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Re: [bafuture] The future of open source software

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  • Michael Korns
    To Wayne, I m in Europe in vacation until Dec 18th so I ll be as brief as possible. So, there you have it. They are paying programmers to write open-source
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 10, 2002
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      To Wayne,

      I'm in Europe in vacation until Dec 18th so I'll be as brief as possible.

      So, there you have it. They are paying programmers to write
      open-source software.
      Don't be fooled into thinking that because there's
      no centralized point (either within the company or
      at another vendor like Microsoft) where the programmers
      are paid in an obvious way, than nobody gets paid.
      The payment can be indirect/decentralized.

      We seem to be "violently agreeing" :-)

      From the pure economic viewpoint that I was noodling in, the Yahoo and IBM examples are cases where the programmer is sustained by the sufferage of a commercial entity. The payment is still indirect. From a pure economic point of view, it doesn't matter whether the patron is academic, commercial, or private.

      The Open Source exchange economy becomes a barter economy only when the payment is direct. For instance, what if I can receive software, from you, which will manipulate some peripheral device, I already own, to manufacture foodstuffs or shelter? In that case the programmer is directly sustained by the exchange alone. No third party patron is required.


      > 3D printing from PC's

      What are you talking about?



      I'm referring to the new 3D printers that manufacture solid modeled objects from software designs. They're redimentary precursors to the Star Trek replicator. Check out this MIT website http://www.mit.edu/~tdp/
      Imagine when you can print: Chairs, stools, screws, tables, model planes, etc. Now there are fewer things for which you need money.


      > distributed fabrication,

      I don't know what you're getting at here.

      I'm referring to the promise of distributed Nanotechnology peripherals which assemble products from atomic feedstock. Check out this ACM debate between Ralph Merkle and Bill Joy on the possibility and dangers of distributed self-replicating manufacturing via Nanotechnology: http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/interviews/r_merkle_1.html . Also check out this web page by Venture Capitalist Steve Jurvetson on the potential of Nanotechnology: http://www.asme.org/nano/jurvetson.htm .



      > Future (which is what our group is all about) potential
      > open source battlefields will possibly be: virtual reality
      > entertainment


      Why do you think so?


      I'm referring to potential changes in the world's oldest profession. What if your PC game peripheral allow direct non-invasive MRI-style virtual reality sensory connect. Now you're immersed in the "game" tactically, olfacorially, visually, etc. Why pay a real world prostitute/chippendale when you can have fun with movie starlets/stars in a mentally compelling experience? Why pay for real world vacations when you can have a compelling "Total Recall" style experience? Now the exchanged software provides direct economic value. Now there are fewer things for which you need money. No third party patron is required.


      See you in January.

      Michael

      **********************************
      Michael F. Korns
      _____
      1 Plum Hollow Drive
      Henderson, NV 89052
      (702) 837-3498
      ____
      www.korns.com
      www.InvestByAgent.com
      **********************************

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: wayne radinsky
      To: bafuture@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, December 09, 2002 10:39 PM
      Subject: Re: [bafuture] The future of open source software



      > To All:
      >
      > An interesting aspect missing in all our rumminations on
      > Open Source is the pure economic issue.
      >
      > In a pure economic sense Open Source is an exchange
      > economy. As such it is similar to intellectual property in
      > academia. Academic IP is free by law, and is exchanged by
      > the producers (professors, and students) in return for
      > prestige, recognition, etc. and exploited by the consumers
      > (commercial, government, and society at large) for its
      > direct deployment value.
      >
      > Exchange economies are similar to barter economies but are
      > different in some important ways.
      >
      > It is important to note that the Academic economy operates
      > only at the sufferage of the State which provides the basic
      > sustinance levels necessary for that economy.
      >
      > Currently the basic sustinance levels necessary for the
      > Open Source economy are primarily provided by the sufferage
      > of the programmers. There have and are several attempts to
      > redirect/circumvent the Open Source exchange mechanism so
      > as to provide basic sustinance levels.
      >
      > The Open Source economy will transition to major a economic
      > force whenever and wherever its exchange mechanisms
      > unredirected and uncircumvented are able provide basic
      > sustinence levels to the programmers.

      Ok, Michael, I'm not going to dispute that a lot of
      source development takes place in government/academia.
      I gave numerous examples myself. This is especially in
      areas related to science. I gave examples of open-source
      tools that are used in biology and genomics.

      I'm not going to dispute that there are many hobbyist
      programmers as well, who write code for fun in their spare
      time. I know this is true of some of the leaders of well
      known projects, though off the top of my head I can't say
      which ones.

      However -- you're mistaken if you think that's all there
      is. In fact I thought I explained at some length about how
      an open-source programmer gets paid to write open source.
      But I did it with an example of a hypothetical programmer
      in "Podunk, Alaska" (which I meant to mean "anywhere"). To
      make this a little more concrete, I'm going to use a real
      example, the one that I mentioned to Chris in my last post.


      Yahoo shifts to open-source scripting
      With an eye toward its bottom line, Yahoo has decided
      to jettison its own proprietary scripting language in
      favor of the open-source alternative PHP.
      http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104-963937.html


      Now, I presume that Yahoo is a bottom-line oriented
      business. I presume also that their managers have thought
      through the implications of this decision. Basically the
      article recounts their decision to switch from an
      internally developed scripting language (yScript) to an
      open-source scripting language (PHP).

      What the article doesn't mention is the possibility they
      apparently *didn't* consider: purchasing a commercial
      scripting language. This is an option they do have.
      Microsoft sells one. It's called Active Server Pages (ASP).

      So Yahoo basically has 3 choices:

      1) create their own scripting language

      2) purchase ASP from Microsoft (or other commercial product)

      3) use PHP (or other open-source package)

      If they use #1, then they have to bear the entire cost of
      development.

      If they use #2, then they have to bear part of the cost of
      development, in the form of licence fees. When they need
      new functionality, Microsoft will add them, because they
      are a paying customer. They will pay for this one way or
      another -- either upgrade fees or subscription fees,
      whatever licence agreement is used with Microsoft.

      If they use #3, then they have to pay their own developers
      to add the improvements they want. Note that in this
      picture, they probably don't any particluar programmer
      (or group of programmers) responsible for the script
      code. They just have any programmer in any group,
      working on any Yahoo application (Yahoo Mail, Yahoo
      Calendar, Yahoo Bill-Bay, whatever) modify the PHP
      source code whenever they need a feature or bug fix
      that's not there.

      Yahoo has decided that #3 is the most economical.

      Many other large corporations do the same. IBM does
      development on Linux. Why do they do it? They make money
      from selling the software that runs on top of it (WebSphere
      for example) and selling e-business services.

      So, there you have it. They are paying programmers to write
      open-source software.

      Don't be fooled into thinking that because there's
      no centralized point (either within the company or
      at another vendor like Microsoft) where the programmers
      are paid in an obvious way, than nobody gets paid.
      The payment can be indirect/decentralized.

      > Examples of such major impacts would be the music industry
      > and Napster/MP3 where the open exchange mechanism provided
      > enough direct benefit to the consumer that the music
      > industry intervened to become a gatekeeper protected by
      > law. Incidentally, it is not yet clear that the music
      > industry, even though they succeeded against the threat of
      > recording devices, will succeed against the potential of
      > massive broadband exchange of content.

      Ok, now, I see this as being an entirely separate issue.
      The reason I see it as a separate issue is that Napster et
      al are *violating* copyright. Open source software
      development does *not* violate copyright. In fact, open
      source development *depends* on copyright. The GNU Public
      Licence (GPL) was *deliberately* written to use copyright
      law to *prevent* anybody from assuming proprietary
      ownership of the source code. In other words, GPL uses
      copyright law to prevent anyone from grapping open source
      code and closing it.

      > Future (which is what our group is all about) potential
      > open source battlefields will possibly be: virtual reality
      > entertainment

      Why do you think so?

      > 3D printing from PC's

      What are you talking about?

      > distributed fabrication,

      I don't know what you're getting at here. The way I see it,
      fabrication is currently becoming *less* distributed,
      rather than more. I linked to a businessweek article about
      the consolidation of chip fabrication into a handful of
      "monster wafer" fabs in my "current state of the art" post.

      Here it is again:

      Chips on Monster Wafers
      http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/02_45/b3807002.htm

      But I don't see any connection between this and open source.

      I have heard rumors of using "open source system-on-chip"
      (SOC) designs, but the way things are done with SOC's in
      the chip industry is still almost entirely the regular
      intellectual-property licencing method.

      > and distributed nanotechnology.

      Some people bandy around the term "open source nano".
      Usually in the same breath as "will make scarcity
      disappear!" I find it hard to take this idea seriously at
      this point. However, I did link to a few "open source
      biology" projects. (That's where the genetics is
      open-source, not just the software used to study it).
      That's probably the closest concept to "open source nano"
      that exists in the world today.

      > Our world just gets interestinger and interestinger.

      It sure does. That's one prediction you can't get wrong.

      Wayne




      --- Michael Korns <mkorns@...> wrote:
      > To All:
      >
      > An interesting aspect missing in all our rumminations on Open
      > Source is the pure economic issue.
      >
      > In a pure economic sense Open Source is an exchange economy.
      > As such it is similar to intellectual property in academia.
      > Academic IP is free by law, and is exchanged by the producers
      > (professors, and students) in return for prestige,
      > recognition, etc. and exploited by the consumers (commercial,
      > government, and society at large) for its direct deployment
      > value.
      >
      > Exchange economies are similar to barter economies but are
      > different in some important ways.
      >
      > It is important to note that the Academic economy operates
      > only at the sufferage of the State which provides the basic
      > sustinance levels necessary for that economy.
      >
      > Currently the basic sustinance levels necessary for the Open
      > Source economy are primarily provided by the sufferage of the
      > programmers. There have and are several attempts to
      > redirect/circumvent the Open Source exchange mechanism so as
      > to provide basic sustinance levels.
      >
      > The Open Source economy will transition to major a economic
      > force whenever and wherever its exchange mechanisms
      > unredirected and uncircumvented are able provide basic
      > sustinence levels to the programmers.
      >
      > Examples of such major impacts would be the music industry and
      > Napster/MP3 where the open exchange mechanism provided enough
      > direct benefit to the consumer that the music industry
      > intervened to become a gatekeeper protected by law.
      > Incidentally, it is not yet clear that the music industry,
      > even though they succeeded against the threat of recording
      > devices, will succeed against the potential of massive
      > broadband exchange of content.
      >
      > Future (which is what our group is all about) potential open
      > source battlefields will possibly be: virtual reality
      > entertainment, 3D printing from PC's, distributed fabrication,
      > and distributed nanotechnology.
      >
      > Our world just gets interestinger and interestinger.
      >
      >
      > **********************************
      > Michael F. Korns
      > _____
      > 1 Plum Hollow Drive
      > Henderson, NV 89052
      > (702) 837-3498
      > ____
      > www.korns.com
      > www.InvestByAgent.com
      > **********************************
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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    • wayne radinsky
      ... Ibiza? ... I thought you were saying there s a fundamental economic problem that has to be solved before open source can succeed. ... The payment will
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 11, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        > To Wayne,
        >
        > I'm in Europe in vacation until Dec 18th so I'll be as
        > brief as possible.

        Ibiza?

        >> So, there you have it. They are paying programmers to write
        >> open-source software. Don't be fooled into thinking that
        >> because there's no centralized point (either within the
        >> company or at another vendor like Microsoft) where the
        >> programmers are paid in an obvious way, than nobody gets
        >> paid. The payment can be indirect/decentralized.
        >
        > We seem to be "violently agreeing" :-)

        I thought you were saying there's a fundamental economic
        problem that has to be solved before open source can succeed.

        > From the pure economic viewpoint that I was noodling in,
        > the Yahoo and IBM examples are cases where the programmer
        > is sustained by the sufferage of a commercial entity. The
        > payment is still indirect. From a pure economic point of
        > view, it doesn't matter whether the patron is academic,
        > commercial, or private.
        >
        > The Open Source exchange economy becomes a barter economy
        > only when the payment is direct.

        The payment will never be direct. It's not possible. Not
        possible by definition: If you can charge licence fees,
        it's not open source.

        Open source is also not an exchange economy, and it's
        definitely not a barter economy.

        Eric S. Raymond coined the term "gift economy" to describe
        the dynamics of open source. But you have to keep in mind,
        he's redefining the term "gift" and not using the normal,
        everyday definition of the word.

        > For instance, what if I can receive software, from you,
        > which will manipulate some peripheral device, I already
        > own, to manufacture foodstuffs or shelter? In that case the
        > programmer is directly sustained by the exchange alone. No
        > third party patron is required.

        What does this have to do with open source? The software can
        be open or closed.

        >> 3D printing from PC's
        >
        > What are you talking about?
        >
        > I'm referring to the new 3D printers that manufacture solid
        > modeled objects from software designs. They're redimentary
        > precursors to the Star Trek replicator. Check out this MIT
        > website http://www.mit.edu/~tdp/

        Ahh very interesting.

        > Imagine when you can print: Chairs, stools, screws, tables,
        > model planes, etc. Now there are fewer things for which you
        > need money.

        Except it makes no economic sense to do this. Chairs,
        stools, screws, tables, model planes? These are amoung the
        cheapest products available. Even poor people, assuming
        they're rich enough to not be homeless, have enough chairs,
        stools, screws, tables, model planes, don't they? What's
        the price of this 3D printer?

        >> distributed fabrication,
        >
        > I don't know what you're getting at here.
        >
        > I'm referring to the promise of distributed Nanotechnology
        > peripherals which assemble products from atomic feedstock.
        > Check out this ACM debate between Ralph Merkle and Bill Joy
        > on the possibility and dangers of distributed
        > self-replicating manufacturing via Nanotechnology:
        > http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/interviews/r_merkle_1.html .

        Oh, well, this gets into the whole "Drexlerian Assembler"
        debate. And I really have nothing to say on that.
        Maybe Chris or somebody else has an opinion.

        > Also check out this web page by Venture Capitalist Steve
        > Jurvetson on the potential of Nanotechnology:
        > http://www.asme.org/nano/jurvetson.htm .

        That page is just an ad for Steve Jurvetson. Am I supposed
        to click on something?

        >> Future (which is what our group is all about) potential
        >> open source battlefields will possibly be: virtual reality
        >> entertainment
        >
        > Why do you think so?
        >
        > I'm referring to potential changes in the world's oldest
        > profession. What if your PC game peripheral allow direct
        > non-invasive MRI-style virtual reality sensory connect. Now
        > you're immersed in the "game" tactically, olfacorially,
        > visually, etc. Why pay a real world prostitute/chippendale
        > when you can have fun with movie starlets/stars in a
        > mentally compelling experience? Why pay for real world
        > vacations when you can have a compelling "Total Recall"
        > style experience? Now the exchanged software provides
        > direct economic value. Now there are fewer things for which
        > you need money. No third party patron is required.

        I don't see the connection with open source. The closest
        thing we have today to VR is the video game industry, and
        the video game industry will probably evolve into immersive
        VR. But I've never heard of an open-source video game. The
        closest thing I can think of to open-source in video games
        is how some video game companies publish the format of
        their data files, and people develop level editors and
        create their own levels for the game. The game developers
        apparently feel that the existence of many user-created
        levels will increase their sales of the game.

        > See you in January.

        Aye aye cap'n.

        > Michael

        Wayne




        --- Michael Korns <mkorns@...> wrote:
        > To Wayne,
        >
        > I'm in Europe in vacation until Dec 18th so I'll be as brief
        > as possible.
        >
        > So, there you have it. They are paying programmers to write
        > open-source software.
        > Don't be fooled into thinking that because there's
        > no centralized point (either within the company or
        > at another vendor like Microsoft) where the programmers
        > are paid in an obvious way, than nobody gets paid.
        > The payment can be indirect/decentralized.
        >
        > We seem to be "violently agreeing" :-)
        >
        > From the pure economic viewpoint that I was noodling in, the
        > Yahoo and IBM examples are cases where the programmer is
        > sustained by the sufferage of a commercial entity. The payment
        > is still indirect. From a pure economic point of view, it
        > doesn't matter whether the patron is academic, commercial, or
        > private.
        >
        > The Open Source exchange economy becomes a barter economy only
        > when the payment is direct. For instance, what if I can
        > receive software, from you, which will manipulate some
        > peripheral device, I already own, to manufacture foodstuffs or
        > shelter? In that case the programmer is directly sustained by
        > the exchange alone. No third party patron is required.
        >
        >
        > > 3D printing from PC's
        >
        > What are you talking about?
        >
        >
        >
        > I'm referring to the new 3D printers that manufacture solid
        > modeled objects from software designs. They're redimentary
        > precursors to the Star Trek replicator. Check out this MIT
        > website http://www.mit.edu/~tdp/
        > Imagine when you can print: Chairs, stools, screws, tables,
        > model planes, etc. Now there are fewer things for which you
        > need money.
        >
        >
        > > distributed fabrication,
        >
        > I don't know what you're getting at here.
        >
        > I'm referring to the promise of distributed Nanotechnology
        > peripherals which assemble products from atomic feedstock.
        > Check out this ACM debate between Ralph Merkle and Bill Joy on
        > the possibility and dangers of distributed self-replicating
        > manufacturing via Nanotechnology:
        > http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/interviews/r_merkle_1.html . Also
        > check out this web page by Venture Capitalist Steve Jurvetson
        > on the potential of Nanotechnology:
        > http://www.asme.org/nano/jurvetson.htm .
        >
        >
        >
        > > Future (which is what our group is all about) potential
        > > open source battlefields will possibly be: virtual reality
        > > entertainment
        >
        >
        > Why do you think so?
        >
        >
        > I'm referring to potential changes in the world's oldest
        > profession. What if your PC game peripheral allow direct
        > non-invasive MRI-style virtual reality sensory connect. Now
        > you're immersed in the "game" tactically, olfacorially,
        > visually, etc. Why pay a real world prostitute/chippendale
        > when you can have fun with movie starlets/stars in a mentally
        > compelling experience? Why pay for real world vacations when
        > you can have a compelling "Total Recall" style experience? Now
        > the exchanged software provides direct economic value. Now
        > there are fewer things for which you need money. No third
        > party patron is required.
        >
        >
        > See you in January.
        >
        > Michael
        >
        > **********************************
        > Michael F. Korns
        > _____
        > 1 Plum Hollow Drive
        > Henderson, NV 89052
        > (702) 837-3498
        > ____
        > www.korns.com
        > www.InvestByAgent.com
        > **********************************
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: wayne radinsky
        > To: bafuture@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Monday, December 09, 2002 10:39 PM
        > Subject: Re: [bafuture] The future of open source software
        >
        >
        >
        > > To All:
        > >
        > > An interesting aspect missing in all our rumminations on
        > > Open Source is the pure economic issue.
        > >
        > > In a pure economic sense Open Source is an exchange
        > > economy. As such it is similar to intellectual property in
        > > academia. Academic IP is free by law, and is exchanged by
        > > the producers (professors, and students) in return for
        > > prestige, recognition, etc. and exploited by the consumers
        > > (commercial, government, and society at large) for its
        > > direct deployment value.
        > >
        > > Exchange economies are similar to barter economies but are
        > > different in some important ways.
        > >
        > > It is important to note that the Academic economy operates
        > > only at the sufferage of the State which provides the
        > basic
        > > sustinance levels necessary for that economy.
        > >
        > > Currently the basic sustinance levels necessary for the
        > > Open Source economy are primarily provided by the
        > sufferage
        > > of the programmers. There have and are several attempts to
        > > redirect/circumvent the Open Source exchange mechanism so
        > > as to provide basic sustinance levels.
        > >
        > > The Open Source economy will transition to major a
        > economic
        > > force whenever and wherever its exchange mechanisms
        > > unredirected and uncircumvented are able provide basic
        > > sustinence levels to the programmers.
        >
        > Ok, Michael, I'm not going to dispute that a lot of
        > source development takes place in government/academia.
        > I gave numerous examples myself. This is especially in
        > areas related to science. I gave examples of open-source
        > tools that are used in biology and genomics.
        >
        > I'm not going to dispute that there are many hobbyist
        > programmers as well, who write code for fun in their spare
        > time. I know this is true of some of the leaders of well
        > known projects, though off the top of my head I can't say
        > which ones.
        >
        > However -- you're mistaken if you think that's all there
        > is. In fact I thought I explained at some length about how
        > an open-source programmer gets paid to write open source.
        > But I did it with an example of a hypothetical programmer
        > in "Podunk, Alaska" (which I meant to mean "anywhere"). To
        > make this a little more concrete, I'm going to use a real
        > example, the one that I mentioned to Chris in my last post.
        >
        >
        > Yahoo shifts to open-source scripting
        > With an eye toward its bottom line, Yahoo has decided
        > to jettison its own proprietary scripting language in
        > favor of the open-source alternative PHP.
        > http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104-963937.html
        >
        >
        > Now, I presume that Yahoo is a bottom-line oriented
        > business. I presume also that their managers have thought
        > through the implications of this decision. Basically the
        > article recounts their decision to switch from an
        > internally developed scripting language (yScript) to an
        > open-source scripting language (PHP).
        >
        > What the article doesn't mention is the possibility they
        > apparently *didn't* consider: purchasing a commercial
        > scripting language. This is an option they do have.
        > Microsoft sells one. It's called Active Server Pages (ASP).
        >
        > So Yahoo basically has 3 choices:
        >
        > 1) create their own scripting language
        >
        > 2) purchase ASP from Microsoft (or other commercial product)
        >
        > 3) use PHP (or other open-source package)
        >
        > If they use #1, then they have to bear the entire cost of
        > development.
        >
        > If they use #2, then they have to bear part of the cost of
        > development, in the form of licence fees. When they need
        > new functionality, Microsoft will add them, because they
        > are a paying customer. They will pay for this one way or
        > another -- either upgrade fees or subscription fees,
        > whatever licence agreement is used with Microsoft.
        >
        > If they use #3, then they have to pay their own developers
        > to add the improvements they want. Note that in this
        > picture, they probably don't any particluar programmer
        > (or group of programmers) responsible for the script
        >
        === message truncated ===


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