Re: [ox-en] Re: Free Software and payment
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Thu, 02 Nov 2006 08:53:21 +0100
Hi Markus and all!
I wanted to reply to a couple of points in this post.
3 months (116 days) ago Markus wrote:
Hi Stefan and all,
Hi Markus and all!
well, as i said i want open source to be successful in the marketplace.
what are the most successful
projects? how many are NOT successful? what is the rule and what is the
So your main theses is: Only those Free Software projects are
successful which involve money in a way. Well, to verify or falsify
this theses it probably needs a lot of clarification first. What does
involvement of money mean for instance? Does a single contributor
whose contribution has been created in paid labor time mean that there
is money involved? What does being successful mean?
im not saying ONLY those projects are successful which involve money but
IMHO as a rule they tend to be more "successful".
BTW: Not every Free Software project which money involvement is
successful. In particular I'm thinking of projects which have been
developed as proprietary software and at some point have been released
as Free Software. For instance there are two journaling file systems
(JFS (IBM) and XFS (SGI)) which have been Freed and included in the
kernel but AFAICS are not really used. Instead Free file systems like
Ext3 and Reiser are still the norm.
In the beginning even Mozilla (and that also means its more recent
offspring like Firefox and Thunderbird) looked like it will fail after
Netscape released the sources into Freedom. Well, AFAIK the vast
majority of code has been rewritten since then...
"successful in the
market place" (for me) means that its a viable competitor to closed source
programs and that people (and not only techies) know about it and use it.
So you basically mean successful on the end user desktop. That's quite
another story - though in the past there is definitely movement in the
right direction :-) .
on the other hand, joomla, the cms we use, is excellent and no money is
involved (yet). regardless, i think people who do such a great job deserve
(from a moral perspective) some remuneration.
Don't you think that if the joomla people would see it that way you'd
know about it? On SourceForge for instance you can ask for donations
for your project. Do they?
for instance, i really think
reasonable annual membership fees of a joomla foundation for instance
could provide for a revenue stream which can be given to developers
allowing them to work more focussed on the development. it also allows
them to get together and discuss things in person with each other.
I think I didn't cite it but Steven Weber had a very nice example
about the role of meeting personally in Free Software projects. In
fact if you have a co-located group of developers and a few which are
only on the Internet you have a very unhealthy situation. This is too
asymmetric and personally working in a situation with co-located
developers I only can emphasize this insight. Lots of tacit knowledge
flowing during a coffee break sticks to the co-located people and
kills cooperation with the Internet community.
regarding to changing (rather than substituting) the incentives when
introducing money, i just dont think that so many of the developers would
be tempted by the "lure of money". personally, ive been investing a lot of
my time and also some money into this project here (vodes.net) and i
certainly would welcome some financial return for that. not because id
like to make tons of money (in fact, the independent supervisory board
(interest fraction-rationlity) of vn comes up with a proposed salary
range. but money would give me the necessary independence to work focussed
on the achievement of the goals.
Well, I think this is wishful thinking. Money doesn't create
independence but dependence. My employer does not pay me for being
independent of him and some vodes.net would not do either. In the
contrary: Money is paid *because* I do useful things for my employer.
And if vodes.net is really different from that I'd really strive for a
job there :-) .
No, money is structural force and it exactly exists for creating
dependence. You would pay Free Software developers to build things
*you* want. That is you structurally force *your* will onto them.
That's not independence by any useful meaning of the word.
This all applies when the amount of money you receive regularly is
substantial - i.e. you live from it. Now you could argue that it
should not be lots of money. If it is only a symbolic amount you can
loose easily then I'd agree you are independent of that money. But if
you don't need it why asking for it at all? After all the involvement
of money makes things *really* difficult. For instance your vodes.net
and all its complicated procedures and instiutions are just there to
distribute money. Why when the money is really not needed?
and - at least in the case of vn - this
is defenitely a big plus. i think the same is true for many open source
recently, there was an interesting article on slashdot
someone from sun speaking about "directed interested" and what lessons
open source can learn from capitalism. i think its a good approach and the
guy should know what he is talking about.
I need to read it.
Above you accept that Free Software delivers outstanding quality. Why
do you think this is so? I gave the Oekonux reason above, what is
one needs to be more specific. quality depends much on the product.
I disagree. The product is only the result of a process and if the
quality is not built into the process then there will be no quality in
the product. This is common wisdom BTW. For instance the ISO-9000(?)
standards for quality *exclusively* focus on the process.
i dont understand this. do you dont want to say that a product is
automatically good just because its open source (assuming open source is
the "process" that you refer to?). i did some scripting on open source
basis...and this can hardly be called a "quality product".
No, Free Software can be bad of course - and a lot actually is. But
the process of Free Software allows for creating superior products. If
this would not be the case then we would not talk of Free Software at
all because proprietary products would not allow Free Software to
raise its head. Steven Weber has a lots of reasoning about this in his
book - ah, I guess I mentioned the book here already ;-) .
Mit Freien Grüßen
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