have listened with strain technocrats, righteous anger not gentle whispers Seriously, I'd like to find some good reading material about the economy of the software industry, whether it be online or on hard copy. I'm not afraid of forays into heavy economic theory. I ask here only because I respect (naively?) the opinions of the people in this forum. I'm mostly interested in Open Source Software concepts, which obviously will make it hard to find what I'm looking for, namely, a relatively unbiased look at them. Any recommendations from the Ruby community would be much appreciated. Thanks, Todd
on 2007-07-25 15:01
on 2007-07-25 16:01
Google for "The cathedral and the bazar".
on 2007-07-25 16:13
On 7/25/07, Aureliano Calvo <email@example.com> wrote: > Google for "The cathedral and the bazar". Yes! Resources along this vein are what I am looking for. Thanks, Todd
on 2007-07-25 16:59
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 Todd Benson wrote: > I'm mostly interested in Open Source Software concepts, which > obviously will make it hard to find what I'm looking for, namely, a > relatively unbiased look at them. If you want unbiased information you at least need three independent sources. One obviously isn't sufficient because then it is almost impossible to find out to which degree or even *if* it is biased. With two you can find out if at least one source is biased. But you still have no means to tell which one or - which is more likely - that both are biased. Only from three independent sources onwards you have a chance of extracting unbiased information from the biased ones. But you should be aware that on the one hand it is crucial that the sources are indeed independent (often not the case) and that on the other hand "unbiased" is a misleading term because the information that you extract is again biased due to your own point of view. To give a prominent example: The expected raise in temperature due to global warming does not increase the surface temperature of the earth beyond the highest temperatures since life begun to spread outside oceans while it *is* expected to go beyond the highest temperatures ever seen by mankind. If you call the temperature that will be reached "unprecedented" the bias is that you disregard anything that predates the existence of mankind. If you on the other hand say that such temperatures are nothing new the bias is that you do not see mankind as something special (about which most people would disagree even if their faith does not explicitly state that mankind is something special). I actually have no idea if an unbiased view on this matter is even feasible. Leaving that issue aside the question is what kind of economy you have in mind. You could narrow the subject to the software market alone. You could include the impacts of the software on other markets. The iPhone sales numbers were much different if it were not running an operating system by Apple but one developed by Hewlett-Packard or Lenovo. Finally you could go as far as viewing the influence of the software on global markets of any kind. Software can (and actually does) enable producers to directly sell their products to the end customer thereby bypassing traditional ways of trade. The effect of this is manifold. Josef 'Jupp' Schugt - -- Blog available at http://www.mynetcologne.de/~nc-schugtjo/blog/ PGP key with id 6CC6574F available at http://wwwkeys.de.pgp.net/ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (GNU/Linux) Comment: Using GnuPG with Fedora - http://enigmail.mozdev.org iD8DBQFGp2UWrhv7B2zGV08RAorjAKC3pFcInVkPxN0mFmBFtcibhGRxDgCgsj7A ZyBWpHkGdFgtePKooAH8KJU= =TqKK -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
on 2007-07-25 18:55
On 7/25/07, Josef 'Jupp' Schugt <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > impossible to find out to which degree or even *if* it is biased. With > two you can find out if at least one source is biased. But you still > have no means to tell which one or - which is more likely - that both > are biased. Only from three independent sources onwards you have a > chance of extracting unbiased information from the biased ones. But you > should be aware that on the one hand it is crucial that the sources are > indeed independent (often not the case) and that on the other hand > "unbiased" is a misleading term because the information that you extract > is again biased due to your own point of view. Basically, you're saying go out and read everything and make up my own mind on the matter, which I do plan to do; get down on the mat and wrestle with some concepts that I've not bothered with before. All in good time. I was just looking for a jump start that was "relatively" unbiased. I was looking for aloof observation. You are right, of course. I will have to wade through the extremes of all viewpoints eventually. > actually have no idea if an unbiased view on this matter is even feasible. I love this example, but I never throw it at doomsday theorists because it is another one of those topics -- just like this one -- that I want to intelligently discuss with other people, but just haven't had the time to research it myself yet. No doubt I would be entering a mob armed with hatchets and sickles with only my bare fists. > Josef 'Jupp' Schugt Yes, I'm aware of all this. These are the dillemas that I wish to delve into. Todd
on 2007-07-25 22:51
On Thu, Jul 26, 2007 at 01:54:34AM +0900, Todd Benson wrote: > >indeed independent (often not the case) and that on the other hand > all viewpoints eventually. Unfortunately, I think bias is stronger in general in this area than in many others. It is only fairly recently that a perspective that considers the possibility that copyright law is not intrinsic to the concepts of proprietary rights has become publicly acceptable to any degree again (it was once more normal to regard copyright as separable from property rights, but things changed in the 20th century). For a look at what copyright and patent law went through as ideas before being provided for in the US Constitution, and the considerations that followed, it's instructive to read the writings of Thomas Jefferson in personal letters on the subject (searches for likely terms with "Thomas Jefferson" in the search terms, on Google, should help there). It's also worthwhile to read writings of supporters of the Free Culture movement, perhaps starting with the 1,000 foot view in the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Culture_movement Obviously, the Free Culture movement is about as biased as it gets, and there are some questionable premises in some of these writings. A source of writings with less questionable premises, and less radical viewpoint, but probably no less biased perspective is the Right to Create weblog, a very well-written treatment of the idea that current patent law is way outside the realm of reasonability: http://righttocreate.blogspot.com/ The Free Software Foundation offers the writings of Richard Stallman and others, which often carry a tone of reasonability but assume premises that are at times self-contradictory and rather extreme. The writings of Theo de Raadt, the man who started the OpenBSD project (OpenBSD's Linus Torvalds, basically), has very strong views on the subject that are worth reading to help understand the landscape. His is a primarily practical (very engineer-like, rather than philosophical like Richard Stallman's) approach to open source software. Linus Torvald's commentaries on the subject are, like de Raadt's, very practical, but unlike de Raadt he takes a position that proprietary and open source software are equivalently effective and useful, that there's nothing wrong with proprietary software per se, and one must choose licensing based on need. The self-contradictory issue with de Raadt's approach is in the simple fact that he maintains strong copyright control over the format of the OpenBSD installer CD, and Torvalds' relates to the fact that his arguments against the GPLv3 should, taken to their logical conclusion, prompt him to use something more like the BSD license rather than the GPLv2 that he favors. Just my personal observations, devoid in this context of value judgment. There are a couple of small projects just barely getting off the ground that favor an open source approach, but are specifically opposed to certain other open source approaches out there, that come to mind. They're advocacy efforts that are still in early planning stages, and not widely known yet, but what little information they provide at this time might be of interest for purposes of completeness of understanding of the various positions on the pro-open source side of things. One is the Software Liberation front: http://softwareliberationfront.org The other advocates what it calls a Copyfree approach to licensing: http://copyfree.org There's an interesting piece of writing about intellectual property law that gives a supposedly Libertarian take on it: http://www.libertariannation.org/a/f31l1.html . . . though of course there are other arguments within libertarianism both for and against. A book, available online, called "Against Intellectual Monopoly" might also prove interesting: http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual... Interestingly enough, the strongest arguments I've found online *for* copyright and patent law as applied to software are those of Microsoft's executives in various press releases over the years. That should suggest some Google search terms for you, I would think. For offline, hardcopy materials, the already suggested Amazon search turns up some interesting options. Unfortunately, I haven't read much of the hardcopy materials on the subject, and of what I have read the titles tend to be fairly interchangeable so I have some difficulty recalling which I've read and which I have not. For the most part, the least biased-sounding stuff tends to be materials written by advocates for open source software -- which, of course, means there's bias, but they're pretty good at not sounding biased. There are also many on both sides of things who sound very biased indeed, such as Richard Stallman and Steve Ballmer. Linus Torvalds is an odd duck, in that he really seems very evenly divided between closed source and open source software, but his bias (more difficult to recognize than some, perhaps) is toward a particular type of software world wherein proprietary and open source software are mixed and carry fairly equal weight. The Ruby list probably carries some of the least biased commentary I've ever written on the subject of open source software licensing and copyright law, including this very email. > >faith does not explicitly state that mankind is something special). I > >actually have no idea if an unbiased view on this matter is even feasible. > > I love this example, but I never throw it at doomsday theorists > because it is another one of those topics -- just like this one -- > that I want to intelligently discuss with other people, but just > haven't had the time to research it myself yet. No doubt I would be > entering a mob armed with hatchets and sickles with only my bare > fists. Note, for instance, that even that example relies on biased assumptions. There's a fair bit of science and some strong opinions supporting the idea that the scope of anthropogenic global warming trends assumed in this example are alarmist and unrealistic. In fact, there's some question about what positive effects might occur as a result of global warming trends even if they are true. The proponents of anthropogenic global warming crisis are more visible, but they are not the only credible position on the subject. I've got some available reading on this subject queued up as well, but it's so far off-topic it really shouldn't be mentioned in any more depth here. I only addressed it to point out that on such charged issues I'm not sure you can ever find anything that qualifies as "unbiased". > > Yes, I'm aware of all this. These are the dillemas that I wish to delve > into. There are a great many arguments for all sorts of positions with regard to open source software out there. The most cogent and well-supported, however, tend to be those that make clear a basic economic model as the basis of the argument, so you know up front what the bias of the argument will be. Richard Stallman's arguments depart from this somewhat in that his very collectivist bent with regard to software economics is somewhat hidden between the lines of his arguments, but if you understand that fact of his assumptions the remainder of his argument becomes strikingly clear and strong, in that light. The corporatist position of Microsoft's executives is of course unavoidable, and thus casts all of those arguments in a revealing light for anyone able to differentiate between corporatist capitalism and free market capitalism. Linus Torvalds, Eric Raymond (author of "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", meantioned elsewhere in this thread), and Theo de Raadt are quite open and forthright about their biases. Thomas Jefferson's writings on the subject are instructive, in that he makes a very strong, clear, cogent argument against copyright and patent law in principle, then ends up caving in at the end and making some weak statement to the effect of "but we want to encourage innovation, so I guess we'll go with it anyway" (wildly paraphrased). Best of luck with all this. Feel free to contact me off-list to share with me any information of interest, questions, or arguments you find interesting -- copyright and patent law make up a subject of great interest to me, as it applies both to ethics and economics.
on 2007-07-26 06:51
On 7/25/07, Chad Perrin <email@example.com> wrote: > Best of luck with all this. Feel free to contact me off-list to share > with me any information of interest, questions, or arguments you find > interesting -- copyright and patent law make up a subject of great > interest to me, as it applies both to ethics and economics. Thanks, Chad. There's certainly a lot of food for thought here. I appreciate it. Todd
on 2007-07-26 09:56
Excerpts from Todd Benson's message of Wed Jul 25 17:11:40 +0300 2007: > On 7/25/07, Aureliano Calvo <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > > Google for "The cathedral and the bazar". > > Yes! Resources along this vein are what I am looking for. You might want to try "Producing Open Source Software" by Karl Fogel. While it covers a lot more than what you asked for, it has a chapter entitled (ahem) "Money" which might interest you. :) The book is freely available online at http://producingoss.com You can even download a PDF, if you like. > > Thanks, > Todd -- Eugen Minciu. Wasting valuable time since 1985.
on 2007-09-25 23:03
Todd Benson wrote: > namely, a relatively unbiased look at them. Any recommendations from > the Ruby community would be much appreciated. > > Thanks, > Todd > A quick search with "open source economics" at Amazon gives http://amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/102-1921927-85353... Some of the titles found The Economics of Open Source Software Development by Jürgen Bitzer and The Success of Open Source by Steven Weber (Hardcover - April 30, 2004) The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source by Martin Fink Handbook of Research on Open Source Software: Technological, Economic, and Social Perspectives by Kirk St. Amant and Brian Still (Hardcover - Open Source Software Law (Artech House Telecommunications Library) Open Source Software Law (Artech House Telecommunications Library) by Rod Dixon (Hardcover - Dec 2003) Open Business Models: How to Thrive in the New Innovation Landscape by Henry Chesbrough (Hardcover - Dec 6, 2006) The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source by Martin Fink (Paperback - 2002)
on 2007-09-25 23:10
On 7/25/07, Brad Phelan <email@example.com> wrote: > A quick search with "open source economics" at Amazon gives Thanks, Brad. I'll check those out. I was sort of looking for material somebody here as actually read or heard about and not just typed in to the search engine, though. Todd