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Efficiency and successful projects (was: Fwd: Re: [ox-en] Re: The nature of apple trees)

Hi CTVN and all!

Last month (36 days ago) CTVN wrote:
2 days ago CTVN wrote:
Well, I'm for overcoming it by better alternatives.

in terms of effectiveness, this "better" alternative has a very high
threshold to pass as todays world is functioning very efficiently (though
its unfair) in my view. morally "your" system might be superior, but thats
only half of the story.

Well, you are using the terms effectiveness and efficiency as if they
would be defined by some laws of nature. Of course they are not - at
least not efficiency.

In my understanding effectiveness means that something is actually
accomplished, that some effect is caused. In fact I'd not see a big
difference here between extrinsic or intrinsic motivation. For
instance by extrinsic motivation the type of absolute quality produced
by intrinsic motivation is never accomplished. So extrinsic motivation
is very ineffective here. On the other hand you can force people to do
things so you can be more effective with extrinsic motivation.

In addition I'd consider it also important what effects can be wished
for and what not. If I take this into account I'd say peer production
does much better. One of the very goals is to produce use value -
which is hard to conceptualize as not to be wished for. On the other
hand extrinsic motivation can easily be used to destroy and kill

Efficiency is an even more complicated term. In my understanding
efficiency says something about how many resources are needed to
achieve some effect. To make sense the term efficiency needs a scale
being labeled by the types of resources you are talking of.

I don't know what types of resources you had in mind but for some
popular resources I think extrinsic motivation really looks very bad.

One of the resources needed is nature. I think there are many, many
people on this list who complain that the use of nature in extrinsic
motivation schemes is awful - otherwise we would have solved problems
like global warning, peak oil and the like some 35 years ago when they
first became apparent.

Another resource needed is human effort. I don't know whether you ever
worked in a company but from my experience people have a lot to do to
fight political wars and to avoid spending too much effort. This is
very different to effort spent because of intrinsic motivation.

So, no, I don't think that peer production looks too bad on the topics
of effectiveness and efficiency.

sorry, i just cant picture a
world where everyone is free and basically does what (s)he wants and
things overall still work. there are just too many boring, repetitive
(even interesting, repetitive tasks often become boring over time), and
"servant" tasks outthere that need to be done.

Indeed this is hard to imagine. But this is part of the challenge of
Oekonux to imagine and research exactly that.

one problem im having with is that you aim to kill money as a very
effective extrinsic motivation tool.

I do not want to kill money - this is simply not necessary if people
do better without it. I want to overcome money, to make it wither
away. To me this would also be the simplest way to "slide" into a new
society :-) .

people are the way they are and money
causes them to do things that are needed.

I don't think that "people are the way they are". Humans have many,
many potentials and the society they grow up in shapes what potentials
are realized and what potentials are not realized. A different form of
society shapes humans differently.

If you look back in history then you will for sure see this. In a fast
changing society like capitalism you even do not have to go far. Don't
you think that the life style and associated norms of your
grandparents where very different from yours in the same age?

basically, my impression that ive got over time is
that - as a rule with exceptions (like apache) - the most successful os
projects have exchange, money and corporate backers involved to a large

I don't think that we agree on the term "successful" here. Can you
give criteria for a successful project?

first, whats "unsuccessful"? certainly, abandonded projects. look at
sourceforge how many thousands and thousands of projects are
registered there but are dead. most of them have been started
passionately, out of the stomach
and then abandoned.

Ok, but then we need to compare apples with apples. It is just as easy
to create a Sourceforge project as to explain your great business
models to your pals in the pub. When I only think of such talks I
witnessed during the last year then this would probably make up for 10
Sourceforge projects for about 10 people. Seeing it that way I think
there are far more unsuccessful business models than successful ones.

generally, i think that money involvement makes such
more stable and serious.

I'd agree with that in principle: If you have invested something - be
it money or effort - you don't want it to die off tomorrow.

Seeing it this way I'd think that there is no big difference again.
Peer production projects with lots and lots of effort spent already
are less likely to be abandoned soon. The same applies to money based

successful for me means that it is useful and many people are using it.
call it marketshare if you want.

Well, let's stay with the total number of people using it. I just
quickly counted on my laptop. I have 1430 Ubuntu packages installed.
Let's be conservative and assume that each single project contributes
two packages. That would be 715 projects then - and Apache is even not
among them.

I think it is not too far fetched to assume that of these 715 projects
two third are used by every Ubuntu user - because they are just part
of the common infrastructure. I guess this qualifies them as
successful because they are used by many Ubuntu users. And many of
them have been used by other Linux users before. That would be nearly
500 successful projects on my computer alone. From these 500
successful projects how much do you think have paid developers? I'd
assume 10% or may be 20%. That would leave us with about successful
400 projects.

So, in fact I think that there are lots and lots of successful Free
Software projects without money involvment by your definiton.

generally, i
think a good way to assess the relevance/influence of money is to look at
software where there is a money and non-money driven project. browser
(firefox) and text editor (open office) for example. the two projects are
heavily backed by
companies and lots of people and companies use it. thats what i call

In fact I can see not many such projects in the Free Software
landscape. I agree they are very visible - which may be also a result
of being somewhat uncommon.

also, all major linux
distributions are lead by companies.

That was a concern I had also some years ago. Meanwhile the community
based Debian distribution is the basis of fast growing distributions
so I think this also became a weak point meanwhile.

linux code itself is heavily paid for
by commpanies.

As I pointed out before the Linux kernel is a very special piece of
software in this regard.

capability to write great code does not depend on whether the person is
intrinsically or extrinsically motivated.

The capability not - I agree. But whether this capability is used is a
different thing. I saw many, many non-Free software projects
meanwhile. I can't remember a single one where at the end the
developers would have been proud of the result. In each project there
were so many places they would have loved to refactor and to improve
it this way. But they were not allowed to use their capability by the

so, my conclusion is to find a
way to combine existing, highly effective extrinsic with intrinsic
motivation to ensure a maximum output of high quality code (products,

Well, I think there are fundamental problems at least
"asymptotically". When I asses the points you made I don't see strong
arguments for paid Free Software projects.


Contact: projekt

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