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Thread: Who Pays For Free Software?

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  1. #1
    Zane Thomas Guest

    Who Pays For Free Software?


    Something which has puzzled me for a long time is the question of who pays
    for free software. Obviously someone does, otherwise the people who write
    it wouldn't be able to pay for their rent and DSL lines.

    I'd like nothing more than to be able to write whatever I felt like
    writing and give it away for free - somehow magically acquiring a place to
    live in the process. But I have to admit that it sounds a lot like
    communism and so isn't a practical possibility.

    As a small business owner I wonder how I could possibly give away
    software, and still send money to everyone involved at the end of the
    month. But maybe I'm missing the bigger picture. The following quote
    comes from

    http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/anchor...48534-1,00.htm


    <quote>
    When your company decides to use free software as an alternative to
    purchasing proprietary software, you should also plan to contribute some
    amount -- either financially, or through resources -- to the development
    and maintenance of the free software pool.

    It simply makes sense -- good business sense -- to do so. Not as charity,
    or moral obligation, but as a pragmatic business strategy. After all, if
    your company was somehow the fortunate recipient of golden eggs laid by a
    magical goose, wouldn't it make good business sense to keep that valuable
    goose healthy?
    </quote>

    Ok, I think I get it. That model has been well-described by Karl Marx's
    famous slogan "From each according to his ability; to each according to
    his need."

    Are businesses are making a transition to communism, or does this only
    apply to software? If I release all of our components now, for free, full
    source, can I go pick up a new car, a bag of groceries, and quit paying my
    rent? If it's a "pragmatic business strategy" to fulfill my "moral
    obligation" to provide free software then isn't it in GM's interest to let
    me have a car for free too?

    So what's going on in the "free software movement"? Who pays the salaries
    of the people producing "free" software? Obviously someone is paying.
    Excluding the few dedicated souls who work at McDonalds to pay their rent
    and spend long hours at home in selfless devotion to their art, I suspect
    that governments, corporations and universities are paying for the
    majority of the effort that goes into "free" software. And I guess there
    are some people who do so as a hobby. But the majority of people writing
    free software are, no doubt, being paid to program.

    Are those paying the bills doing so willingly? In some cases, for those
    in priveledged research positions, that is probably the case - at least to
    some extent. But I know of people who use their paid time at work and
    school to pursue their own unauthorized projects, which are then "free"
    for other people to use. I wonder how much of the free software is really
    stolen - stolen from people who don't realize they're paying for its
    development.

    In general, corporations - like people - will act in ways which enhance
    their short-term interests. So it seems that corporate 'policy' would -
    if they know what's going on - be to use free software but without
    returning more to the community than their programmers can steal.

    Where's the business sense in all of that? Where's the competition and
    free-enterprise? It seems odd and inconsistent to think that businesses
    would willingly embrace a system so at odds with the philosophy the
    expound when it comes to any other economic activity I can think of?

    And what does this mean to the programmers? My thought on this - at the
    moment - is that it enslaves the programmers involved (except, of course,
    for the burger-flipping artisans). In return for whatever hours they can
    steal - or even legitimately acquire - to work on free software projects
    which amuse them intellectually, they are tied to a corporate/government
    system which in turn exercises considerable control over their lives in
    numerous ways.

    Free software? Bah! I choose free-enterprise and the evolutionary
    strength in competition - unless someone knows where I can get a new car
    for free.








    ---
    Ice Z - Straight Outta Redmond

  2. #2
    Dave Haskell Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?

    Zane,

    <snip>

    Miss the OR?



  3. #3
    Zane Thomas Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?

    "Dave Haskell" <NOhaskellsSPAM@pacbell.net> wrote:

    >Miss the OR?


    Hahah, no but I hope to make a case for being ontopic in that opposition
    to .net comes often from people who are supporting and pushing the "free
    software" alternatives.


    ---
    Ice Z - Straight Outta Redmond

  4. #4
    Roberto Martinez-Brunet Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?

    > Ok, I think I get it. That model has been well-described by Karl Marx's
    > famous slogan "From each according to his ability; to each according to
    > his need."
    >
    > Are businesses are making a transition to communism, or does this only
    > apply to software? If I release all of our components now, for free,

    full
    > source, can I go pick up a new car, a bag of groceries, and quit paying

    my
    > rent? If it's a "pragmatic business strategy" to fulfill my "moral
    > obligation" to provide free software then isn't it in GM's interest to

    let
    > me have a car for free too?


    Marx, or one of his followers, will *convince* you that you don't really
    need that car after all. Or groceries...
    ;-)

    R-o





  5. #5
    Mark Burns Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?


    "Zane Thomas" <zane@mabry.com> wrote in message
    news:3b2f7de0.1373509078@news.devx.com...
    > "Dave Haskell" <NOhaskellsSPAM@pacbell.net> wrote:
    >
    > >Miss the OR?

    >
    > Hahah, no but I hope to make a case for being ontopic in that opposition
    > to .net comes often from people who are supporting and pushing the "free
    > software" alternatives.


    Speaking for myself only as a representative, I think, of that "opposition",
    I have never pushed/supported open/free alternatives...why would I waste
    anybody's time with that drivel? ...and just to clarify, my opposition is
    not to .Net, in general, but specifically for, and limited to, the VB.Net
    "upgrade"/migration story. <...just in case I had not managed to make that
    crystal clear previously.>




  6. #6
    Zane Thomas Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?

    "Mark Burns" <mark@iolofpa.com> wrote:

    >Speaking for myself only as a representative, I think, of that "opposition",
    >I have never pushed/supported open/free alternatives...


    Hey, I didn't mention any names. :-) The link, a couple thread back, to
    the way Borland is trying to exploit the "free software" space as a way to
    attract customers reminded me of something I've been thinking about, hence
    the post. It wasn't directed at anyone in particular - with the possible
    exception of you know who. Don't mind me - just a little red-baiting.


    >my opposition not to .Net, in general, but specifically for, and limited
    >to, the VB.Net "upgrade"/migration story. <...just in case I had not
    >managed to make that crystal clear previously.>


    Yes, I understand that that is the position of many people here. But I
    wonder how much MS can/will do to change that. And I wonder whether this
    will ultimately work out better than changing VB more slowly over a number
    of versions. And I also realize that there are people here who will say
    that there is no reason to change VB now, or ever. Accpeting as a premise
    that .net is a Good Thing I think that at least some changes to VB were
    required.

    If there's a message that MS can get and respond to with action, that
    message has already been sent and the action is already taking place. If
    not, then it's over, VB has change permanently - for better or worse.

    The remaining issue, regardless of that, is what to do now. Is .net a
    good way to move forward? I think so. It seems to be a very productive
    environment which solves a number of technical, marketting, and legal
    problems. Whether the vast majority of current VB users moves forward
    with .net remains to be seen - although I suspect that eventually most
    will.

    Given that it seems that the best thing to do now is to make up ones mind
    and start moving in whatever direction seems best. The endless arguing
    about bools, what MS should have done, what MS could have done, all - by
    now - seem to me to be irrelevant and a waste of time. And, if the
    broader community of VB programmers is influenced in such a way that .net
    fails - if there really is enough clout there - then I have to ask what
    will have been accomplished. I think .net is an important fork in the
    road for MS, and that if .net doesn't succeed then MS will become a
    substaintially different - and less important - company than it has been
    over the past decade or so. Some people - the MS haters - would be happy
    with that. I would not.




    ---
    Ice Z - Straight Outta Redmond

  7. #7
    Mark Burns Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?


    "Zane Thomas" <zane@mabry.com> wrote in message
    news:3b359199.1378558531@news.devx.com...
    >
    > >my opposition not to .Net, in general, but specifically for, and limited
    > >to, the VB.Net "upgrade"/migration story. <...just in case I had not
    > >managed to make that crystal clear previously.>

    >
    > Yes, I understand that that is the position of many people here. But I
    > wonder how much MS can/will do to change that.


    Yep...that one is the question of the hour, no doubt.
    Can? They _can_ do plenty...if they WANT to. <...but how do we make tham
    want to...?>
    Will? Well....that, right there is the real question, I suppose.
    I'd love it if somebody with Beta2 exposure _could_/would say anything as to
    whether those "changes" we've been hearing about address, at all, any of the
    ".NOT"-list issues that have been bandied about...so completely. I'm not
    taking any wagers on that score, however...<g>

    > And I wonder whether this will ultimately work out better than changing

    VB
    > more slowly over a number of versions.


    Hmm...work out better for _who_, precisely?

    > And I also realize that there are people here who will say
    > that there is no reason to change VB now, or ever.


    Oh? who? I have not heard that idea seriously promoted. Language
    Stability<TM Dan Barclay <g>> and petrification are not one and the same
    thing. As you know full well, had they wanted to, there was nothing, save
    effort, stopping them from making this Visual ASIC thing fully able to run,
    almost unmodified, existing VB6 source code - certain core architectural
    things like DF, notably excepted.

    > Accpeting as a premise
    > that .net is a Good Thing I think that at least some changes to VB were
    > required.


    ....Changes <> Ruination. <said while being _real_ careful not to get
    dyslexic on that word...>

    > If there's a message that MS can get and respond to with action, that
    > message has already been sent and the action is already taking place.


    ....I see no evidence of that from this perspective...

    > If not, then it's over, VB has change permanently - for better or worse.


    ....and I'm not yet ready to concede that <while fully acknowledging the
    latness of the hour>. I also don't forget the New/Classic Coke reversal, so
    even post release, all hope may not be lost, if the message from the
    marketplace is equally deafening to MS.

    > The remaining issue, regardless of that, is what to do now. Is .net a
    > good way to move forward? I think so. It seems to be a very productive
    > environment which solves a number of technical, marketting, and legal
    > problems. Whether the vast majority of current VB users moves forward
    > with .net remains to be seen - although I suspect that eventually most
    > will.


    All of that is true, but I guess it is the thought that MS' legal relief
    coming at the expense of our existing codebases is really them asking alot
    for me to want to swallow willingly.

    > Given that it seems that the best thing to do now is to make up ones mind
    > and start moving in whatever direction seems best. The endless arguing
    > about bools, what MS should have done, what MS could have done, all - by
    > now - seem to me to be irrelevant and a waste of time. And, if the
    > broader community of VB programmers is influenced in such a way that .net
    > fails - if there really is enough clout there - then I have to ask what
    > will have been accomplished. I think .net is an important fork in the
    > road for MS, and that if .net doesn't succeed then MS will become a
    > substaintially different - and less important - company than it has been
    > over the past decade or so. Some people - the MS haters - would be happy
    > with that. I would not.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > ---
    > Ice Z - Straight Outta Redmond




  8. #8
    Zane Thomas Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?

    "Mark Burns" <mark@iolofpa.com> wrote:

    >Can? They _can_ do plenty...if they WANT to.


    Sure, and I could continue writing VBX components if I wanted to. But
    there's no future in it. At some point a company has to move on - we may
    disagree on there that point is, and how wide it is.


    >> And I wonder whether this will ultimately work out better than changing
    >> VB more slowly over a number of versions.

    >
    >Hmm...work out better for _who_, precisely?


    For people who are trying to move huge code bases forward - although I
    have serious doubts about how many such people really exist.

    >> And I also realize that there are people here who will say
    >> that there is no reason to change VB now, or ever.

    >
    >Oh? who? I have not heard that idea seriously promoted. Language
    >Stability<TM Dan Barclay <g>> and petrification are not one and the same
    >thing.


    Well then we're just talking a matter of degree, a subjective judgement.
    Dan thinks VB went too far this time, others might think it didn't go far
    enough.


    >As you know full well, had they wanted to, there was nothing, save
    >effort, stopping them from making this Visual ASIC thing fully able to run,
    >almost unmodified, existing VB6 source code ...


    Yes, but even MS has limited resources. I'd rather seeing them put their
    time into more base classes.


    >> If there's a message that MS can get and respond to with action, that
    >> message has already been sent and the action is already taking place.

    >
    >...I see no evidence of that from this perspective...


    I see no evidence of change either - that's probably the end of that issue
    then.

    >... if the message from the
    >marketplace is equally deafening to MS.


    The VB-related messages aren't going to be the only ones. If VBers stay
    away in droves - something I really doubt will happen - then there's
    always c# and a number of other languages. Given the advantages the .net
    platform has I don't think VB is _required_ to make it a success.

    >All of that is true, but I guess it is the thought that MS' legal relief
    >coming at the expense of our existing codebases is really them asking alot
    >for me to want to swallow willingly.


    It's not just the legal issue ... .net solves a whole bunch of problems at
    once. And, avoiding a destructive breakup is _very_ important to MS.


    ---
    Ice Z - Straight Outta Redmond

  9. #9
    Dan Barclay Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?

    On Wed, 31 Jan 2001 18:34:02 -0500, "Mark Burns" <mark@iolofpa.com>
    wrote:

    >
    >"Zane Thomas" <zane@mabry.com> wrote in message
    >news:3b359199.1378558531@news.devx.com...


    >Oh? who? I have not heard that idea seriously promoted. Language
    >Stability<TM Dan Barclay <g>> and petrification are not one and the same
    >thing. As you know full well, had they wanted to, there was nothing, save
    >effort, stopping them from making this Visual ASIC thing fully able to run,
    >almost unmodified, existing VB6 source code - certain core architectural
    >things like DF, notably excepted.


    Bingo. Of course, Zane knows this already.

    >> Accpeting as a premise
    >> that .net is a Good Thing I think that at least some changes to VB were
    >> required.

    >
    >...Changes <> Ruination. <said while being _real_ careful not to get
    >dyslexic on that word...>


    LOL

    >> If there's a message that MS can get and respond to with action, that
    >> message has already been sent and the action is already taking place.

    >
    >...I see no evidence of that from this perspective...
    >
    >> If not, then it's over, VB has change permanently - for better or worse.

    >
    >...and I'm not yet ready to concede that <while fully acknowledging the
    >latness of the hour>. I also don't forget the New/Classic Coke reversal, so
    >even post release, all hope may not be lost, if the message from the
    >marketplace is equally deafening to MS.


    Most of the marketplace doesn't even understand what's happened yet.
    Give it a few months and see if a few more folks don't wake up.

    >
    >> The remaining issue, regardless of that, is what to do now. Is .net a
    >> good way to move forward? I think so. It seems to be a very productive
    >> environment which solves a number of technical, marketting, and legal
    >> problems. Whether the vast majority of current VB users moves forward
    >> with .net remains to be seen - although I suspect that eventually most
    >> will.

    >
    >All of that is true, but I guess it is the thought that MS' legal relief
    >coming at the expense of our existing codebases is really them asking alot
    >for me to want to swallow willingly.


    The smart move for MS would have been to make an *easy* way for us to
    experiment with our apps in .net while not going nuts trying to keep
    up with our Windows versions. So far they haven't taken advantage of
    that opportunity. Doesn't look much like they will. Secondly, they
    are hard at work solidifying a view among many of us that they don't
    value our code assets.

    Continued discussion of these issues *may* wake them up, or possibly
    uncover some viable option that hasn't been considered yet. (VB5/6 IL
    converter to .netIL converter? Patch under the existing compiler?
    Some compiler whiz wakes up and sez "oh, yea, I can make those changes
    by Monday")

    FWIW, it's not just our problem. It's a real, certified, missed
    opportunity for MS.

    Dan
    Language Stability is a *feature* I wish VB had!
    (#6)

  10. #10
    Mark Burns Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?


    "Zane Thomas" <zane@mabry.com> wrote in message
    news:3b36a4a4.1383433671@news.devx.com...
    > "Mark Burns" <mark@iolofpa.com> wrote:
    >
    > >Can? They _can_ do plenty...if they WANT to.

    >
    > Sure, and I could continue writing VBX components if I wanted to. But
    > there's no future in it. At some point a company has to move on - we may
    > disagree on there that point is, and how wide it is.


    Well... I guess there's no surprise there now, is there?
    Ok, Zane. Let us put this question to a bit more definitive exam, then.
    YOU are Bill Gates. Your customers include tons of different people from
    mega-multi-national corporations with fat walets, to leetle teensy folks
    like us. Now, the Big multi-nationals _do_ make up a hefty part of your
    revenue stream, but where is the real, actual leading edge folks - the ones
    who help determine, for the most part, which direction the market is most
    likely to head off in next? Is it those big guys (who tend to be somewhat
    more conservative and less "bleeding-edge" overall <sweeping
    overgeneralization alert!>) or is it the littler guys <ignoring, for the
    moment that vast middle ground>? Historically, the Dev Tools group's market
    has been more-or-less the leading indicator of where the remaining market
    will go - future technologies-wise, and you've done great, your dev tools
    dominate the (healthy) competition, but you see storm clouds on that
    horizon.
    So, you're deciding what direction to go/lead in the future. Who do you talk
    to...and why? what do you ask them?...and when you do, what do they tell
    you - especially concerning future whiz-bang stuff -vs- continuity and
    protection of their existing investments and systems?
    Which, to them, is more important...and breaking that answer down by
    customer size, who is more concerned about it, the bigger guys, or the
    smaller ones?

    > >> And I wonder whether this will ultimately work out better than

    changing
    > >> VB more slowly over a number of versions.

    > >
    > >Hmm...work out better for _who_, precisely?

    >
    > For people who are trying to move huge code bases forward - although I
    > have serious doubts about how many such people really exist.


    Lucky you're not one of them with a VB/COM-designed mission-critical system,
    eh? Be very careful here of your omissions-via-perspective. Just because you
    can't see/hear the rest of the iceberg beneath the surface does not mean it
    isn't there.

    > >> And I also realize that there are people here who will say
    > >> that there is no reason to change VB now, or ever.

    > >
    > >Oh? who? I have not heard that idea seriously promoted. Language
    > >Stability<TM Dan Barclay <g>> and petrification are not one and the same
    > >thing.

    >
    > Well then we're just talking a matter of degree, a subjective judgement.
    > Dan thinks VB went too far this time, others might think it didn't go far
    > enough.


    Well, they could well have gone further had they not attempted to foist off
    this new Fredenstein monster is our "Next Generation" VB...Had they admitted
    that VB was dead - as they shipped the next, incremental update (VB6.5 for
    Ex.) and that this new Visual ASIC thingie in the .Net platform was THE
    FUTURE DIRECTION..., well, then, they could have "cleaned it up" even more,
    and we'd all have had several years to make a decision about what to do, and
    not be _really uncomfortable_ about what to do with those relatively new
    projects we're just now laying the keels for.

    > >As you know full well, had they wanted to, there was nothing, save
    > >effort, stopping them from making this Visual ASIC thing fully able to

    run,
    > >almost unmodified, existing VB6 source code ...

    >
    > Yes, but even MS has limited resources. I'd rather seeing them put their
    > time into more base classes.


    Heh... of course you would. I would rather see some continuity in existing
    investments paid more attention to. I'd also rather see a DF solution - even
    a kludgy one (I did try to outline one).

    > >> If there's a message that MS can get and respond to with action, that
    > >> message has already been sent and the action is already taking place.

    > >
    > >...I see no evidence of that from this perspective...

    >
    > I see no evidence of change either - that's probably the end of that issue
    > then.


    <snarl...(not at you, Zane)>

    > >... if the message from the
    > >marketplace is equally deafening to MS.

    >
    > The VB-related messages aren't going to be the only ones. If VBers stay
    > away in droves - something I really doubt will happen - then there's
    > always c# and a number of other languages. Given the advantages the .net
    > platform has I don't think VB is _required_ to make it a success.


    ....but if the VB6 upgrade story were alot better, it'd sure help .Net
    adoption be alot _faster_ and bigger, wouldn't it? <no brainer>

    > >All of that is true, but I guess it is the thought that MS' legal relief
    > >coming at the expense of our existing codebases is really them asking

    alot
    > >for me to want to swallow willingly.

    >
    > It's not just the legal issue ... .net solves a whole bunch of problems at
    > once. And, avoiding a destructive breakup is _very_ important to MS.


    Yeah, but, well...echo my previous "legal fix at our expense" resentment
    here.

    > ---
    > Ice Z - Straight Outta Redmond




  11. #11
    Karl E. Peterson Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?

    Hi Zane --

    > >Speaking for myself only as a representative, I think, of that "opposition",
    > >I have never pushed/supported open/free alternatives...

    >
    > Hey, I didn't mention any names. :-) The link, a couple thread back, to
    > the way Borland is trying to exploit the "free software" space as a way to
    > attract customers reminded me of something I've been thinking about, hence
    > the post. It wasn't directed at anyone in particular - with the possible
    > exception of you know who. Don't mind me - just a little red-baiting.


    LOL! Yeah, I couldn't think of anyone else, either. ;-)

    Later... Karl
    --
    http://www.mvps.org/vb



  12. #12
    David Kroll Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?


    I don't know what this has to do with VB.NET, but I'll play "devil's advocate"
    with you.

    zane@mabry.com (Zane Thomas) wrote:
    <The following quote
    >comes from
    >
    >http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/anchor...48534-1,00.htm
    >
    >
    ><quote>
    >When your company decides to use free software as an alternative to
    >purchasing proprietary software, you should also plan to contribute some
    >amount -- either financially, or through resources -- to the development
    >and maintenance of the free software pool.
    >
    >It simply makes sense -- good business sense -- to do so. Not as charity,
    >or moral obligation, but as a pragmatic business strategy. After all, if
    >your company was somehow the fortunate recipient of golden eggs laid by

    a
    >magical goose, wouldn't it make good business sense to keep that valuable
    >goose healthy?
    ></quote>
    >


    I don't think the author is advocating communism or socialism or anything
    like that. I interpret the statement as saying that, from a pure cost/benefit
    standpoint, it may benefit the company to support open source software.

    Here are a couple of examples:

    At the company that I'm working for, we make use of a few open source software
    tools and libraries. From time to time, we discover a bug in the software
    that affects our use of it. Because we have access to the source code, we
    can usually diagnose and fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time.
    As a general rule, any bugs that we fix we "submit" towards the next version
    of the software. We do this not to be nice, but so that our changes can
    be integrated and incorporated with the next version. When we get the next
    version of the software, our fix is already there so we don't have to retrofit
    it every time there is a new release. Of course, this has the nice side
    effect of benefitting the community-at-large, but this isn't our primary
    concern. Our main concern is that we have a software tool that meets our
    needs.

    In addition to bug fixes, ocassionaly there are minor enhancements that we
    add to the software in order meet our individual needs. Again, we submit
    these changes to the community-at-large so that they can be integrated into
    future versions and we don't have to continously add them to each new version
    ourselves.

    You can see that we are acting totally in our self-interest, and yet we are
    advancing the state of open source software.

    Other companies sell products and services that rely on open source software.
    Because of this reliance, it may be in their best financial interest to
    devote resources toward developing open source software. They could use
    those resources to add features which benefit their specific product. For
    instance, if their product was a web server than ran under Linux, they might
    want to make fixes and enhancements that would make the platform more stable,
    ir maybe add some socket API's to make their development easier. If they
    made their money selling consulting services, they might become involved
    to enhance their credibility as a consultant. All of these things have a
    tangible financial benefit to the company. None of them rely on altruism
    or socialist motives.


    >So what's going on in the "free software movement"? Who pays the salaries
    >of the people producing "free" software? Obviously someone is paying.


    In addition to companies which contribute for their own personal gain (see
    above), I would guess that a lot of the contributors come from academia.
    An open source operating system like Linux makes a great, hands-on lab for
    a professor and a bunch of grad students. Plus, academics has a different
    mentality than the corporate world. Corporations are concerned with trade
    secrets, patents, and copyrights, whereas the academic mentality centers
    around the free flow of information for the good of science and progress.
    Techniques and algorithms that would be considered prizes possessions by
    CEO's are often published in scientific and technical journals without a
    second thought. I'm not trying to make a value judgment here (in truth,
    I like the idea of reaping the tangible benefits of my mental labors, but
    that's just me). I'm just contrasting how differently the two worlds operate.
    The open source idea kind of fits into that academic line of reasoning.

    As far as corporate workers "stealing time" from their employers goes, I
    can't comment on that. Personally, I haven't seen or heard of that going
    on, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. If it does happen, I agree
    with you that it's wrong and the companies should take action.

    On the other hand, if somebody wanted to dedicate their own time to further
    the "cause" of open source, that's their choice. It's not my choice, but
    this is a free country after all. If people want to work for nothing, that's
    their business.

    >And what does this mean to the programmers? My thought on this - at the
    >moment - is that it enslaves the programmers involved (except, of course,
    >for the burger-flipping artisans). In return for whatever hours they can
    >steal - or even legitimately acquire - to work on free software projects
    >which amuse them intellectually, they are tied to a corporate/government
    >system which in turn exercises considerable control over their lives in
    >numerous ways.
    >


    Well enslaving isn't the term I would use. If somebody makes the conscious
    choice to perform a valuable service without renumeration, that's their right.
    I've always said that in the U.S.A. one of our most precious rights is the
    right to be stupid.



  13. #13
    Zane Thomas Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?

    "Mark Burns" <mark@iolofpa.com> wrote:

    >YOU are Bill Gates.


    Woohoo!!! Can I have a new car now?

    >... where [are] the real, actual leading edge folks? ...


    >Is it those big guys ( ... conservative ... ) or is it
    >the littler guys ...?


    I didn't miss that you pointed out your sweeping generalization, but I'm
    not sure I can ignore it. Based on a very few emails from large corporate
    types, and what I see here from 'the littler guys', it appears that things
    aren't so clear. There are some non-conservative corporate types, and
    some very conservative others. Corporations themselves will, my turn to
    generalize, put a damper on the direction their sometimes less
    conservative employees push ... but if the tide swings in the direction of
    ..net many large corporations will go with it. Took badly jumble a
    metaphor or two.

    >So, you're deciding what direction to go/lead in the future. Who do you talk
    >to...and why? what do you ask them?


    But we don't know what research, if any, MS did on this topic. From what
    I've seen in the past they probably gave a lot of thought to the topic ...
    but they arrived at a different conclusion than you and others have. I
    really really wish we had access to the 'facts' and reasoning which led to
    vb.net as we know it, but we don't so there's nothing to argue with there.

    >> For people who are trying to move huge code bases forward - although I
    >> have serious doubts about how many such people really exist.

    >
    >Lucky you're not one of them with a VB/COM-designed mission-critical system,
    >eh?


    Again we come back to the seemingly urgent implict need to port. Why
    should such a system be ported in a hurry, or even in one chunk? Interop
    would allow moving a bit at a time to acquire new functionality, if
    required.


    >Be very careful here of your omissions-via-perspective.


    I think that's good advice for everyone invovled. I've thought about what
    my perspective is, written about it, and tried to get others to do the
    same. I know that I don't understand everyone's perspective entirely
    well. And I'm not sure that all the people here even understand their own
    perspective very well.

    >Well, they could well have gone further had they not attempted to foist off
    >this new Fredenstein monster is our "Next Generation" VB...Had they admitted
    >that VB was dead - as they shipped the next, incremental update (VB6.5 for
    >Ex.)


    I've asked before, and don't recall having gotten a satisfactory answer,
    maybe you can tell me what it is in VB6 that so demands a VB6.5?


    >... we'd all have had several years to make a decision about what to do


    I think you do have at least a couple of years to decide. This is the
    first time I've seen an MS language in wide-distribution so long before
    release.

    >and
    >not be _really uncomfortable_ about what to do with those relatively new
    >projects we're just now laying the keels for.


    If you _must_ write VB6 code now at least you know where the icebergs are
    ahead.

    >I'd also rather see a DF solution ...


    I don't see that the DF problems are so significant that they demand a
    solution, and especially not a kludgy one.

    >...but if the VB6 upgrade story were alot better, it'd sure help .Net
    >adoption be alot _faster_ and bigger, wouldn't it? <no brainer>


    I can't argue with a no brainer. :-) Yeah, it would be nice if there was
    some way to directly translate vb pcode to IL. But due to the huge change
    from COM to the .net object model I don't think it could be done. (Java's
    a different story, obviously)

    There are some changes I'd like to see in the VB6 converter program.
    First, I'd get rid of the VB6 compatability class thing. The first time I
    had a question about how to code something in vb.net I wrote a vb6 program
    and converted it. No help at all! Just writing the equivalent code, even
    as functions in the generated code, would have been a much better learning
    tool. Second, and I'm sure they're working on this, I'd have fewer TODOs
    in the generated code.


    ---
    Ice Z - Straight Outta Redmond

  14. #14
    Zane Thomas Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?

    "David Kroll" <dgkroll@hotmail.comNOSPAM> wrote:

    >I don't know what this has to do with VB.NET, but I'll play "devil's advocate"
    >with you.


    Great someone had to do it, and you did a good job of it.

    >I don't think the author is advocating communism or socialism or anything
    >like that. I interpret the statement as saying that, from a pure cost/benefit
    >standpoint, it may benefit the company to support open source software.


    I think that overlooks what appears to me to be an obvious fact, it's
    always better for a corporation to let someone else maintain the source.

    You do make a good point about bug-fixes and minor enhancements. But how
    does soemthing like vs.net get created in such a system?

    >Other companies sell products and services that rely on open source software.
    > Because of this reliance, it may be in their best financial interest to
    >devote resources toward developing open source software. They could use
    >those resources to add features which benefit their specific product.


    However if a corporation is in a position where it's competing with other
    corporations which would similarly benefit from added features, then it
    seems that it would be in their interest to _not_ release those new
    features for public use.

    >In addition to companies which contribute for their own personal gain (see
    >above), I would guess that a lot of the contributors come from academia.


    There's no doubt about that. I've have many times grabbed ideas and
    algorithms which were the result of academic research - however I've never
    gotten a commercial quality product. Hmm, there are significant grey
    areas when it comes to academia and their sometimes incestuous
    relationships with business, either indirectly or directly through
    companies started by - or in participation with - academics. Personally I
    think that if someone wants to lead an academic life - which certainly has
    its attractions - that it is unethecial to then take what was funded by
    the public and turn it to private profit.

    >Corporations are concerned with trade
    >secrets, patents, and copyrights, whereas the academic mentality centers
    >around the free flow of information for the good of science and progress.


    In an ideal world - but how many commercial software ventures have been
    spun out of academia? Many.

    > Techniques and algorithms that would be considered prizes possessions by
    >CEO's are often published in scientific and technical journals without a
    >second thought.


    And many corporations also publish the results of research they have
    invested substantial amounts of money in.

    >>And what does this mean to the programmers? My thought on this - at the
    >>moment - is that it enslaves the programmers involved (except, of course,
    >>for the burger-flipping artisans). In return for whatever hours they can
    >>steal - or even legitimately acquire - to work on free software projects
    >>which amuse them intellectually, they are tied to a corporate/government
    >>system which in turn exercises considerable control over their lives in
    >>numerous ways.
    >>

    >
    >Well enslaving isn't the term I would use. If somebody makes the conscious
    >choice to perform a valuable service without renumeration, that's their right.


    Or to provide a valueless service with runumeration. But that wasn't my
    point. What I was trying to get at is that idea that there are likely
    many very good and creative programmers out there who don't follow their
    dreams, instead devoting themselves to corporate goals - grabbing only
    those bits of freedom they can from the 'free software' idea. If they
    truely have better ideas - as many of them do - then the way to bring them
    to fruition is by entering the competition themselves instead of remaining
    in their comfortable corporate (or academic) cribs.

    > I've always said that in the U.S.A. one of our most precious rights is the
    >right to be stupid.


    Heh, I'll defend your right to do that.


    ---
    Ice Z - Straight Outta Redmond

  15. #15
    Mark Burns Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?


    "Zane Thomas" <zane@mabry.com> wrote in message
    news:3b39c49a.1391615312@news.devx.com...
    > "Mark Burns" <mark@iolofpa.com> wrote:
    >
    > >YOU are Bill Gates.

    >
    > Woohoo!!! Can I have a new car now?


    Sure! As Bill Gates, you can afford it, I assume...<g>

    > >... where [are] the real, actual leading edge folks? ...

    >
    > >Is it those big guys ( ... conservative ... ) or is it
    > >the littler guys ...?

    >
    > I didn't miss that you pointed out your sweeping generalization, but I'm
    > not sure I can ignore it. Based on a very few emails from large corporate
    > types, and what I see here from 'the littler guys', it appears that things
    > aren't so clear. There are some non-conservative corporate types, and
    > some very conservative others. Corporations themselves will, my turn to
    > generalize, put a damper on the direction their sometimes less
    > conservative employees push ... but if the tide swings in the direction of
    > .net many large corporations will go with it. Took badly jumble a
    > metaphor or two.


    Yeah...as I posted it (under the time pressure of my wife's fourth call to
    dinner...backed up against having somewhere to go afterwards) I realized
    that I wasn't happy with what/how I wrote it, and reading your response I
    realize the size mataphor was unnecessary, poorly done, and/or wrong on my
    part. You hit upon the one key part of what I was digging at though with
    your counter-overgeneralization<g> about the
    corporate-mentality/-organizational damper-effect on those within the
    comporations who attempt to drive new/innovative technology adoption. ...And
    that is the point I was really trying to get at with my size angle, and that
    this is less likely (nature of the beast-wise) to occur in smaller
    organizations. The overgeneralized <again> result is that the larger the
    organization, the slower they tend to be in adopting new
    technologies/methodologies, and vice-versa.
    The real outcome of that - whether ther above overgeneralization holds true
    or not<g> - is that there are two groups of technology adopters -
    fast-adopters, and slow(er) adopters <including those ranging all the way
    down to non-adopters>.
    Narrowing the fast-adopters' behavior down to the VB6->VB.Net question at
    hand, we can guess/generalize a few things: More of the ~40% who DO use
    classes/Objects/COM/DCOM/COM+/etc.,. advanced designs with VB6 will be found
    here than in those slow<er> technology-adopting companies. <should be a
    no-brainer here, agreed?>
    Consequently, it is these fast-adopters who will now have more, larger
    VB5-6/COM generation codebase investments than the slower-adopters <YMMV, of
    course>. It is these leading/bleeding-edge innovator organizations, then who
    are <more likely to be> the ones who do/don't make the jump to that
    next-generation technology, and in this case, they are also the ones with
    the most to lose by this poor upgrade story.
    So, what happens when these guys are ...slower on the uptake of .Net because
    of their current investments in the previous-generation VB/COM technology? I
    think the ripple effects of that would be to discourage the slower adopters
    even more because those slower-adopter folks often are the ones who wait and
    read the magazines articles written by those "bleeding edge" fast-adopters
    and see what the "bleeding-edgers" have already done and proven to work/not
    work - months, at least, after the "bleeding-edgers" have done what they've
    done. The overall effect, then on .Net adoption could be alot more dramatic
    in terms of slowing the adoption of the platform than the numbers might
    otherwise indicate. I'm talking here more of the psychology of the
    marketplace, and how these newer technologies enter it.

    > >So, you're deciding what direction to go/lead in the future. Who do you

    talk
    > >to...and why? what do you ask them?

    >
    > But we don't know what research, if any, MS did on this topic. From what
    > I've seen in the past they probably gave a lot of thought to the topic ...
    > but they arrived at a different conclusion than you and others have. I
    > really really wish we had access to the 'facts' and reasoning which led to
    > vb.net as we know it, but we don't so there's nothing to argue with there.


    <sigh> yeah...ain't ignorance bliss?<g>

    > >> For people who are trying to move huge code bases forward - although I
    > >> have serious doubts about how many such people really exist.

    > >
    > >Lucky you're not one of them with a VB/COM-designed mission-critical

    system,
    > >eh?

    >
    > Again we come back to the seemingly urgent implict need to port. Why
    > should such a system be ported in a hurry, or even in one chunk? Interop
    > would allow moving a bit at a time to acquire new functionality, if
    > required.


    Let's just say that I have learned - the hard way - never to take those
    promises of interop/compatibility to be worth more than the dollar bills
    they were<n't> printed on. To say the least, I'm suspicious. To be more
    precise, I'm **** cynical about that working ITRW as well as advertised, and
    I'm supposed to be satisfied with that as my "compatibility bridge" between
    VB/COM and .Net? Somebody has a whole lot to prove to me about how well that
    works ITRW before I will buy into that as a viable, _reliable_ path forward,
    and proving that to my satisfaction just can't happen with a beta product
    IMO <...and I'm an extreme optomist, otherwise!<g>>

    > >Be very careful here of your omissions-via-perspective.

    >
    > I think that's good advice for everyone invovled. I've thought about what
    > my perspective is, written about it, and tried to get others to do the
    > same. I know that I don't understand everyone's perspective entirely
    > well. And I'm not sure that all the people here even understand their own
    > perspective very well.


    Well...I am trying...but so far at least, I found something we both agree
    on!<g>

    > >Well, they could well have gone further had they not attempted to foist

    off
    > >this new Fredenstein monster is our "Next Generation" VB...Had they

    admitted
    > >that VB was dead - as they shipped the next, incremental update (VB6.5

    for
    > >Ex.)

    >
    > I've asked before, and don't recall having gotten a satisfactory answer,
    > maybe you can tell me what it is in VB6 that so demands a VB6.5?


    In COM we had an inviolable interface contract as the premise the system was
    founded on, right? Well, in VB we had a presumption of the premise that what
    we did now was not going to be totally trashed by what MS did tomorrow, and
    if we did not have that assumption, then we'd have been utter asses for ever
    investing our time and energy into developing any code whatsoever in that
    environment/with that toolset. That presumption pretty much paid off for us
    all from VB1 thru VB6 <certain obvious exceptions aside>. Now, however, they
    have hung us out to dry with that very presumption, and if it stays this
    way, guess what, we _were_ asses for putting our proverbial eggs in this
    basket.
    How do you think those "bleeding-edgers" <from above> will react to the
    sudden feeling wearing of egg on their faces? gladly? I hardly think so.
    This, as I've said earlier, will give them reason to pause, and ask
    themselves "is this the way we want go go from here on? Can we trust MS not
    to do this to us again?" The very fact that MS's actions in this regard
    would give _anybody_ <in their current customer base> pause enough to ask
    those questions, to any degree, is _not_ a good indiciator that they <MS>
    have made the right decisions here.

    That, alone, in terms of their customers' goodwill and continued faith in
    them <anotherwords, to remove those questions from customers' minds _at
    all_> is reason to do the VB6.5 version along the lines I indicated in
    earlier threads.

    > >... we'd all have had several years to make a decision about what to do

    >
    > I think you do have at least a couple of years to decide. This is the
    > first time I've seen an MS language in wide-distribution so long before
    > release.


    How long are the lives of the mission-critical VB6/COM business systems that
    the "bleeding-edgers" have created with the current-generation tools? I bet
    they sure hoped that the answer was "longer than 2 years." ...and they're
    gonna be pissed if that's all it turns out to be.
    ....and will YOU <you're Bill Gates here, remember?> ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE -
    in $$ - that those future 64-bit platforms that will rule the server side in
    the not-too-distant future, won't have _any_ problems or issues running the
    VB5-6 COM/DCOM/COM+ components that our existing mission-critical apps
    currently depend on? That's the kind of guarantee of future stability that
    those "bleeding-edgers" who wrote those kinds of enterprise systems are
    going to be looking for, and if they can't get it <and they won't, will they
    Bill?> they're going to have to act to develop means of taking proper
    advantage of the new 64-bit server-side technology <due to competitive
    pressures & all> which means they're soon porting/re-codeing *ASAP* those
    same mission-critical systems <pesumably in .Net>.

    > >and
    > >not be _really uncomfortable_ about what to do with those relatively new
    > >projects we're just now laying the keels for.

    >
    > If you _must_ write VB6 code now at least you know where the icebergs are
    > ahead.
    >
    > >I'd also rather see a DF solution ...

    >
    > I don't see that the DF problems are so significant that they demand a
    > solution, and especially not a kludgy one.


    Well, if there's a 6.5 scenario and we have 5+ years to move those
    mission-critical systems to .Net, then I suppose I can agree with you
    <providing there's not a reall nasty problem lurking down there in COM
    interop-ville, as my...programmers' intuition<?>...tells me there is (please
    don't ask me to explain that, I can't)>.

    If OTOH, we don't get a 6.5, and all those VB5-6/COM programmers who
    don't/won't get sufficient training beyond spotty reading of the help
    files/MSDN are pushed too soon into the .Net platform unawares...that
    oft-mentioned 85% project failure rate will climb sharply higher. ...what do
    you think that would do for .Net's reputation and adoption rate <let alone
    of VB.Net>?

    > >...but if the VB6 upgrade story were alot better, it'd sure help .Net
    > >adoption be alot _faster_ and bigger, wouldn't it? <no brainer>

    >
    > I can't argue with a no brainer. :-) Yeah, it would be nice if there was
    > some way to directly translate vb pcode to IL. But due to the huge change
    > from COM to the .net object model I don't think it could be done. (Java's
    > a different story, obviously)
    >
    > There are some changes I'd like to see in the VB6 converter program.
    > First, I'd get rid of the VB6 compatability class thing. The first time I
    > had a question about how to code something in vb.net I wrote a vb6 program
    > and converted it. No help at all! Just writing the equivalent code, even
    > as functions in the generated code, would have been a much better learning
    > tool. Second, and I'm sure they're working on this, I'd have fewer TODOs
    > in the generated code.


    ....and what TODOs there are left at the end had BETTER have links embedded
    in the TODO text pointing directly to relevant examples in the help docs on
    handling that particular nasty critter, or to directly launch wizards to
    help generate the code to do what is needed.




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