Has Google exposed your left flank?

Has Google exposed your left flank?

Summary: As if the unvarnished...

TOPICS: Google

As if the unvarnished truths

Topic: Google

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  • The Golden Goose may go away

    The original premise of open source was that a person who needed some code that was not available could write it themselves and make it available to other users who might need it too. If/when one of these others might need to make an improvement or other change, that change could be made available the same way. In that way the originator might receive back something useful in exchange for his first efforts. The system makes a lot of sense for sharing the more obscure things that populate the internet. The main use is where a custom program would be prohibitively expensive to create on a commercial basis so only those who derive direct benefits commensurate with the costs would participate.

    The idea has extended to situations where a commercial product is or was available to do the same thing, for example the Apache web server was invented even in the presence of Netscape and other commercial products. Linux was invented as a unix on Intel sort of thing even when the original SCO Unix was available for the i386 architecture processors. Here we do not have the situation where the developer is likely to "get back" code contributions from the users that anywhere near compensate for the total value of the open source code. This is clearly a different beast than the mutual backscratching mode that open source was originally conceived to provide.

    It is easy to believe that Bill Gates and Microsoft will stay in the Windows business until the last dog is hung, since they are making so much money at it. It is not at all clear as to what will keep the OSS cobblers at their lasts once the thrill of seeing their name in lights wears off.
    • Amicus' key point

      "It is not at all clear as to what will keep the OSS cobblers at their lasts once the thrill of seeing their name in lights wears off."

      The easy answer is, service, support, installation, management revenues. That's what keeps corporations who offer GPL products up and running, including IBM.

      But I take your point, which is volunteer burnout. I think we face the same thing in blogging. And I think the answer depends on how quickly people in software (or journalism) find work that pays and is still meaningful.

      Thanks for writing.