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[REBOL] Re: oss revisited (briefly!)

From: robert:muench:robertmuench at: 12-Feb-2004 11:00

On Tue, 10 Feb 2004 11:03:57 -0600, Joel Neely <[joel--neely--fedex--com]> wrote:
> 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".
Hi, yes I know. BTW: Just to clarify things up-front: I do support the open-source idea, and I think it's a very good way. But IMO neither the only-commercial nor the only-open-source way is the best. It's the middle, combining both sides. I just wanted to provoke some reactions ;-)
> Access to source code is about availability of knowledge, as expanded > below.
Yes, and kowledge = RT's asset.
> 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.
In the context of a business world, and where some people need to make a living from their work, I think the value apporach is commonly accepted by us all. The other POV is OK too. Set your self on the CEO chair of RT and than look at it. Would you make Rebol open-source? I won't.
> 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.
You have the right, and choice: Don't use, don't buy it etc. It's up to you. Do you get all the development deocumentation from your car manufacturer if you buy a car? IMO it's much the same situation. For me, there exists a new indicatior: The-Open-Source-Moaning-Indicator. Products, where this indicator is high, really respect a deeper view, because no-one would ask for open-sourcing a bad product.
> 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?
No, I don't think so. If it were a problem, they would change it.
> 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.
That's not quite right. Because the two business models are very different and scale very different: 1. Service business scales by people. RT can't scale it up at all rates. It's not possible if you want to keep a quality and hence your reputation. 2. Box-Selling scales up quite good. You don't need a big staff, you can out-source all production etc. RT can expand the current team by a few people but rais revenue stream by magnitudes. If you have a good product, option 2 is much faster, simpler and with less risk involved than option 1.
> 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.
This doesn't hold, beause they try to set the value of the objective as high as possible. Try to convince a lawyer to handle a $1000 case, that has high efforts. Further you are going to make a descision considering: costs, value to fight, risk etc. and than say: Go or No-Go.
> 1) Faster bug fixes. ...
Can be done with closed-source as well.
> ... which have taken quite a while to resolve due to other priorites and > limits on resources.
What does it mean to have other priorities and limited ressources? It's lag of free-money. So helping RT to make more money from it should lead to the same result.
> 2) Improved documentation. ...
Same, here. No one stops us to write it. Or should this point be "Improved documentation about Rebol internals"? I'm sure Carl is going to tell how internal things if we ask him. It might take some time but overall I think he is pretty open here. And I don't think the lack of this documentation makes Rebol unusable for most of us.
> 3) Faster porting. ...
If someone really required Rebol on an other platform, just call Carl and pay him. He will port it in a bout 4-6 weeks I think.
> The list could go on, but you asked for "a benefit" and I've mentioned > three, so I'll stop. ;-)
You don't have to convince me about benefits of open-sourcing things. Overall, I think a mix is best. Taking the base out of open-source, adding value to this base to create uniqueness, make money from it and give back some money to the community to sponsor it. A win-win is required.
> 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 > also legitimate.
;-) As said, I wanted to provoke a bit. Robert