the real reason open source matters
Because in corporation- govt- and university- financed software, real talent gets stifled. OSS is the only place you have a fighting chance if you are truly talented.
As soon as someone says "oh I work for X large company" I already know that if they are really talented and smart, they aren't going to really shine until they hate where they work and do stuff on their own.
And most of them don't get pissed off enough until they have too many responsibilities. There are exceptions. But they prove the rule.
I love mango fruit. <eating some right now, just thought I'd throw that out there.>
meh, its also crap. open source varies wildly but some of it is innovative*
"analyzed the 500 top open source projects on SourceForge.net, he found that only 5 of the 500 -- one percent -- were examples of radical innovation."
as compared to...what? how many of the top 500 closed source software projects could be called 'radically innovative'?
innovation comes from the corners, radical innovation (whatever that is) even more so.
articles like that prove nothing except the innate stupidity of the author.
* certainly by the definition used by such illuminaries are adobe, microsoft etc
I'm not sure I understood your explanation, but it's similar to one of my thoughts. If you work for The Man, it's a good idea if you can convince him to Open Source all your work. Because then you can leave the company and go to another one, and use all the code you wrote previously. That would never be possible in any sort of scenario other than open source.
But as to if I think it is a great idea to contribute to open source for free when unemployed, fuck no.
July 22nd, 2007 4:11am
right, personally I would prefer to spend my unemployed time working on something I could sell.
thats my personal preference.
but if someone else wants to spend time on OSS, for the reasons sharky mentiones or even just because the project gets their heart racing, or they want the social interraction, or whatever....then why not?
overall I think open source _rocks_. I use hardly any of it...apache, firefox and mysql are about the only ones Im aware of....but I think it is hugely important that open source continues to advance, it is providing a much needed baseline for computer software. it is a wave that is lifting everyone before it. it is good.
Most talented people spend most of their time doing crappy jobs that don't fully utilize their talent. There's nothing, at all, unusual about the software industry in that. It applies to all fields of endeavour.
If you're really talented and don't want to be shackled, you need to work for yourself.
July 22nd, 2007 7:24am
It's really the size of the project and how many people are working on it. I've been working on closed software all weekend and the only reason I'm excited is it's because it's all mine. Made some architectural changes yesterday that in a big-corp environment would have necessitated hours of meetings spread over weeks or months. Coordinating interfaces is what drives the creativity down.
July 22nd, 2007 9:04am
"The reason why businesses are intrigued by the open source model is that they're looking for a new way to generate breakthrough innovations -- and open source is the wrong place to look."
Talk about building your strawman. It's a polled fact that co.'s use FOSS to _save money_.
What is he talking about? SW that will propel nanobots to inspect your heart tubes and clean them out, a telescope better than the hubble? Those things are worth money, why would you find something like that laying around on Sourceforge?
Tinier co.'s with tinier needs, like .coms, can buy shareware, or use services from ISPs that use open-source. They don't need/want the source code, I would imagine, they just need the innovative _business model_.
"But as to if I think it is a great idea to contribute to open source for free when unemployed, fuck no."
LOL! Maybe if you live in India where the cost of living is so low that you can sell cow-patties as fuel. Who has gobs of free-time and energy? Teenagers, I suspect. That said, I'm not opposed to contributing.
I was just thinking what are the chances this guy realizes how expensive a MS web-server would be if Apache did't exist? They could easily have charged a couple grand instead of a couple hundred, if no open-source equivalent had emerged.
And what about all this AJAXy stuff? That is a FOSS invention, if I'm not mistaken. Who cares if it's 1 in a 100 projects - what does that mean?
What were the 5 radically innovative projects?
July 22nd, 2007 2:49pm
Portal for open source developers with dedicated software engineering tools
The Freenet Project
Software surpassing the restrictions of Internet censorship
Security tool for analyzing (or hacking) Windows networks
Portable Linux distribution, running directly from CD-ROM drive without installation
Knowledge base and commonsense reasoning engine
July 22nd, 2007 2:57pm
It seems like the biggest _new_ things to come out of open-source have been bit-torrents, computer languages, and GNOME.
"Security tool for analyzing (or hacking) Windows networks"
Sorry, we can't be countin' that. Anything exclusively for Windows "should be" chargeable, commercial, SW, and makes me think of Windows users just wanting a free-ride from FOSS.
"apache, firefox and mysql are about the only ones Im aware of"
not to mention php (and python, perl, ruby if you use any of those at all ...)
just those 4 languages are already a massive contribution to the software knowledge space.
July 22nd, 2007 3:51pm
good catch. also a bunch of random unixy cli utilities I use on mac os x.
"I was just thinking what are the chances this guy realizes how expensive a MS web-server would be if Apache did't exist?"
That's not (his definition) of innovation. That's competition by cloning an existing product. It's not innovation. As he is a trained economist, I doubt he is ignorant of the effect of a free alternative on prices.
apache - clone of NCSA httpd.
mysql - clone of numerous RDMS systems.
perl - and other scripting languages. This might be true innovation. He calls python technology mod. I guess because programming languages of all stripes -- bash, C, lisp -- have existed for a long time?
firefox - obviously derivative. born of a commerical product.
July 22nd, 2007 4:25pm
right, but by that (perfectly reasonable) definition of innovation, there is almost nothing in the computer industry that is innovative*.
Singling out the OSS projects seems a little pointless.
pretty much everything in the computer industry is just like an earlier thing but with some iterative improvements. thats jsut how software gets developed.
the only exception is probably in areas where algorithms play a huge part....image compression and so forth...where brand new algorithms tend to be based on newer mathematical theories rather than iterative improvements over previous efforts.
and in those cases, its the algorithm that is innovative and not the software per se.
* ok, so thats a good point
To me, the crazy thing about the point he's attempting to make is that the great innovation, IMO, comes from within established projects. So I look at Java, Gnome, Windows, etc.; they keep making improvements over time.
I mean, his point seems to be like saying that Jamestown in the 1600's wasn't a success, but the U.S. doesn't count because it was no longer "new" at that point.
This seems to come back to my theory on evangelism that I mentioned in a post to Bot, once.
You can evangelize by coding a better project and letting people figure out that it's better (and let them spread the word of mouth), or you can sit back and cry for help about what isn't done yet, to your heart's content, and wait for the FOSS firetrucks to come out and do something about it.
Actually, Joel has an article where he says something akin to the best thing you can do is come out with a next version of your product, because then sales will jump.
How can you complain because something free doesn't exist yet, other than in a meta-physical but not marketplace sense?
"firefox - obviously derivative. born of a commerical product."
true. but the open architecture that allows numerous plugins and utils to exist has proved quite successful, and that *is* quite innovative.
July 22nd, 2007 5:07pm
rsync, bittorrent, TeX
July 23rd, 2007 2:14am