Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 24th Feb 2010 22:23 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source The world is slowly and surely going crazy. I'm sure of it now. The US copyright lobby has officially gone totally and utterly nuts. Get this: they are trying to lobby the US government to equate encouraging the use of Free and open source software to undermining intellectual property rights, and to weakening the software industry. I wish I was making this stuff up.
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Open source has winners and losers
by rom508 on Wed 24th Feb 2010 23:59 UTC
rom508
Member since:
2007-04-20

Well, sometimes open source software benefits large corporations, i.e. many people contribute to it for free and those corporations make all the money!

Say you're a small software development company and you come up with a really good product that people (i.e. enterprises) want to buy. If you release your product under open source license, it is very easy for any big competitor (Red Hat, Google, etc) to take your code, integrate it into their brand and muscle you out of the market. And this will happen, because they are much bigger than you, have more developers and have a huge customer base and distribution channels. How are you supposed to compete with those people?

Open source only makes sense to those who develop software as a hobby and don't want to build a business around it, or big companies that already have support contracts and business infrastructure and want to offload some of the software testing and development costs on to others.

Personally, if I had a choice between a pile of undocumented open source code (as it usually happens in open source world), or documentation detailing software design and specification, I would pick documentation and develop what I need from that.

You can't learn just from reading (deciphering) someone elses code. As the saying goes - give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Reply Score: 1

MechR Member since:
2006-01-11

You can't learn just from reading (deciphering) someone elses code. As the saying goes - give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

I like Marx's more cynical version of that, which seems particularly topical: "Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity."

Reply Parent Score: 2

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Or how things go in Africa due to western intervention:

"Give a man a fish, bankrupt his neighbor who used to sell fish for a living and ruin the local economy."

In marx's world there aren't enough fish to go around. Only the members of the governing party get to eat.

Reply Parent Score: 2

apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Except this rarely happens. More often than not especially if you are using a GPl license companies like RedHat will hire you because they know you are the most familiar with the code and have a good idea where its going and want to at least have a say in what direction it goes. A company like RedHat won't usually strong arm an individual developer. Usually its the other way around, a company will release some software and the community will do as they wish with if they feel the original company is not meeting their needs. Compiz in its infancy is a good example, it all worked out in the end.


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Reply Parent Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Open source only makes sense to those who develop software as a hobby and don't want to build a business around it


I see. That surely explains all those start-ups that base their products on OSS and it sure didn't work out for MySQL AB....

give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.


This does not actually apply to this situation at all.

Reply Parent Score: 3

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Coding isn't EVERYTHING.

In normal business you need: development, marketing, sales and support. Normal agreements generally end up allocating something between 40-50% for development + support while marketing and sales end up with the other 50-60%. As a product matures the percentage development takes goes down.

Marketing and selling a product generally requires very different skill sets and most development projects wont' go very far without taking it to this "next level".

Granted, employment isn't really the "40-50% take" although developers would be wise negotiate some type of revenue sharing with a redhat or whoever when they're hired on to support a project.

Reply Parent Score: 2