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slightly better OT??? / (Fwd) Lockean theory of property rights & open source culture

From: Eric D. Pierce <>
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2000 16:45:00 -0800
Message-Id: <>

[sorry I don't have the URL for the original article on copyrighting bugs.]

subject: Lockean theory of property rights & open source culture (/was (Fwd) RE: [OT] MS claims copyright on Windows Bugs)


|About the Author
|Eric S. Raymond has been writing open-source 
|software for more than fifteen years, and has 
|authored or collaborated on many popular 
|programs. He is often described as the Internet 
|hacker culture's tribal historian and resident 
|anthropologist, and edited The New Hacker's 
|Dictionary ...

------- Forwarded message follows -------
[open source discussion...]

> I am completely lost here. Okay, perhaps it's great for large corporations
> because it saves them so much money. Nobody would argue that Microsoft
> (among others) isn't grossly overcharging everyone for their products. But
> what is the incentive for an individual to develop software? How will they
> feed their families? Surely not on ideals and good feelings alone? Will I
> have to look my son in the eye and say, "Son, after you've studied hard for
> years and then worked very hard to develop the best software that you
> possibly can, I want you to just give it all away."?
As an individual, you can do it for fun ;) As an individual computer professional (e.g. consultant) you do it for professional enhancement. A local company here in ... specializes in wireless networking drivers. They struggled for a long time. As a last ditch effort to make things work, they wrote and open sourced wireless LAN drivers for linux. Their fame skyrocketed. If you had to choose between 2 vendors, one of which had code that you could try and review, which would you trust. They landed several contracts for proprietry development for vendor hardware. They also won "Best New Product" ad Atlanta Linux Showcase. They are doing quite well now, thank you. In their case, free software is cheap and effective advertising. Another model, is "widget frosting", Sendmail, Inc and Tripwire (I don't know the actual company name) start with, and continue to maintain, completely open source products. (Sendmail is THE mail handler for the internet, moving an estimated 80-90% of internet mail.) For a price, you can buy support or you can buy additional add-ons: GUI management tools, enterprise integration tools, central management tools, etc. For a general consultant, you can give away your software and sell support conctracts. Say you through together a custom BSD distribution that provides general internet connectivity, firewall services, email gateway, an e-commerce web framework, etc. You give it away to the world. Businesses, however, like to be able to count on someone to fix things when they're broken, so you sell annual service contracts. Now you can go out to local businesses, show them your product, show them your customer participation mailing lists, show them your history at resolving problems. Odds are, they'll pick you over someone who shows them a brightly packaged box with a CD inside. Or, let's say you're Joe Programmer working (or contracting) for programming services. You decide to change jobs, so out goes the resumes. On that resume, you say download and try my software at Companies are giving big-time open source programmers big-time jobs. These are the superstars of software development: Linus Torvalds, Transmeta; Bruce Perens, HP; Guido Van Rossum, Digital Creations; Take a look at Eric Raymonds' _Homesteading_the_Noosphere_ at
Received on Wed Dec 13 2000 - 18:45:00 CST

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