[REBOL] Re: oss revisited (briefly!)
From: joel:neely:fedex at: 10-Feb-2004 11:03
Just my $0.02 here... However, let me emphasize that I'm not agitating
for a change of RT position here, but just clarifying what I understand
open source to be about, and some benefits of open source.
Robert M. M=FCnch wrote:
> Hi, I never undestand what the problem is? What's the problem with Rebol
> not being open-source? It doesn't cost hundred-of-thousands of $s to use.
> So if you are doing things that will create revenue, you can afford a
> license, if not use the free interpreter.
With all due respect, I think you're confusing two distinct issues here.
To paraphrase ESR and RMS, open source is about "free as in free speech,
not free as in free beer". Access to source code is about availability
of knowledge, as expanded below.
> But, all those open-source demagogues, if you can show-up with a
> business-model that let RT make some money from their work, I will be
> quite but otherwise it's just a techie POV with no business know-how
> behind it.
> And, BTW: Those not caring about Rebol because not being open-source have
> a problem ;-)
Again WADR I think you're contradicting yourself here. Saying that
something has no value unless somebody can make money off of it seems
just as much advocating a philosophical POV (not to accuse anybody of
demagoguery ;-) as saying that the greatest value to society at large
is obtained by knowledge to be freely available. As for the other
contradiction, your first paragraph seems to be arguing for a strictly
commercial POV, but your second paragraph seems to ignore the marketing
principle that the customer has the right to decide what (s)he wants.
I know some people who don't care about anything that doesn't run on
Windows. Do you think they have a problem simply because they have a
preferred platform and delivery model?
RT can make money by providing expert support, just as an engineering
firm can make money by providing expertise, even though that expertise
is based on applying the "open source" laws of physics which are freely
available to all. Similarly, legal firms make *LOTS* of money offering
their expertise, even though anyone can legally go to a law library and
read the "source code" of the laws of the nation.
> Well, why not? If someone can tell me a really benefit Rebol being
> open-source I might change my POV. Sorry, if this sound a bit harsh here,
> but only moaning without showing a solution is not that professional.
1) Faster bug fixes. Many folks on this mailing list have offered but
fixes for mezzanine code, but their/our ability to help debug and
offer corrections hits the wall when natives are involved. RT produces
good code but nobody is perfect and we know that there have been bugs
which have taken quite a while to resolve due to other priorites and
limits on resources.
2) Improved documentation. Many on this list have contributed ideas,
explanations, and mental models re various features of REBOL. If
we had access to the source code, those who are willing to invest the
effort to understand the interpreter and/or natives could offer exact
and definite answers for "how does REBOL do ..." and "what does ...
mean in REBOL" kinds of questions. The user community could stop
wasting time trying to guess and/or debate such issues. Making the
user community more effective certainly benefits both the users and RT!
3) Faster porting. There have been several mentions on this list in
the past few days about the fact that /View on Mac OS/X has been
for over a year. In the open source world, sufficiently-
interested parties can perform (or at least contribute to) the legwork
of getting an existing piece of code ported to another environment
(even if only for "beta" purposes).
The list could go on, but you asked for "a benefit" and I've mentioned
three, so I'll stop. ;-)
Again, let me stress that I'm not complaining or advocating here; RT
has a perfect right to decide what model and license REBOL will be
provided under. As a user, I simply decide whether I prefer to use
the tool under their model, or live without it. I certainly agree
that whining and moaning are not professional, but I do believe that
calm, rational discussion of the pros and cons of alternatives is
Joel Neely com dot fedex at neely dot joel
I had proved the hypothesis with a lovely Gedankenexperiment,
but my brain was too small to contain it. -- Language Hat