Who Pays For Free Software? - Page 3


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Thread: Who Pays For Free Software?

  1. #31
    Mike Mitchell Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?

    On Sun, 4 Feb 2001 18:45:16 -0500, "Mark Burns" <mark@iolofpa.com>
    wrote:

    >>
    >> I think some of my questions were pushing your buttons when I didn't mean
    >> them to, and I know that some of your responses pushed mine. It's sohhh
    >> f-ing easy to get riled up in newsgroups and so f-ing silly. I apologize
    >> again.

    >
    >WILL YOU TWO KNOCK IT OFF!!
    >I mean, after all, we have a wild-west, hot-lead-flying reputation to
    >maintain 'round here & all...so we can't have everyone settling down &
    >acting like mature, civilized adults & all. No sireee.


    I was kind of thinking the same, but I didn't want to come between
    them, as they were having such a lovely time! Lovely...!

    "You kiss and make up!"

    "No, YOU kiss and make up!!"

    "No, YOU KISS AND MAKE UP!!!!"

    (etc etc)

    MM


  2. #32
    David Kroll Guest

    Re: Who Pays For Free Software?


    zane@mabry.com (Zane Thomas) wrote:
    >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?
    >


    One could envision some company or group of companies that have a financial
    stake in the viability of Linux (Red Hat, IBM, etc) stepping up and producing
    development tools. This would make it easier for them and others to design
    applications that run on Linux, and as we know from Windows vs. OS/2, having
    a wide variety of applications can make or an operating 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.
    >


    It may be better for the company to implement something themselves rather
    than relying on somebody else to do it "eventually". It is certainly conceivable
    that the benefit of doing it yourself would outweigh the cost of waiting
    for somebody else to do it.

    Besides, companies give things away all the time if it will improve their
    strategic position. Sometimes giving something away gives you a competitive
    advantage in other, more profitable areas. Microsoft gives away things all
    the time - applications, API's, SDK's, even source code. They do this in
    order to make the Windows platform more attractive, and sell more copies
    of their operating system.

    >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.
    >


    I agree that there is a gray area between business and academics. I think
    it is unethical for a researcher to take money from a company who will financial
    benefit from the results of the research. To me, that is a serious conflict
    of interests.

    On the other hand, if a researcher wants to take the fruits of their labors
    and turn it into a viable product, I don't have a problem with that.

    First of all, the government gives that money to support research with the
    long term goal of strengthing our economy and society in general. The researcher
    is simply fulfilling that goal.

    Second, if the research somehow can lead to a commercial product, why shouldn't
    the reasearcher be able to benefit from the fruits of their labors. I'd
    rather see him/her making money off of it than some third party company that
    had nothing to do with it.

    Third, there is a definite gap between a research project and a commercial
    product. If the researcher is willing to do the work to bring the research
    to market, then they certainly deserve something for that.

    Fourth, the government gives research grants to private businesses who are
    then allowed to make a profit from their work. Why should a researcher be
    denied an opportunity that is afforded to private business? Just because
    they have a Ph.D after their name doesn't mean they should have to forgo
    making money.

    >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.
    >


    I agree that there is definitely a gray area between academic research and
    corporate research. However, the profit motive is much stronger in the corporate
    world. Corporations have to answer to Wall Street, while universities have
    to answer to football boosters!

    >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 agree that there are those who are caught up in the "ideology" behind Open
    Source. Personally, I like to get compensated for my labors, but that's
    just me. But like I said, people have the right to be stupid.

    My point in responding is that, despite all of the ideological rhetoric behind
    Open Source (and there is plenty!), one can make a case for how Open Source
    and profits don't have to be completely mutually exclusive.


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