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Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes - constructive suggestion!

Glenn Maynard <g_deb@zewt.org> writes:

> On Mon, Mar 10, 2003 at 01:37:54PM -0500, Brian T. Sniffen wrote:
>> >> * There's less incentive to develop new changes: unless you can afford
>> >>   a stable of developers large enough to deploy new features faster
>> >>   than your competitors can copy them, you gain no competitive
>> >>   advantage from innovation.  Software gets developed only to scratch
>> >>   personal itches.
>> >
>> > This sure sounds like a (poor) argument against open source in general.
>> Not at all.  Open-source is great for infrastructure software --
>> Linux, Apache, Emacs.  Many companies have private modifications to
>> Linux or Apache which they use internally; some of these get released,
>> some don't.  Everybody benefits by contributing to the common good.
>> For example, several network infrastructure companies use Linux on
>> their embedded devices, release kernel changes and improvements, and
>> keep their core technology in-house.  It's not that it's under a
>> proprietary license, just that it's not distributed at all.  This
>> model works wonderfully for the free software community and for those
>> companies.
> I'm not disagreeing with this. I'm saying that your argument (top quote) can
> be applied to open source in general, and we all know it to be false in that
> case; so how are web apps so different?

As I said: existing mechanisms of licensing Free Software (e.g. GNU
GPL and MIT/X11) provide an impetus for improvement.  A
compulsory-sharing license, as might bring us closer to BrinWorld,
removes much of the financial incentive for such improvement.  In such
a world, the changes made, used, and later released by IBM, Red Hat,
Akamai, Apple... all wouldn't have been made, and our software
technology would be that much more primitive.


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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