually productive.


"Now, apparently some of your work is incorporated in this product.  Your cut is?  You received how many shares of Linux, Inc?"

I get to use the code that others have contributed.  Thats worth far more than the code I have contributed.

"That's wonderful! You receive wages while MS programmers get rich."

:) there are people all over the world getting rich while I work, Im not sure why you are so focused on those working for MS.


"Why not?  You have an opinion about programmers; why not extend it to writers?  Tech support?  Sales and marketing?"

actually I dont have an opinion about what programmers should be paid either.  I genuinely do not care what bob up the road is paid in exchange for working on OSS.  I care only that I receive a decent days wage for a decent days work.

"Are programmers supposed to take a special vow of poverty?"

only if they want to.  The rest of us just hire ourselves out to the highest bidder :)


"Then your services are Linux-based.  Shouldn't they be free?"

why?



"MS programmers seem to believe the same thing.
And 12K of them are rich.  Many more are near rich.
You are on wages.
Hmmmm."

well..more of a salary actually.

But we cannot all be as successful as you :)

anonymous american
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

AA,

I searched but could not find a statement anywhere confirming that  RedHat Enterprise Linux == RedHat Linux.
I also could not find the sources to download for building RHEL. There is a directory on the RH ftp site under http://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/linux/enterprise/2.1WS/ but this is empty.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, September 11, 2003

+++yes....could you give me the profit figures for their Linux divisions again?  +++

Again?  You're a programmer, you need to be more careful about these things.  I didn't provide you profitability info.

But don't worry!  A few quick sessions with Googleand some choice keywords and you will be able to find this out on your own.  Not very hard to do at all.

+++well...actually they have contributed an awful lot more code to OSS than I have,+++

How do you know this?  And off the point.  They're selling your work and their own.  They receive money from the people who buy their products using your work.  Shouldn't you get a cut of the revenue stream for their use of your work?

+++good idea!  any suggestions? +++

One was already made.  No need to repeat it.

+++"I asked

because it _doesn't_ transfer wealth away from me.+++

I'm not interested in you particularly.  Again, I'm interested in why programmers support an economic model that transfers wealth away from them.

+++I still own the code I contribute, I have copyright over that code and I can remove it whenever I wish.+++

Hmmm.  In other words, once you're released your Linux contribution under the GPL you can take it back?  So SCO is in the postion of saying that even it's proven the code they claim was hijacked into Linux was actually covered by the GPL they can now take it back and charge fees for violation of copyright until you stop using the product with the now copyrighted code?

Actually, I don't think that's true.  Is there a lawyer in the house?

+++If I charged for the code I provide to OSS presumably I would also be paying for the code I used.+++

Well, you could use products from a company such as Microsoft which charges customers for its code, thus shifting the economic burden to them away from you.

Then you could build products on top of this code and charge customers for your work.

Then, who knows, you might get rich!

Which brings me back to why programmers support an economic model that transfers wealth away from them.

+++actually no, its because its a bloody stupid question. +++

Actually, no, it's a logical question.  Which is hard to get a logical answer to.  At least from you.

+++Kind similar to asking questions like "why do banks lend out money when there is no financial benefit in it for them?"+++

No, THAT's a stupid question, since the premise of the question is wrong.

But the premise of my question seems to be right.  It is not disputable that MS has made many many people rich; in fact, it has made more people rich than any other company in history (at least modern history).  And the majority of these people were programmers.

Linux has no such history; in fact, on the face of it, it would seem to do the exact opposite.

Hence my interest in a "movement" which seems to damage the economic interests of its adherents.

+++actually he does bugger all of that AFAICT.  He has trusted people who do that, he just adds patches in when his trusted people tell him to.+++

I think you've kind of confirmed what I've just said.

+++He is only the final authority on what gets incorporated into _his_ code tree, I can add whatever I like to mine (and at times I do)+++

Uh, huh.  Well, whatever "code tree" we're talking about, his "tree" is regarded as the Big Bush.  Yours is, I guess, your personal concern.

+++I work, Im not sure why you are so focused on those working for MS.+++

Because the MS model makes people wealthy and transfers wealth to programmers while the Linux model seems to do the opposite.

+++actually I dont have an opinion about what programmers should be paid either. +++

Then why are you participating in this thread?  I have an interest in a particular question; you have no interest in this question.

+++"Then your services are Linux-based.  Shouldn't they be free?"

why?+++

Why are you participating in this thread?  Again, you have said you have no interest in the topic.

rick

rick chapman
Thursday, September 11, 2003

"Because the MS model makes people wealthy and transfers wealth to programmers while the Linux model seems to do the opposite."

The MS model *made* people wealthy - it stopped doing that a year or two ago when it stopped being a growth company and became a mature company.

It made those people wealth because it used stock options as a form of compensation (not because it paid high salaries). When the stock was always rising fast this made the people with stock options a lot of money - now that the stock is in the mature stage and more cyclical it's not doing that any more.

Also, MS used many temp employees that never got stock options (and, therefore, didn't get rich). So MS didn;t make _all_ programmers working for it rich - only a selected few.

And, as you even say, you're ignoring all of the other programmers that  don't work for MS and don't get right either - how many programmers made millions at Sybase, Lotus, IBM, ...?

RocketJeff
Thursday, September 11, 2003

+++The MS model *made* people wealthy - it stopped doing that a year or two ago when it stopped being a growth company and became a mature company.+++

Actually, not true.  Yes. the dot.com bubble hurt the options model the company had, but they're switching over to a stock-based system and they're still going to be turning out rich and near rich people.  Not as many as before of course, but still a decent amount.

Of course, Linux may change things!  We'll have to see.

+++It made those people wealth because it used stock options as a form of compensation (not because it paid high salaries). +++

OK. Now, how many rich people has Linux created?

Linus is doing OK.  You Linux lovers are doing a great job beefing up his piggybank!  Who else?  Ximian just got bought; I think the founders of the company will make a nice buck.  Their employees won't, of course.

+++Also, MS used many temp employees that never got stock options +++

Don't expect to get rich being a temp.  In any industry.

+++how many programmers made millions at Sybase, Lotus, IBM+++

Lotus actually created quite a few rich people.  Especially if you were in early.  Of course, they charged for their products.  No GPL.  IBM?  Not many; when you totally screw up with things like OS/2 you don't make much money.

Don't know about Sybase.  Probably Linux and them are equal in the number of rich programmers created.

Which leads me back to my interest in the enthusiasm for a system which transfers money away from programmers.

I seek an economic driver, one that makes some sense.

Of course, this may be an ideology.

rick

rick chapman
Thursday, September 11, 2003

Rick,

A study of (real) options theory may give you some insight into how to develop a solid economic model of the Linux phenomenon.

Check out the following book by Johnathan Mun, for example:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/047125696X

Note that I'm not commenting on whether Linux represents a good basis for anyone's work, just that there is a way to understand why it might be useful to invest in it and how you can achieve a return on your investment in it.

Mr. Sketch
Thursday, September 11, 2003

He already gave you the economic driver: programmer writes 1000 lines, gets to use 1,000,000.  That's at least 100,000% ROI.  Looks like good economics to me.

If the programmer is paid for results rather than effort, this is an excellent deal, as it makes the programmer more profitable and better able to compete with a non OSS-using developer.

Let's say I improve an OSS tool for my own use.  I could keep my changes private, but why?  The cost of hoarding small changes far outweighs any real benefit I could achieve by keeping them private.  Every time the tool changes, I incur cost to re-merge my changes.  Better to put it in the common pool, in exchange for the debugging and improvements others will contribute atop my enhancements.

Sigh.  But all this is bloody obvious anyway.  You're just saying that OSS doesn't make anybody rich because it destroys the ability for companies to extract rents over exclusive IP.  Yes, it does.  But let's be honest: it's really quite rare for programmers to become rich as a result of IP-rents.  In most companies, the profits go to owners, shareholders, salespeople, and management, not the programmers.  So what's the real difference?

You are saying that big companies are making money on the backs of the OSS programmers; do you think that those programmers would've seen any money from those companies anyway?  If Linux didn't exist, those companies wouldn't be making that money, and *neither would the developers*.

So, if the choices are:

1.  Release OSS work, make no money off it (but maybe establish a reputation and be able to get a better job in your preferred area)

2.  Don't release the work, *still* make no money, and don't establish a reputation

What would you choose?  The "work at Microsoft" option isn't available to everyone, and there are many people who wouldn't work at Microsoft no matter how rich you promised to (maybe) make them.

Meanwhile, for entrepreneurial developers who run their own company, freelance, or who are just good at finding/making the right kind of position, OSS offers plenty of benefits, as a marketing tool, development booster, etc.

Phillip J. Eby
Thursday, September 11, 2003

+++A study of (real) options theory may give you some insight into how to develop a solid economic model of the Linux phenomenon.

Check out the following book by Johnathan Mun, for example:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/047125696X+++

This looks interesting and I'll certainly give it a read.  Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

But my question is more narrowly focused.  I can see why getting something for free is a good thing for some businesses; heck, free is always nice!

But Linux has developed a cadre of adoring acolytes who spend much time esposing the glories and benefits of this Unix clone.  Yet Linux seems to do little on behalf of these acolytes; indeed, you can make an argument that it impoverishes them.

Now, humans have certainly advocated ideologies that lacked verifiable economic justification--Communism comes to mind.  If you've ever actually read Das Kapital you should be struck somewhere in its endless pages that Marx presents no actual data or useful case studies to back up his assumptions.

Of course, this didn't prevent millions of people from taking him seriously and attempting to implement his theories, half baked though they were.  Marx, once you pare him down, IS a brilliant polemicist.

So I'm interested in seeing if this interest in Linux, at least as its expressed here, is one of rational economics or something based on ideology.

rick

rick chapman
Thursday, September 11, 2003

++++He already gave you the economic driver: programmer writes 1000 lines, gets to use 1,000,000.  That's at least 100,000% ROI.  Looks like good economics to me.+++

It doesn't to me.  It looks like a bunch of programmers spent a lot of time recreating what other programs already do (Linux is nothing more than a clone of Unix and its UIs seek to clone the Windows UI) and then give it away for free so that HP and IBM can make more money on their offerings.

Great for HP and IBM, but I fail to see how programmers benefit.

+++If the programmer is paid for results rather than effort, this is an excellent deal, as it makes the programmer more profitable and better able to compete with a non OSS-using developer.+++

How does it make the programmer more "profitable."  Building unique applications might give you something to sell; building something for free that gives you nothing to sell hardly makes you "profitable."  Why should businesses get their OS for "free?"  Let them pay and transfer wealth to programmers!

This would seem to make sense for the programmers.

+++Let's say I improve an OSS tool for my own use.  I could keep my changes private, but why?  The cost of hoarding small changes far outweighs any real benefit I could achieve by keeping them private.+++

Why not simply tell your customers to buy a commercial standard and develop off of that?  Why get involved in giving away your work at all?

+++You're just saying that OSS doesn't make anybody rich because it destroys the ability for companies to extract rents over exclusive IP.+++

It's not so rare at MS!  It's 12K and counting not so rare.

And again, for programmers, what is the reason to support a product that transfers wealth away from you?  And in the case of countries like the US and Britian, to take too 1st world examples, potentially your jobs?

+++the profits go to owners, shareholders, salespeople, and management, not the programmers.  So what's the real difference?+++

12K millionaires?

+++If Linux didn't exist, those companies wouldn't be making that money, and *neither would the developers*.+++

Says who?  The industry has seen explosive growth for twenty years before Linux.  Who needs Linux?  Are you saying companies won't continue to devour techology if they have to pay for an OS?

I see no evidence of that.

Again, where are the Linux millionaires?  I can tell you where a lot of the "proprietary" millionaires and their yachts dock; where are the Linux yachts berthed?

Torvalds will be able to afford one: Can you?

+++What would you choose? +++

If I were a programmer, to charge.  I once was and wrote in Vulcan, dBase and Paradox.  I never felt the need to develop a free clone of MS-DOS.  I felt customers could just go out and buy it.

Let the customers buy Windows or some other product that has a price tag.  Develop on top of it.  That way they learn that nothing is "free."

rick

rick chapman
Thursday, September 11, 2003

"Let the customers buy Windows or some other product that has a price tag.  Develop on top of it. "

So that makes Mr Gates a little richer, what does it do for me?

"That way they learn that nothing is "free.""

<shrug> anyone who doesn't know that already is a lost cause.  Not my place to teach them.

anonymous american
Thursday, September 11, 2003

"I didn't provide you profitability info."

oh.  My mistake.

"+++well...actually they have contributed an awful lot more code to OSS than I have,+++

How do you know this? "

check the linux archives, you can workout everyone who has contributed without stressing yourself. 

" Shouldn't you get a cut of the revenue stream for their use of your work?"

if thats true then surely they should also get a cut of _my_ revenue stream for my use of their work?
..Im going to lose out on that particularly tradeoff...


"One was already made.  No need to repeat it."

so your economic model involves every developer running off to work for MS?  I mean, its a good idea, but a little unrealistic dont you think?


"programmers support an economic model that transfers wealth away from them."

they dont.  They support an economic model which transfers code toward them.  code reuse at its finest.

"In other words, once you're released your Linux contribution under the GPL you can take it back? "
yes, that is correct.

"they can now take it back and charge fees for violation of copyright"

SCO is a little more complex than that.  They have yet to actually prove the code they are talking about even exists and is there illegally.
But, if its proven, then depending on the outcome of the court case (its going to be a verra complex case) the onus will be on the OSS community to remove it quick smart.


"Well, you could use products from a company such as Microsoft which charges customers for its code"

and how does that help me exactly?  so billy gets a little more money, the customer pays a little more...but what do I get out of it?

"Then you could build products on top of this code and charge customers for your work."

I can do that anyway if I choose, there is nothing stopping me from creating propriety code and distributing it for Linux.

"But the premise of my question seems to be right."

its totally not.  The premise of your question appears to be that everyone can go work for microsoft and get rich just like that.  This is possibly the stupidest, most unrealistic economic model I have ever heard of.

"I think you've kind of confirmed what I've just said."
no.  I did not.  You said he was to busy checking code, I said he does bugger all code checking.  Two quite different statements.


"Uh, huh.  Well, whatever "code tree" we're talking about, his "tree" is regarded as the Big Bush.  Yours is, I guess, your personal concern."

indeed yes, his tree is widely known and very well trusted.  Mine is neither :)

But all code trees are equal in the sight of god.

"Then why are you participating in this thread?  I have an interest in a particular question; you have no interest in this question."

I will participate in any thread I see fit.
Your question was not "what should programmers get paid for their work" it was "why do programmers use Linux", they are quite clearly two different questions.

"Again, you have said you have no interest in the topic."

this was not said at all.

Finding the competition a little tough?  I suggest you go back to talking to managers, they tend to have a weaker grasp on the realities of the IT industry than the techies, and may be more easily persuaded.

anonymous american
Thursday, September 11, 2003

you guys getting paid by the word?

anon
Thursday, September 11, 2003

"I searched but could not find a statement anywhere confirming that  RedHat Enterprise Linux == RedHat Linux.
I also could not find the sources to download for building RHEL. There is a directory on the RH ftp site under http://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/linux/enterprise/2.1WS/ but this is empty."

actually doesn't surprise me a lot.  Redhat need to differentiate their offering from the source code somehow, and to convince customers that their compiled option is worth paying for.

<g> specifically stating on the webstire that their RHEL is the standard RedHat Linux with the following setup:..., is prolly not going to help them sell RHEL

According to the GPL they have to provide access to the source code for anything released under the GPL, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that they are doing this.

If I was going to guess Id say that RHEL is identical to Redhat Linux with certain config files set up in certain ways and various other applications preinstalled (maybe the web server switched on by default, databases setup and ready to go, perl preinstalled etc etc)

But that is, of course, a guess.....if you are really interested I suggest you write to the company and ask about the differences and whether they are willing to release details how exactly how RHEL is setup, and it what ways it differes from Redhat Linux proper.

I would actually be interested in hearing the answer.  <g> there may be some ideas I could use to my own advantage...

anonymous american
Thursday, September 11, 2003

You seem to have missed my point (or ignored it).

If I charge customers for *solutions*, then OSS makes me more profitable, because I get to "cost share" with other OSS developers.  (Strangely, you seem to be obsessed with Linux.  I never said a word about Linux.)

I'm also completely baffled by your millionaire and yacht obsession.  Did you write your book to become a millionaire, or because you had something to say?

I've received personal compensation of over half a million dollars (probably close to 3/4M) in the last 3-4 years, by building tools and providing services based on OSS to provide business solutions.  Does that count for anything, or do I have to make a million all in the same year?

Are there 12,000 others like me out there?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Who the hell cares?

OSS programmers are people who *need the software*.  I contribute to the projects that I do, because I *use* the software, not because I sell it to other people.  You seem to think that the only possible reason to write code is so you can sell the program to somebody else.  You might argue that this is because you can't meaningfully sell something that's OSS, but you've got the cart before the horse.  First comes the itch, *then* comes the scratch.

And that's why, no matter how many times you ask the questions you're asking, you're not going to get answers that satisfy you.  You're looking for a profit center; I'm looking at a cost center.  The tools I use as a software developer are a cost.  Using and contributing to OSS costs me less and gives me greater control over the tools I need to make a living.

It gives me the ability to compete with proprietary solutions for less, because the capital risk gets shared over a larger pool of developers.  Thus,  it levels the playing field a bit for the "little guy".  Why shouldn't I support it?  Because someday Microsoft might not be able to make more millionaires?  Boo hoo.

You might argue that this means there won't be any capital available to support commercial software ventures.  Again, why should I care?  I neither need nor want that capital.  You may say that important software won't get written, but that's bull.  If it's important, somebody will pay to have it written -- or if it's important to a particular industry, they'll pool their funds and share the software.  Or guys like me will build a solution atop some existing software, for a surprisingly affordable price.

So, tell me again why I should cry for the MS millionaires?  Or why I should worry about my career?

Look at it this way: you seem to imply OSS people shouldn't be altruistic; we should "look out for ourselves" and be selfish.  Well, okay, I can be selfish.  I don't care if thousands of other programmers lose their jobs or get paid less because I gave away some work I did, as long as it's a good deal for me.  So there!  Am I selfish enough for you now?  :)

Phillip J. Eby
Thursday, September 11, 2003

+++If I charge customers for *solutions*, then OSS makes me more profitable, because I get to "cost share" with other OSS developers. +++ (Strangely, you seem to be obsessed with Linux.  I never said a word about Linux.)+++

Strangely, you seem not have noticed that question was specifically about the propensity of Linux to transfer wealth away from programmers.

Now, you may think it odd that I focus on aswers to questions I ask, but I'm just an old curmudgeon that way.

+++If I charge customers for *solutions*, then OSS makes me more profitable, because I get to "cost share" with other OSS developers. +++

I fail to see how you profit from something you're giving away for free.  However, if this model works for the OS, then why not extend it to your applications?  By this logic, the more you give away for free, the more money you make!

Everyone "cost share" by collectively working on every class of software, release it for "free" and watch...the checks not appear in the mail.

+++I'm also completely baffled by your millionaire and yacht obsession. +++

You have something against yachts?  Buy a nice car!  Is there something wrong with being a millionaire?  It seems a rather nice thing to be.  Freedom, mobility, increased choices.

Are you telling me programmers don't deserve these things?

+++I've received personal compensation of over half a million dollars (probably close to 3/4M) in the last 3-4+++

Sounds like you make about 100K-125K a year, what  a good programmer makes near the top of his/her profession.  I assume you pay taxes?

Nope, you're not a millionaire.

+++Maybe.  Maybe not.  Who the hell cares?+++

Well, maybe people who are considering why they should work for free for HP and IBM?  People who think that they should be paid for their work?  People who want to have the option to buy yachts or fast cars or long sojourns in some ashram somewhere looking for nirvana?

You know, the kind of choices money gives you?

Which don't seem available to many Linux programmers but do seem available to at thousands of Microsoft programmers.

+++OSS programmers are people who *need the software*. +++

Why do you "need" an OS?  Your customers can buy an OS.  Then you can build applications on top of the OS.

Or you can sell an OS.  Of course, if you give it away, you can't make any money on it.

+++You seem to think that the only possible reason to write code is so you can sell the program to somebody else.+++

If you wish to write code for personal fun or as a hobby, don't let me stop you!

But this has nothing to do with economics.

+++It gives me the ability to compete with proprietary solutions for less,+++

You?  Who are YOU competing with?  You don't "own" Linux.  Anyone can use Linux; it is, for all practical purposes, free, is it not?

Are you talking about your applicaton development?  I assume you work for free then?  And the more free work you do, the more money you make?

Explain how this works.

+++Again, why should I care?  I neither need nor want that capital.  You may say that important software won't get written, but that's bull.  +++

I see.  So all you programmers are going to devote yourselves to lives of penury and financial destitution while corporations get rich off your work.

+++So, tell me again why I should cry for the MS millionaires?  Or why I should worry about my career?+++

I don't care if you do.  But the vision you offer of why you do what you do seems to grounded in the delights of poverty and self abnegation.

Not in any rational economics.

+++Well, okay, I can be selfish.  I don't care if thousands of other programmers lose their jobs or get paid less because I gave away some work I did, as long as it's a good deal for me.  So there!  Am I selfish enough for you now?  :) +++

Individually, you have every right, of course, to decide what you wish to do.

But I don't think you offer an enticing vision for the future.  If  you're a progammer.

rick

rick chapman
Thursday, September 11, 2003

+++oh.  My mistake.+++

Yes, but I forgive you. I'm big hearted that way.

And I'm sure that you've Googled your way to information on the topic and are all set.

+++So that makes Mr Gates a little richer, what does it do for me?+++

It also seems to make a lot of programmers richer.  You have something against programmers getting rich?

+++if thats true then surely they should also get a cut of _my_ revenue stream for my use of their work?+++

Don't use their work!  Work with systems that offload costs to the customer, and collect your royalties. A win for you!

+++so your economic model involves every developer running off to work for MS?  I mean, its a good idea, but a little unrealistic dont you think?+++

I not sure it's any more unrealistic than giving something away and expecting to make much money on it.

As I said, where are the Linux millionaires?

+++they dont.  They support an economic model which transfers code toward them.  code reuse at its finest.+++

And the Linux millionaires are where?  They must be making an awful lot of money since they get to reuse all this code.

+++SCO is a little more complex than that.  They have yet to actually prove the code they are talking about even exists and is there illegally.
But, if its proven, then depending on the outcome of the court case (its going to be a verra complex case) the onus will be on the OSS community to remove it quick smart. +++

You didn't answer my question.  And I don't think you can reestablish your copyright.  Once you've given it away, it's gone.

+++and how does that help me exactly?  so billy gets a little more money, the customer pays a little more...but what do I get out of it?+++

What do you get out of giving away an OS?  It seems to me that all you do is set yourself up for the next question: If the OS is free, why isn't YOUR application?

And your answer is?

+++The premise of your question appears to be that everyone can go work for microsoft and get rich just like that.  This is possibly the stupidest, most unrealistic economic model I have ever heard of.+++

You seem to be arguing with reality.  The reality is that MS made and is making millionaires.  Thousands of them.  They transfer wealth to programmers.  I'm not sure now stupid that is.

You might argue that transferring wealth away from programmers is stupid.  At least on the part of the programmers.

+++I said he does bugger +++

Really, I hope not!  I'm not sure how this precisely works, but I'm SURE it's messy.

+++Your question was not "what should programmers get paid for their work" it was "why do programmers use Linux", they are quite clearly two different questions.+++

My question was neither of those.

You need to get those quotes right!  I expect precision from top-notch programmers.

rick

rick chapman
Thursday, September 11, 2003

"Freedom, mobility, increased choices"

sounds like the claims of the linux crowd :P

heckler
Thursday, September 11, 2003

"My question was neither of those.

You need to get those quotes right!  I expect precision from top-notch programmers."

ok, lets be precise.

Your question is:
"Again, I'm interested in why programmers support an economic model that transfers wealth away from them."

so, before I answer this, lets first examine your basic premise.

Why do you believe that programmers who support Linuux are supporting an economic model that transfers wealth away from them?

(please spare us the comparisons with MS, MS is hardly representative of even the closed course development companies.)

FullNameRequired
Thursday, September 11, 2003

"It also seems to make a lot of programmers richer.  You have something against programmers getting rich?"

ok, so it makes Mr Gates and all of his programmers rich.  What does it do for me?

"Don't use their work!  Work with systems that offload costs to the customer, and collect your royalties. A win for you!"

nope, makes no difference to me.
Whichever operating system they use is irrelevant to me, just requires a different set of tools.


"I not sure it's any more unrealistic than giving something away and expecting to make much money on it."

well...technically Im not giving anything away, legally I believe that my employer owns the code.  So you could argue that _he_ is giving the code away, but of course his motivation is obvious since he gets back all the OSS applications he requires in return.


"As I said, where are the Linux millionaires?"
beats me :) prolly got better things to do than argue about Linux in a chatforum.

"They must be making an awful lot of money since they get to reuse all this code."

why exactly?  they are _saving_ money because they dont have to pay for the code they use, but thats not the same thing  as making money.
If I use Linux for something and thereby save the cost of the windows or mac operating system you surely wouldn't expect me to be able to flash the cash Ive saved?
or to look at it another way, my sister recently purchased a car through a friend, by doing so she saved ~$2000 over the cost of a similar car from a car yard.  She does _not_ have a $2000 wad of cash to prove this.

"You didn't answer my question."

sorry, what was the question exactly?

"And I don't think you can reestablish your copyright.  Once you've given it away, it's gone."

wrong.  I can release code under as many different copyright licenses as I choose as often as I like. The copyright still belongs to me.

"Once you've given it away, it's gone."
depends on which country you live in.  In some countries you actually cannot give away copyright even if you want to, in the US you can _but_ release code under thge GPL does _not_ constitute giving away copyright.
In theory it would be perfectly legal for every programmer who has ever given code to Linux to take it back.


"What do you get out of giving away an OS?  "

so we are agreed then?  makes no difference to my bottom line which OS I use.

"If the OS is free, why isn't YOUR application?"

umm, doesn't apply to me of course since I dont sell applications.  If I did my answer would be "because I charge  for my application"

"You seem to be arguing with reality.  The reality is that MS made and is making millionaires.  Thousands of them.  They transfer wealth to programmers.  I'm not sure now stupid that is."

its stupid to try and say that every programmer should go and work for them.  _real_ stupid.  So stupid Im surprised you can take your shoes off at night.  Certainly Im betting anyone who purchases your book is in for a _big_ disappointment.

"My question was neither of those.

You need to get those quotes right!  I expect precision from top-notch programmers."

<shrug> why do you assume Im a "top-notch" programmer?  There are far more bad programmers than there are good ones out there, why make that assumption?

anonymous american
Thursday, September 11, 2003

Eli Goldratt has a nice simple way for judging these decisions.  If taking an action results in an increase in money generated through sales, a decrease in operating expense, or a decrease in investment, then it is worthwhile to take the action, in an absolute sense.  The magnitude of these changes allows you to compare the relative merit of two competing actions.

So, if by spending time working on Linux or any other freely available or open source software, you can cause an improvement in any of these three indicators (directly or indirectly)  without causing a greater deterioration in any of the others (roughly), then this will be time well spent.  I can think of any number of ways that "donating" my time to these efforts can improve each of these measurements for the organization I am a part of (which might consist only of myself).

Now, whether that approach is better than the "build it on top of windows" approach remains to be seen; I can think of scenarios to support either argument. But in an absolute sense, working on these efforts can be a very profitable enterprise in lots of ways.  Also, whether being motivated primarily by profit or primarily by something else is better is not something I'm prepared to try to force down anyone's throat; that's what subjective value is all about.  I know what motivates me.

Ramblin' Man
Thursday, September 11, 2003

+++"Freedom, mobility, increased choices"

sounds like the claims of the linux crowd :P +++

Without the money.

rick

rick
Thursday, September 11, 2003

Why do you believe that programmers who support Linuux are supporting an economic model that transfers wealth away from them?

Because MS seems to make a lot rich people and Linux doesn't.

+++(please spare us the comparisons with MS, MS is hardly representative of even the closed course development companies.) +++

Sorry, I don't think so.  MS is the most important software company on the planet.  Their revenues outpace the second largest company by factors of about by at least 3/4 to 1.  We'll not spare you the comparison.

MS millionaires: 12K and counting.

Linux millionaires?

rick

rick
Thursday, September 11, 2003

"""I fail to see how you profit from something you're giving away for free.""""

Okay, let me try and explain it very simply, by a specific example.

I write programs in Python.  Python is open source software.  Sometimes, there is something I'd like it to do that it doesn't, or I find a bug in it.  So I write patches and send them to the Python maintainers, so the feature gets in the next version of Python.  This means I get a better product to use to write applications with.

*That* is one example of how I profit, through improved tools, and the money I'm *not* spending on upgrades to Visual Basic and MSDN subscriptions.  But it's far from the only example of such interactions, or the ways I "exploit poor open source programmers giving away software".

If you want an example of programmers "needing" an OS, think of Tivo.  They certainly could've bought an OS, but Linux was free and customizable for their needs.  That puts the Tivo folks in the same boat as me: software solution sellers using open source to make a buck.

Tell me something.  Are you seriously interested in learning anything, or are you just posturing?  I've been posting on the assumption that your questions are an attempt to learn, but your recent posts are beginning to make me wonder about that.

I keep trying to tell you: open source is a cost reduction/cost sharing technique for people who provide and sell *solutions*, not software.  You seem to keep repeating that what's relevant is people making lots of money by selling product.  Okay, fine.  Good for you.  Dissociate yourself from open source and go sell product.

There's plenty of life left in that business model.  But heck, even in proprietary product there's room for open source tools.  Many graphics programs and games these days are using Python as an end-user scripting language -- a much cheaper alternative to licensing, say, VBA for embedding.

I'm curious, though, what it is you'd have me do.  Not use tools that make my life easier?  Not contribute improvements back because other people shouldn't share the benefits of my work?  (e.g. my recent patch to add 'clear_history()' to Python's 'readline' module)  What *is* it exactly that you expect me to do differently in your ideal world?  That, I think, is an interesting question to ask, and answer.

Phillip J. Eby
Thursday, September 11, 2003

I asked:
Why do you believe that programmers who support Linuux are supporting an economic model that transfers wealth away from them?

You replied:
Because MS seems to make a lot rich people and Linux doesn't.

thats it?  thats as far as you have looked? thats what this is all about? 



+++(please spare us the comparisons with MS, MS is hardly representative of even the closed course development companies.) +++

"Sorry, I don't think so.  MS is the most important software company on the planet.  Their revenues outpace the second largest company by factors of about by at least 3/4 to 1.  We'll not spare you the comparison."

is that the royal we?

I agree with the importance of MS in the software industry.  But they are _still_ not representative of the closed source comunity at large.  Not in any way.

I write closed source software for the windows (and mac) platform myself, I also employee 3 other developers.  There is absolutely no chance whatsoever of them ever getting rich through their work for me.  Hell, there is no chance whatsoever of _me_ getting rich and I own the company.

I can think of a bunch of good arguments against OSS software and I can see many negative ways it is impacting the closed source software industry.
It has directly affected my business negatively in the past and I have no doubt it will do so again in the future.

But your arguments against it show the least understanding of the issues and the greatest amount of ignorance I have seen in a discussion forum such as this (and by god thats saying something).
Your tendency to blatantly ignore the real issues and focus on 'rabble rousing' arguments is downright embarrassing.

Leave the software industry to those who understand it.

"MS millionaires: 12K and counting.
Linux millionaires?"

talk to me about how to become a millionaire as a software developer when you have become one yourself.

FullNameRequired
Friday, September 12, 2003

+++ok, so it makes Mr Gates and all of his programmers rich.  What does it do for me?+++

What does giving cooperating in giving an operating system away for free do for you?  It can't make you much money; after all, you give it away.

+++nope, makes no difference to me. +++

Nope, there's a difference.  You could sell a copy of a MS OS and make some incremental dollars.

And thus tranfer wealth to yourself.

+++well...technically Im not giving anything away, legally I believe that my employer owns the code.  So you could argue that _he_ is giving the code away, but of course his motivation is obvious since he gets back all the OSS applications he requires in return.+++

This is off the point.  I'm asking why programmers support a business model that transfers wealth away from him.

+++If I use Linux +++

Again, off the point.

+++my sister recently purchased a car through a friend, by doing so she saved ~$2000 over the cost of a similar car from a car yard.  She does _not_ have a $2000 wad of cash to prove this.+++

Again, off the point.

+++wrong.  I can release code under as many different copyright licenses as I choose as often as I like. The copyright still belongs to me.+++

Not under the GPL.  And it would be nice if you would stay on point.

+++In theory it would be perfectly legal for every programmer who has ever given code to Linux to take it back.+++

I don't think you know what you're talking about.

+++so we are agreed then?  makes no difference to my bottom line which OS I use.+++

Ulp.  True Believer Mode initiated!

Wife...when...stop...beat.

Stay on point.

+++its stupid to try and say that every programmer should go and work for them.  _real_ stupid.  So stupid Im surprised you can take your shoes off at night.  +++

It's stupid to constantly misquote people.  I have said nothing of the sort.  I have said that MS transfers wealth to programmers; I have said that Linux does not appear to; in fact, it seems to do the opposite.

Stay on point.

+++why do you assume Im a "top-notch" programmer? +++

I tend to be generous in my estimation of people!

rick

rick chapman
Friday, September 12, 2003

+++I can think of scenarios to support either argument. But in an absolute sense, working on these efforts can be a very profitable enterprise in lots of ways.  +++

This may be true, but I can point to concrete examples of the propriertary approach making programmers rich and it seems hard to find examples of the Linux methodology doing the same thing.  Linus Torvalds is getting wealthy and famous and a few other people as well.  Contrast this with 12K MS millionaires and counting.

I can point out that many people at Adobe and similar companies have also prospered as well but since MS is such a dominant force in the industry they serve as an excellent example of the point I make.

My question is aimed at people who program.  I don't question that Linux transfers wealth from programmers to companies, especially large companies like HP and IBM, who are some of the biggest recepients of Open Source largesse.  It is NICE of progammers to do this.  But I wonder do they realize they are doing it?

+++Also, whether being motivated primarily by profit or primarily by something else is better is not something I'm prepared to try to force down anyone's throat; that's what subjective value is all about.+++

I make no judgements on this issue.  If programmer's wish to transfer wealth away from themselves to large corporations that's fine with me.  I'm simply curious as to the economic incentive to do this.

Thus far I haven't heard a powerful one.  Most of what I'm picking seems to be a quasi-ideological mix of disparate political and social elements with no coherent theme.

rick

rick chapman
Friday, September 12, 2003

Rick,

the OSS world is not a two level game, where on the lower plane you have got the programmers earning zilch because they got the wool pulled over their eyes, and on level two you have the IBMs and the Corporations living of the sacrifices of the true believers.

While these two plains may be the most obvious ones, you also have many players in between that take some and give some. You might make a good living leaching of the collective, even as a small player.

When however they claim that this ecosystem can avoid a tragedy of the commons, I think they become as believable as the "long boom" preachers of the previous decade.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, September 12, 2003

+++Because MS seems to make a lot rich people and Linux doesn't.

thats it?  thats as far as you have looked? thats what this is all about? +++

Yup.  Wealth.  Hard coin, the kind you bank on earth, not in heaven.

I have, at this juncture,  no interest in the programming communities social, moral or religious leanings.

+++is that the royal we?++

If you wish to refer to me as "Your Highness" or "Your Majesty I am nothing loath.

If you do, I will refer to you as "varlet!"

+++I agree with the importance of MS in the software industry.  But they are _still_ not representative of the closed source comunity at large.  Not in any way.+++

I'm sorry, but that's an absolutely ludicrous statement.  MS is absolutely representative of the "pay me for my work" community.  As I point out in "In Search of Stupidity," MS differed not a whit from its contemporaries; they simply avoided (until chapter 10) making stupid mistakes that damaged or destroyed their competition.

+++I write closed source software for the windows (and mac) platform myself, I also employee 3 other developers.  There is absolutely no chance whatsoever of them ever getting rich through their work for me.  +++

Too bad for them!  But I'm not sure what the point of this is.

+++Your tendency to blatantly ignore the real issues and focus on 'rabble rousing' arguments is downright embarrassing.+++

Hmmm. Argument weak; yell like hell.

Again, I can point to concrete examples of "closed source" computing making programmers rich and few examples of Open Source doing the same.  This seems to be an inconvenient fact that some people here wish not to face, but there it is.

+++talk to me about how to become a millionaire as a software developer when you have become one yourself. +++

How do you know I'm not?

And off the point.

Again, where are the Linux millionaires?

rick

rick chapman
Friday, September 12, 2003

+++the OSS world is not a two level game, where on the lower plane you have got the programmers earning zilch because they got the wool pulled over their eyes, and on level two you have the IBMs and the Corporations living of the sacrifices of the true believers.+++

Actually, at least after an initial examination, it does sort of seem that way.

I can see one model of programming making many programmers wealthy.

I can see one model not making many programmers wealthy.

I can certainly see IBM and HP and GM making and saving nice money on all that free code.

What I can't see is how programmers benefit from the money HP/IBM makes and GM saves.

I would think that some form of royalty bank should be established for programmer's who contribute to the GPL to recompense them for their work.  I think it only fair that large companies benefiting from all this free stuff kick in and share the wealth.

But, as I said, much of what I'm reading here seems driven not by economics but by an incohate ideology whose elements are difficult to grasp.

+++While these two plains may be the most obvious ones, you also have many players in between that take some and give some. You might make a good living leaching of the collective, even as a small player.+++

I'm sure that's true, but I'm looking at the issue from a more top down aspect.  Niches and segments in the industry have always existed and people exploit them.

But Linux seems to represent a way for programmers to direct the flow of money away from themselves to companies such as IBM and HP and I'm curious as to the economic motivation for this.

rick

rick chapman
Friday, September 12, 2003

+++I write programs in Python.  Python is open source software.  Sometimes, there is something I'd like it to do that it doesn't, or I find a bug in it.  So I write patches and send them to the Python maintainers, so the feature gets in the next version of Python.  This means I get a better product to use to write applications with.+++

This seems to differ not a jot from the commercial model except that they...get...paid for their work.

Applications/languages have been sold, upgraded and sold since the beginning of the modern software industry.

+++*That* is one example of how I profit, through improved tools, and the money I'm *not* spending on upgrades to Visual Basic and MSDN subscriptions.  +++

I would think that you, as businessman/woman, would pass through these charges to your customers?

When I wrote applications, that's what I did.  I didn't see why my customers should get free software.  They weren't giving away THEIR products for free; why should the creators of Python?

Of course, if they wish to, as I said, that's nice of them.

+++They certainly could've bought an OS, but Linux was free and customizable for their needs.  That puts the Tivo folks in the same boat as me: software solution sellers using open source to make a buck.+++

As I said, most businesses pass along these costs to their customers.

+++Tell me something.  Are you seriously interested in learning anything, or are you just posturing?+++

I find it interesting that some people here seem to have a great interest in other people's personal motivations.  You'll note I don't ask other people the motivations for their posting; I focus on their statements.  (I do ask people to stay on point.)

My comments here have been factual and on point.  I would suggest you not worry about my and other's motivations and instead focus on the arguments/facts offered.

+++open source is a cost reduction/cost sharing technique for people who provide and sell *solutions*, not software.+++

Again, I'm sure that giving your work away for free to other people certainly saves THEM money.

But I do not see how this enriches the programming community.

+++You seem to keep repeating that what's relevant is people making lots of money by selling product. +++

This seems an implicit agreement with my initial premise about Open Source.  Is it?

+++Not use tools that make my life easier?  Not contribute improvements back because other people shouldn't share the benefits of my work?  (e.g. my recent patch to add 'clear_history()' to Python's 'readline' module)  What *is* it exactly that you expect me to do differently in your ideal world?  That, I think, is an interesting question to ask, and answer. +++

Well, if you're a programmer, transfer costs to the customer and transfer wealth to yourself?

rick

rick chapman
Friday, September 12, 2003

"""transfer costs to the customer"""

That only works if I'm a monopoly.  For those of us who aren't Microsoft, offloading a cost means we can be more competitive than the next guy.

The reason I ask about your motivations is that I have no interest in feeding a troll; if you're genuinely interested in learning something, I'll happily continue to try to answer your questions.  If, after understanding my answers, you disagree, I'm cool with that.  However, if your purpose is to try to convince somebody of something -- whether it's me or you -- then my attempt at being courteous and helpful is being wasted here, and I could do more good somewhere else.


"""transfer wealth to yourself"""

The point you seem to be missing is, that if I cut my costs, I can lower my price *and* make more profit.  Whereas, transferring other software developers' costs to the customer makes somebody *else* more wealthy, not me!  Further, if the customer was willing to spend that additional cost, that means that it's profit *I* could have gotten!  Conversely, if they're not willing to spend that much, then I have to cut money out of my profits to make the deal.

In short, if your income depends on software solutions, it's *always* to your benefit to cut costs, especially variable costs such as per-copy royalties.  And, it's to your strategic benefit to be able to *control* the software that's part of your solution, rather than depending on another vendor.  These are the true *economic* benefits of participating in open source.  Cost-sharing and control.

So, your response seems to contradict your thesis.  You say, "transfer your costs", but what this really means is:

1) make capital investments in tools, putting money into *somebody else*'s pocket

2) take a portion out of whatever the customer's willing to pay, and give it to *somebody else*.

So my question is, how is this supposed to make *me* a millionaire, if I am supposed to keep giving all this money to somebody else?  Frankly, I'd rather give other people some of my *code*, and keep the *money*, which is what I do now.

You see, the thing about the code is, when I give it away, I still get to keep it!  Code, after all, can be copied.  I can't do that with the money, though, because the government frowns on people copying $100 bills.  :)

If you can't see where the economic benefit is for me in this, I don't know what else to say.  You're basically saying that people get rich by being on the *opposite end* of the deal you're selling me on participating in!  Do you think Microsoft pays *other people* for software? They sure as hell don't take money out of every deal to pay somebody else's royalties.  Yet this is *precisely* what you're saying I should do: take a Microsoft tax out of every deal.  And somehow this is supposed to make *me* a millionaire?

No, the only way *I* get to be a millionaire, is if I'm the one collecting the taxes.  I only get to do that, if I control all of the software that's needed to do the deal.  And the best way to do *that*, for me and anybody else in that position (e.g. Tivo), is to share in the open source code pool.  In effect, we get to be part of a vast "virtual enterprise" that funds development of the code, which we all get to take advantage of.

So, if your argument is that I should 1) not use open source, *and* 2) become a millionaire, the only possible conclusion is that I need to get in on the ground floor of another Microsoft.  But, you see, there isn't going to *be* another Microsoft (not in software *sales*, anyway), at least in part because of open source.  But, that'll happen with or without my participation, so it'd be stupid for me *not* to take advantage of what OSS does for me today.

Phillip J. Eby
Friday, September 12, 2003

+++That only works if I'm a monopoly.  For those of us who aren't Microsoft, offloading a cost means we can be more competitive than the next guy.+++

I don' t think that's relevant to you.  Unless you were Apple or IBM or DR or Novell or VisiCorp you weren't going to play in the OS game.

You're not supplying an OS; you're building applications.  Your customer will be "buying' the OS and you could sell that OS and make some money.

Of course, you can't sell something you give away.

+++The reason I ask about your motivations is that I have no interest in feeding a troll+++

I have no interest in your motivations.  No one is forcing you to read or respond to anything that is written here.

+++The point you seem to be missing is, that if I cut my costs, I can lower my price *and* make more profit. +++

Since you don't own Linux, I hardly see how you can cut "your" costs.

You can, of course, charge less for your application skills; your choice entirely.

+++to your benefit to cut costs, especially variable costs such as per-copy royalties.  +++

Again with the "your."  When did you gain ownership of Linux?

+++*control* the software that's part of your solution, +++

Since Linux is free, how do "you" control it?

+++You say, "transfer your costs", but what this really means is:+++

I really mean exactly what I say.  Transfer costs of the purchase of tools necessary to do the job to the customer the way it works in other industries.

Of course, I don't see how ANY of this applies to Linux since you don't own it or control it or many any money from it.

If you're saying you make money configuring it, great.  Windows need configuation work.  NetWare.  Solaris.

+++So my question is, how is this supposed to make *me* a millionaire, if I am supposed to keep giving all this money to somebody else?  Frankly, I'd rather give other people some of my *code*, and keep the *money*, which is what I do now.+++

In other words, you charge for you work.

MS charges for its work.  They charge customers for OSs and transfer wealth to programmers.

Linux programmers spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel to give away an OS they charge nothing for.  And transfer no wealth to programmers via Linux.

No one here seems able to refute this basic statement.

I see no economic incentive for programmers here.  Of course, if you work FOR a company, I bet you're delighted to get something for nothing!  Everyone likes getting something for nothing.

Very nice of the programmers to help enrich HP and IBM!

+++You see, the thing about the code is, when I give it away, I still get to keep it! +++

Terrific!  Give away your applications, keep the code and watch the money...not roll in.

+++If you can't see where the economic benefit is for me in this, I don't know what else to say.+++

If you're a company using Open Source I certainly see how transferring wealth from programmers to you helps you.

It's the programmers I'm curious about, not the companies.

+++Do you think Microsoft pays *other people* for software? +++

It certainly does.  MS pays for the third party software it uses and it uses a fair amount.

+++take a Microsoft tax out of every deal.  And somehow this is supposed to make *me* a millionaire?+++

If you cut yourself in on the revenue stream you will certainly make money.

But since Linux has none, you will make none, obviously.

+++I only get to do that, if I control all of the software that's needed to do the deal.  +++

Am I speaking with Linus Torvalds?  Because he's about the only person who could claim to "control" Linux.

+++become a millionaire, the only possible conclusion is that I need to get in on the ground floor of another Microsoft.  +++

Not a bad idea!

+++But, you see, there isn't going to *be* another Microsoft (not in software *sales*, anyway), at least in part because of open source.+++

Since Linux seems to involve opening your financial carotid artery so that HP and IBM can lap up the proceeds of your work, that may well be true.

rick

rick chapman
Friday, September 12, 2003

1. I've said nothing about Linux except in relation to Tivo.

2. By "control", I mean the ability to change, reproduce, and distribute a piece of software, not the ability to deny others the use of it.

3. re: """You're not supplying an OS; you're building applications.  Your customer will be "buying' the OS and you could sell that OS and make some money."""  Could Tivo make money by "encouraging" its customers pay for a Windows license for every box?  That's silly.  The company that I got about 3/4 million in stock options from, wouldn't have been worth as much as it is, if it had had to pay license fees on every copy of Apache.  Read my lips: when you sell a *solution*, every bit of money that goes to someone else is money *you* could have had.

4.  """No one is forcing you to read or respond to anything that is written here."""  No.  I'm just trying to be helpful to *you* by answering questions you raised.  However, since you seem to be unclear on that concept, I will now conclude that you're not interested in that help, and I will cease attempting to help, following this post.

5. I don't know about HP, but IBM has been contributing code to Linux, which means that they are serious about being part of the code sharing pool.  By my lights, that makes them okay.  The deal is, it's a code sharing pool.  IBM has the smarts to get on board, because IBM, like me, knows they are selling results, not hardware or software.

6. You seem to be confused about the difference between "programmers" and "companies", as well as the difference between "applications" and "solutions".  An application is software.  A solution is a result.  If I say to a store owner, "let me automate your store so that you will have X, Y, and Z benefits", I am selling a solution.  If I say, "Well, you need to buy Windows 2000 and these PC's and this software and do this and that to use it", I'm selling the applications.  If I could sell somebody the applications for $X, then I could have had the *entire* $X for *me* if I sold the solution.

You seem to think that because I am a "programmer" these economics do not apply to me.  But they do, because even creating in-house software for a company I have to sell a *solution*.  Granted, working for a company, I don't personally get to keep all the money I save, but I *do* get to put it on my resume, and my annual self-evaluation -- along with all the new revenues my solutions generate for the company.

7. Good luck, have fun, I'm outta here.  You don't seem to be offering anything that's helpful to me, economically or otherwise, nor does it seem that I'm being helpful to you, so there's no point in hanging around.  Adios.

Phillip J. Eby
Friday, September 12, 2003

+++I've said nothing about Linux except in relation to Tivo.+++

Well, you may have noted my question dealt specifically with Linux?  If you can't address the question, what is your point?

+++By "control", I mean the ability to change, reproduce, and distribute a piece of software, not the ability to deny others the use of it.+++

Then why should anyone pay you for this software?  Since you don't want to deny anyone use of it, what is their economic incentive to pay you anything?

+++The company that I got about 3/4 million in stock options from, wouldn't have been worth as much as it is, if it had had to pay license fees on every copy of Apache.  Read my lips:+++

Read MY lips: How do we know this is true?  How do we know your customers wouldn't have paid the X extra amount the cost of license fees represented in the cost of the package?

Lots of people buy software with royalties and licenses associated with it.

+++No.  I'm just trying to be helpful to *you* by answering questions you raised. +++

No you're not.  I asked a specific question about Linux and you're actually not addressing the question at all.  As YOU told us!

+++IBM has been contributing code to Linux, which means that they are serious about being part of the code sharing pool.  By my lights, that makes them okay.  The deal is, it's a code sharing pool.  IBM has the smarts to get on board, because IBM, like me, knows they are selling results+++

Actually, I think that IBM is using free software to avoid paying it to a company that creates millionaires, something IBM rarely does these days.

+++You seem to be confused about the difference between "programmers" and "companies", as well as the difference between "applications" and "solutions".  +++

You seem unable to answer a very specific question.  Instead, you veer off on any number of tangents, then grandly announce I don't know this or that.

You don't seem able to focus on a question and provide a coherent answer.

rick

rick chapman
Friday, September 12, 2003

like the others Im outta here, yu have proven yourself impervious to anything approaching rational discussion.

+++wrong.  I can release code under as many different copyright licenses as I choose as often as I like. The copyright still belongs to me.+++

Not under the GPL.  And it would be nice if you would stay on point.

yes, under the gpl.  Its just another copyright license, nothing special about it at all.

+++In theory it would be perfectly legal for every programmer who has ever given code to Linux to take it back.+++

I don't think you know what you're talking about.


you are wrong.  about this as about many other things.  check with a copyright lawyer before you even think about trying to contradict me.  Our company paid for a fairly indepth review of the gpl before we embarked on our current course, you obviously have access to no such recource.

anonymous american
Friday, September 12, 2003

+++you are wrong.  about this as about many other things. +++

I will note that I'm actually the only person who ever actually provided any data to back up his statements.

+++check with a copyright lawyer before you even think about trying to contradict me. +++

I am contradicting you.  And as I writer (among other things), I know something about copyright.

But, if you have someone who is expert in the field (and that's not you) and who is willing to tell me that everyone who's contribued to Linux maintains copyright over their work and has the right to pull their work "out of" Linux by "reclaiming" their copyright on their contributions send him here.  (They'd better be able to back up that assertion with some very good case law, articles on the topic, and some wins in court.)

I will note that the terms of the GPL require your employer, if your contribution is made whilst working for another, to specifically disclaim copyright:

+++You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or your school, if any, to sign a "copyright disclaimer" for the program, if necessary. Here is a sample; alter the names:

Yoyodyne, Inc., hereby disclaims all copyright interest in the program `Gnomovision' (which makes passes at compilers) written by James Hacker.
<signature of Ty Coon>, 1 April 1989
Ty Coon, President of Vice
+++

http://www.linux.org/info/gnu.html

Or have them E-mail me directly.  I'm finishing up the Open Source section of the 4th edition of The Product Marketing Handbook for Software and I'm listing out the pros/cons of Linux's future.  THIS would be a major con, obviously.

Of course, if we are talking about your own personal work, that's another story and you went off the point, again.

rick

rick chapman
Saturday, September 13, 2003

Hey Rick,

"I'm finishing up the Open Source section of the 4th edition of The Product Marketing Handbook for Software and I'm listing out the pros/cons of Linux's future."

Just wondering if you are surreptitiously gathering research for the work mentioned above by egging on some of the open source folks that you've been bantering with over here?  Maybe IBM and HP aren't the only ones trying to benefit from their freely contributed ideas?

Nosy Rabble Rouser
Saturday, September 13, 2003

+++Just wondering if you are surreptitiously gathering research for the work mentioned above by egging on some of the open source folks that you've been bantering with over here?+++

I'm hardly being "surreptitious" about anything! I've openly mentioned I'm writing an Open Source section for the book (well, an updated one; the third edition also covers the topic) and have already thanked one person for an interesting datapoint they uncovered.

You can safely assume writers are always in research mode regardless of time, place or topic.

However, I don't think I've uncovered much of interest in terms of the main question I asked.  And the transfer of wealth issue doesn't really fit in the Handbook.  But it's a topic I find interesting.

+++Maybe IBM and HP aren't the only ones trying to benefit from their freely contributed ideas? +++

Alas, few ideas.  Mainly ideology.

And some silliness about copyrights.

rick

rick chapman
Saturday, September 13, 2003

"
I will note that the terms of the GPL require your employer, if your contribution is made whilst working for another, to specifically disclaim copyright:"

LOL

did you actually the link you provided?  that is _not_ part of the terms and conditions of the GPL, and the GPL itself does not require it.  The GPL is only a copyright license you insufferably pompous and ignorant fool.

thats just advice for anyone considering placing code into Linux under the GPL to consider.  Its obviously considered important for anyone who is distributing code that may not belong to them to get specific permission from the person who _does_ own the code...ie, their employer, the clearest wya to do this and to make it clear is to get them to sign something like the mentioned letter.

You can tell if you look closely...notice how the phrase " END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS" appears a page _above_ the lines you mention?

How _do_ you manage to put your shoes on in the morning?

anonymous american
Sunday, September 14, 2003

+++The GPL is only a copyright license you insufferably pompous and ignorant fool.+++

Argument very weak.  Pout, yell and act stupidly.

Again:

"But, if you have someone who is expert in the field (and that's not you) and who is willing to tell me that everyone who's contribued to Linux maintains copyright over their work and has the right to pull their work "out of" Linux by "reclaiming" their copyright on their contributions send him here."

I am waiting for links, articles, and most of all, the chance to talk with someone who is prepared to confirm the above.  It would be a remarkable datapoint to include in the 4th Edition!

+++Its obviously considered important for anyone who is distributing code that may not belong to them to get specific permission from the person who _does_ own the code...ie, their employer, the clearest wya to do this and to make it clear is to get them to sign something like the mentioned letter.+++

What they're getting them to sign is a document that gives away theirs (the employer's) copyrights.  I think most people here understand why this is so, and also understand what this means.

+++How _do_ you manage to put your shoes on in the morning? +++

Again:

"But, if you have someone who is expert in the field (and that's not you) and who is willing to tell me that everyone who's contribued to Linux maintains copyright over their work and has the right to pull their work "out of" Linux by "reclaiming" their copyright on their contributions send him here."

I am waiting for you to provide ANY proof of your remarkable assertion.

rick

rick chapman
Sunday, September 14, 2003

"What they're getting them to sign is a document that gives away theirs (the employer's) copyrights."

yes.  If I was contributing _your_ code to Linux wouldn't you want me to get your permission?


"I am waiting for you to provide ANY proof of your remarkable assertion."

its not a remarkable assertion.  Its a fact of copyright law.

anonymous american
Sunday, September 14, 2003

It is not a "fact" of copyright law.  You have no idea of what you are talking about.  This thread has run its course and I have no desire to "listen" to more childish insults being hurled by you, but I do feel obligated to warn anyone reading this thread at a later time to not take your assertion about reclaiming their copyright seriously.

Don't.

I have done my duty by future readers.  They must believe what they wish and act as they will.

rick

rick chapman
Sunday, September 14, 2003

"It is not a "fact" of copyright law. "

yes, it is.  check with your copyright lawyer.  remember, the one you used to research the entire topic before you started to write a book about it.

"I have done my duty by future readers.  They must believe what they wish and act as they will."

no need for that :)  they can just check with any decent copyright lawyer. 
Actually I highly recommend talking with a lawyer before making the decision to work with OSS at any level, its always well worthwhile.

anonymous american
Sunday, September 14, 2003

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