RE: More math and open source

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Jeff Barr (
Date: Mon Sep 18 2000 - 23:25:50 PDT

Looking through the pieces of this thread over the
past couple of days, here's my quick observation.
(even tying in the math concept).

Imagine a 2-d plane, 10x10 units in size.

* The first (x) axis is a measure of how much input that
  users have into the software development process.
  Input could be anything from suggestions to
  contributions of code.

* The second (y) axis is a measure of how much visibility
  the user has into the development process. From
  seeing and knowing nothing (not even advance notice
  of releases) through access to compiled betas, up
  to and including source access.

We can then "plot" various projects as points on this

* At the 0,0 point we have software developed in
  isolation, with no external input and no source

* at the 9,9 point we have the most open of all
  possible open source projects. I think that Linux
  is in this ballpark.

* The line of the form (X=n) represents projects that
  increasing provide more in the way of source as y
  increases. At y=0 you get no source, at y=5 you
  might get source for significant non-core parts, and
  at y=9 you get the whole ball of wax. For example,
  I think that much of what Userland releases is
  at the y=5 point. There is a lot of source included,
  but there is a compiled and non-sourced kernel. I'm
  not making a judgement on this, its a great mid-point
  example. Microsoft Windows has y=0, and Linux has

* The line of the form (Y=n) represents projects that
  increasingly allow the user to interact with and
  contribute to the development process. Commercial
  software has x values between, say 0 and 4. Open
  source ends up in the high end of the range, with
  variations based on how responsive the developers
  are to outside influences -- do they listen and
  respond to what the users request.

Does this make any sense? If so, feel free to name
this after me. If not, well I never said anything...


Jeff Barr - Home: 425-836-5624 Office: 425-936-3098
4610 191st Place NE. Redmond, WA

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Day []
Sent: Monday, September 18, 2000 9:51 PM
To: Jeff Bone; Dave Winer
Cc: Kragen Sitaker;
Subject: RE: More math and open source

> I'm
> just not sure losing sleep over what "open source" really means
> is worthwhile.
> Unless you happen to be RMS, maybe, but hopefully somebody is
> paying for him to
> see a really good therapist.

I assumed he had enough money from the MacArthur to pay for a good therapist
himself, if needed. Although I suppose the rates can be pretty steep.


Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Sep 18 2000 - 23:29:10 PDT