[SATLUG] F/OSS motivations

Bruce Dubbs bruce.dubbs at gmail.com
Wed Aug 13 14:32:00 CDT 2008


Todd W. Bucy wrote:
> On Tue, 2008-08-12 at 23:53 -0500, Tweeks wrote:
>> On Tuesday 12 August 2008 02:26:09 pm Bruce Dubbs wrote:

>>> In my mind, the economy of F/OSS is closer to a trading economy.  The
>>> difference is that the cost of reproduction is negligible, while the cost
>>> of development is not.  The fact that there are people who take advantage
>>> of the negligible reproduction costs without giving anything is not really
>>> significant to the contributors.

>> Good points Bruce.  I would only add that the FOSS model is probably most 
>> closely modeled by the peer review process in a patent free society (or at 
>> least a non-patent-happy one).  This is why patents are the enemy of FOSS.. 
>> the restrict and punish innovation.. while close source models thrive on it 
>> (like leaches).  With closed source.. the "widget" you sell is the software.  
>> With the FOSSmodel, the "widget" is purely a service... the software is 
>> simply a free tool to deliver said services (a tool with well defined rights 
>> of it's own.. but a tool none the less).
>>
> from an anthropological point of view, what you both have described is a
> gift-economic situation.  

You might want to look at what the Federal Appeals Court in California thinks. 
See page 8, first paragraph.

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/opinions/08-1001.pdf

"The lack of money changing hands in open source licensing should not be 
presumed to mean that there is no economic consideration, however.  There are 
substantial benefits, including economic benefits, to the creation and 
distribution of copyrighted works under public licenses that range far beyond 
traditional license royalties."

   -- Bruce


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