Re: More math and open source

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From: Dave Long (
Date: Tue Sep 19 2000 - 11:09:02 PDT

> All the religious hype about open source really hurt commercial developers
> and their users.

If open source be different from closed source
(which I believe you were originally arguing
against), and even if it be morally superior,
how could that possibly have hurt commercial
developers and users?

As Kragen asked, "who is doing this, and how?"

> Where's the reward for creative risk?

To paraphrase a translation:

  "When you have done a good act and another
   has received it, why then do you look for
   a third thing besides these, as fools do,
   either to have the reputation of having
   done a good act or to obtain a return?"


(BTW, what's the Gandhi story?)

- -(cave in infra equos mortos flagello)- -

> If you make developer tools and geeky OSes, it's easy to be open to
> suggestions from users, they are people just like you are. However
> if you make software for less technical or non-technical people,
> it's much harder work.

Measuring the "openness of suggestions" of
the originator obscures that aspect of open
source. Consider the case where one is
absolutely closed to suggestions. If one
releases source, then user A can create a
patch, and user B can apply it, without
any dependence upon the source's source:
not only DIY, but distributed DIY.

What does this imply for a less-technical
user base? I'd say it suggests that open
source has very little relevance to your
world. Code may be nice, but it is more
important to be open in the areas where
your users are prepared to add value for
each other. Userland status quo, right?


1/ "distributed DIY" can be important even when
   there are technical barriers. Consider the
   automobile: even if I am not competent to do
   any work on one myself, I still expect to be
   able to get the thing smogged, or to have a
   radio installed, without having to go back to
   the dealership. (however, in general s/w is
   much closer to ballpoint pens or to telephone
   handsets than to cars.)

2/ Non-technical people can add a great deal of
   value by editing text. For instance, a mail
   program or discussion tool might allow users,
   even those without many technical skills, to
   trim the text to which they respond, instead
   of requiring verbatim copies of inclusions. :-)

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