Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FMOSS (Free market open source software)

With all the comments being fairly similar, going to present the other side as I see it.

Linux exists in a particular environment where INDIVIDUALS selfishly develop what THEY need for their own purposes. A person who needs a piece of software for their own purposes and successfully develops what they need has not only had their needs met, but also created intellectual wealth. The sharing of that wealth even by a single individual is positive.

The volume of wealth is so great, and the foundation so solid, that anyone with a computer and Internet access can take from the pool, ATTEMPT to improve on it, share their insight (whatever the form) and you get a positive sum of wealth.

This model, unlike any other, is INFINITELY scalable.

One problem may be approached by n people. The more people looking at the problem, the greater the chance of producing the ideal solution. Relatively no individual has the ability to STOP independent competitive solutions by any means than rationally demonstrating the superiority of their ideas.

There are "problems" with this model, but in my opinion, the nasty and poisonous perception of this model is that progress is zero-sum. I don't know if I could list in my lifetime how many ways anyone with that belief could be wrong, so let me make it very simple and clear.

WHAT I DO IN MY FREE TIME FOR MY OWN PURPOSE IS NONE OF YOUR F***ING BUSINESS any further than your freedom to do with and improve upon in your own way as you see fit what I choose to return to the community by either choice, or expected by the terms of the Gnu GPL.

You can not CONSCRIPT me into producing what YOU want, you can only enable me or discourage me to continue to contribute as I choose.

One of the articles criticisms, which seems to be a recurring themes of articles that like to tell people how they should be spending their time, is that of the number of distributions out there. Think about this: Why do people create distributions?

Is it because there are not enough of them? ... no

Is it because other distributions are going the wrong direction? ... maybe?

Is it because other distributions don't meet their needs? ... seems to be their perception at least

Is it because they feel like it?


Creating, maintaining, and promoting a particular distribution is a LOT of work (in my observation and from talking to people that have done it) But if you could make them not do what they want to do with their time, you really think they are going to magically do what you want instead?

What is amazing is that people left to their own devices (no pun intended) to do as they please, their minds begin to open to "what is possible in the spirit of playful cleverness".

Getting people to not do what you do not need doesn't make more for you. If you need more, there are three basic solutions: 1) wait and hope someone with with more initiative, motive, skill, etc 2) read a book and develop it yourself, or 3) Provide an incentive such as money to encourage someone with the skill to do it for you.

This is not an argument against team work, but just the same this article isn't an encouragement of team work either. Encouragement of teamwork involves 1) identifying a specific problem 2) defining the scope in which you wish to address that problem 3) outline a solution and develop a functional prototype that demonstrates why not only you have a good solution, but that your solution is better than other solutions (or non solutions) 4) Use your product from step 3 and actually demonstrate to people why they should expend their time and energy working on YOUR project, and technically 5) pick from those people you wish to bring onto the core of your team.

Final point: Teams and Communities do not exist for their own sake; they exist because it serves the voluntarily consenting members of them. If you want a centrally controlled, managed, and developed system that democratically considers the needs of everyone equally, such a project already exists. It is called Windows.

Cannonical / Mark Shuttlesworth provides something very specific: A platform and location for people to freely collaborate and exchange ideas while providing a face, in a sense, to a very distributed community. Thankfully, Mark has the wisdom to understand his role and learned the lessons of many other FlOSS projects come and gone and never abused his position of a role model to dictate how Linux should inspire anyone.

All projects stand on their merit alone, and as one hobby / amateur programmer, I hope I am not alone in hope that this state of anarchy never changes.

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