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James Boyle's Ultimate Answer to "Why Open Source is Unsustainable"
Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 01:42 PM EST

Don't miss this extraordinary article, the complete answer to Richard Epstein's article on FT, "Why Open Source is Unsustainable," by James Boyle, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law at Duke Law School, a board member of Creative Commons and the co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

This article is to me the template showing how to answer a provocative article with style and grace, while completely demolishing, very politely, the arguments raised. He doesn't swear, yell or hit below the belt with personal invective. Yet he does win, I think you'll agree. It takes a lot more effort to write that way, but the satisfaction is greater, because you've reached everyone you can, without offending anyone.

So, he's my hero now and my model. I like his hat too. Mr. Boyle: if you ever want to write anything for Groklaw, we'd be so honored.

He begins by pointing out that you can tell if the GPL is flawed by following two simple guidelines: "Listen to the market, and assume judicial common sense."

He then tells us something that made my jaw drop:

"Amazingly, IBM now earns more from what it calls 'Linux-related revenues' than it does from traditional patent licensing, and IBM is the largest patent holder in the world. This does not seem like a community that is declining."

No wonder IBM is willing to fight SCO all the way. Had SCO done the math, they could have predicted the reaction. It also implies to me that if push comes to shove, software patents are eventually going to at least have to be modified to accommodate FOSS. Money interests have an inevitable logic that is as predictable as the trajectory of a spaceship to the moon. There is one other prediction that I think flows from this: monetizing IP by means of SCO-like lawsuits is a business model that is unsustainable. It was invented in those wacky '90s and now it's passe and will die off. SCO is Exhibit A of that new truth. SCO's doom is the marker in the sand that the tide has turned.

Here is the part I found the most telling, at the very end, where he addresses Professor Epstein's argument that governments should not favor free software but should be neutral. Oh, yes, says Mr. Boyle, by all means let governments be neutral, and note what he says the change such neutrality would result in when it comes to patents:

"I think Prof Epstein’s neutrality principle is a little narrow. There are many benefits to society as a whole that governments could rationally factor into their decision in picking open software - including creating a social good that other citizens can share, and producing specific competition (lower software prices for my department) and general competition (lower prices for the society as a whole.) But let us say that we adopted his principle. Would it change state purchasing policies? I don’t think so, for the reasons given above. What would it change? There, I think the answer is clear. The key implication of a principle of neutrality would be this; it would change our intellectual property policy. If we were truly neutral, we would be as concerned about the impact of software patents on open source software development as about the impact of illicit copying on closed source software development. We would spend as much time thinking about how to encourage distributed creativity as we do about encouraging proprietary 'top-down' creativity. That principle of neutrality would be worth adopting. Where do I sign?"

This is one of those times I wish copyright law wasn't so strict because I would like to highlight many more points that stand out, but instead I'll encourage you to vist FT and read the entire thing.


James Boyle's Ultimate Answer to "Why Open Source is Unsustainable" | 246 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Typos in article
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 01:51 PM EST
stye - style

[ Reply to This | # ]

Here be trolls
Authored by: MadScientist on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 01:52 PM EST

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT here
Authored by: MadScientist on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 01:53 PM EST

[ Reply to This | # ]

I fully agree with PJ
Authored by: dscho on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 02:00 PM EST
His style is awesome. It is the pure weight of his arguments crushing down on Dr
Epstein's article. And he looks cuter, too...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Good stuff!
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 02:03 PM EST
The referenced article really is pretty good. Thanks for giving it some of the
exposure it deserves!

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Good stuff! - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 10:14 PM EST
James Boyle's Ultimate Answer to "Why Open Source is Unsustainable"
Authored by: completelyot on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 02:07 PM EST
I was so completely outraged by this anonymous comment, I got myself an account
to reply ! It was unnecessary and makes no positive contribution : the right
place for this is on the CKX board. Have a nice day.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 02:18 PM EST
"Copying software isn’t like fighting over who owns the candles or the VW

True - all of Epstein's arguments only held true if the sharing somehow diluted
the usability of the stuff being shared.

Boyle writes better than I do :(

[ Reply to This | # ]

university of chicago
Authored by: nerpzilla on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 02:35 PM EST
UofC is the center of the law and economics world, and that is of significant
importance. L&E is a very market-orientated subject, and it always made me
laugh when we used to talk about IP and MS in our law school classes where the
professor was big on L&E. somehow, the market was always flawless, judges
shouldn't get involved in policy, because the market would figure it out. but
whether MS, as a monopoly, was good, the concensus was always yes, because the
"facts" showed MS fostered innovation. And everyone is so strong on
IP protection and the sensibility of Eldred v Ashcroft, because protection of
copyright rights pushes inovation, and piracy hurts the public good because art
and science would die if copyright protection wasn't treated like gospel.

And then the uncomfortable day when linux would come up. "well, it can't
work," and "it's like a hobby, MS will always make a superior
product." because without profit in the proprietary model, no one would
make anything. and the would would collapse. linux and foss was some weird
kind of phenomena, which would fade because it defied economic law.

so Epstein makes me smile and remember those days (even though they aren't that
long ago.) and it made me want to write this, because i don't know how many
people know the thought process of law professors like Epstein, and Judges like
Justices Posner and Easterbrook, both of the seventh circuit of federal appeals,
both former professors at UofC.

See, L&E is based on the idea that the market makes the best policy, and the
law should reflect what the market wants. the market will lead to efficency,
and regulations and laws should be crafted to help that efficency. in the IP
realm, the copyright is sacred, because noone will ever make anything useful
unless they profit.

which is why Epstein is so confused about linux. the central tenet of L&E
is that people will act economically. People making free software is not the
most economical thing, so it has to be libertarians and "socialists"
who are making it. if people will do things un-economically, then the market
may not reflect the most efficient outcome; there may be other factors. since
this cannot be the case, foss has to be an aberation.

the funniest thing about economics compared to the rest of the sciences, imho,
is in the sciences, everytime the facts go against the theory, you have to go
back to the drawing board and fix the theory. for L&E people, if the facts
go against the theory, you have to dismiss the facts, because the theory is
flawless, isn't it?

[ Reply to This | # ]

James Boyle's Ultimate Answer to "Why Open Source is Unsustainable"
Authored by: RealProgrammer on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 02:41 PM EST
The hardware business, to be specific.

Software sells hardware. If you want to sell more hardware, make software for
it easy to get. What is one of the main barriers for acquisition of software?
Price. Lower the price on software and you increase its availability, thereby
boosting hardware sales.

But who is going to support software that no one can sell? That is, can you
charge people money to tell them how to use all this free software? You sure
can, and IBM is raking in the cash doing it.

For hardware makers, free software is a no-brainer. The only ones fighting it
are the people wanting to sell the software itself.

Too bad for them, but that era is closing.

(I'm not a lawyer, but I know right from wrong)

[ Reply to This | # ]

economics not law
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 02:42 PM EST
One thing that bugs me about this whole debate, especially in the recent Epstein
article.... How patents, "IP" law etc. -are-, the nuts and bolts of
it, is a matter of law. How they -should- be is economics. But we see two law
professors arguing about it, and more generally, constantly see patent lawyers
and the like asked for their opinions.

Though in all fairness, I suppose economists are quiet on open source, because
theoretically it shouldn't work, but in reality it does. Even so I don't really
need to hear why a law professor -thinks- communes don't work. Especially when
the goods created are non-rivalrous, making the situation unique.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Epstein and Boyle Articles
Authored by: tangomike on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 02:42 PM EST
The link takes you to both, one above the other.

Mr. Boyle's article is elegant in its striaght forward language and arguments.

Mr. Epstein, besides making a number of errors ('Free Software Movement" as
the author of the GPL, FOSS programmers are ALL unpaid, GPL disdains private
property, etc.) also uses loaded words such a "commune" to criticize

It is somewhat surprising that scholars, including Mr. Epstein, have so much
difficulty understanding FOSS. Education and research both rely on the open
sharing of knowledge. Even patents are intended ultimately to ensure that the
discoveries they protect are not lost by having to be kept secret.

Every day thousands of people donate/volunteer time for the good of their
community. How is it that people like Mr. Epstein and Mr. Balmer seem to find
this so mysterious, or even threatening?

The SCO Group's secret project to develop Artificial Stupidity has obviously

[ Reply to This | # ]

Competitive advantage.
Authored by: jim Reiter on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 02:47 PM EST
In the sixties Jap cars got better, American cars got
bigger and more chrome.

In this decade Linux will get better, Windows will get
bigger and more chrome (innovation :-)
Wait for Longhorn SP3 (less bugs)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Very good and funny piece by James Boyle
Authored by: mk270 on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 02:49 PM EST
There's another good piece on free software (and DRM) by James Boyle, at: W ell worth a listen/read.

[ Reply to This | # ]

James Boyle's Ultimate Answer to "Why Open Source is Unsustainable"
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 03:00 PM EST
"I like his hat too" - PJ

You mean his Fedora? Why isn't it red?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Economic Evolution
Authored by: Prototrm on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 03:04 PM EST
When a monopoly exists against whom even the government is ineffective, what
could possibly restore the competitive balance?

The introduction of FOSS into the marketplace appears to be an effective
counterbalance to the otherwise irresistible force of monopoly. Not only is it
sustainable, but given the current environment in the software industry, FOSS is
inevitable. It's the result of an evolution of economic forces caused by
optimism, stubbornness, and an unwillingnes to accept the status quo.

And, much as we all like to bash Microsoft, the result of having such a
formidable competitor will be, in the long run, better software for all of us.
FOSS may be a loser in this contest as often as it is a winner, but it will
always be a force to contend with.

Competition is a good thing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A simple idea
Authored by: inode_buddha on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 03:18 PM EST
before I really get going here:

Are Epstein's ideas susteinable? Why or why not? What are his presumptions vs your own?

"When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price." -- Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

James Boyle's Ultimate Answer to "Why Open Source is Unsustainable"
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 03:20 PM EST
Many years ago (and still in some places)many societies worked the same way as
opensource, just working and sharing together for survival. Most commuties
where pour and had little resources. Because of this they hadn't much room for
experiments, and that is a reason why they hardly or slowly changed for many
years. If it worked than under diffecult conditions should it work now?

Ok time changed , we have now huge of amount of resource to experiment and for
movog foreward. Do we have really? Maybe me should only look at physical
resource, but also 'social resources'. Is how our society go downhill nowdays
caused by greedy companies using to much 'social resources'?

Anyway, most poeple like Richard Epstein make one big mistake and that is what
we do with opensource in our modern days and what people did in the old days
have one thing in common : It is for the benefit for everyone.


[ Reply to This | # ]

A Couple More Examples for Boyle
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 03:32 PM EST
Outside of open source software, I can think of two other recent open, collaborative efforts that have yielded high-quality results.

The first is modern peer-reviewed science. Like everything 20th-century physics has done for you? The market didn't deliver that.

The second is the Internet (which is more than just a software effort, remember). Government-funded open collaboration.

So there is clearly an economic sphere where good results can be obtained by means other than immediate competition for profit. Open source has historic continuity with both the examples I cite-- that's part of its strength. The GPL just gives an option for those who want their work products to be treated like research results rather than like the secret formula for Coke.

Anyway, I read Epstein's article as more about the failure of Friedmanite economics to take into account the competitive advantage of cooperative social arrangements, than about why such arrangements are doomed to failure. History has shown that, in some contexts, they are far more efficient than "the war of all against all."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Community, not commune
Authored by: lightsail on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 03:51 PM EST
< soap box >

Open source is a community, not a commune. The distinction is subtle.

A community is composed of individuals that are both self supporting and
community supporting.

A commune is a group of individuals that are mutually supporting with common
ownership of property. Shares of the total property are diluted by the number of
commune members.

Intellectual property is ideally suited as a community resource: the combined
shared work can be widely distributed without reducing the individual shares.

The creation of intellectual property in a community setting is also a very
powerful force. A diverse group can buy into the ownership process, supplying
coding, testing, distribution, and massive resources to improve the share
intellectual property. As the aggregate value of the intellectual property that
the community holds increases, it becomes a magnet for larger and more
resourceful entities to join the community. These new members bring an even
greater level of resources that is shared freely among the participants in the
community. This increases the community's total resources without diminishing
any individuals share.

This is not a movement doomed to fail, but a model of success for the twenty
first century. This sharing built Unix into the OS of choice, before short
sighted corporations side tracked the process. But that setback ultimately
kindled the current Open Source community.

Community will overcome the attempt to derail progress. Even the current attempt
to derail the Open Source movement is doomed because we are free and the code is
free. Our strength is the strength of many because we are a community.

< /soap box >

[ Reply to This | # ]

James Boyle's Ultimate Answer to "Why Open Source is Unsustainable"
Authored by: grayhawk on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 04:27 PM EST
It amazes me that because there is a communal effort in the FOSS world, we see
it as communistic, socialistic etc etc and that it isn't sustainable because of
economic viability.

Yet look around, we as a society constantly support such community activity on a
grand scale without any direct economic benefit or financial gain. It just
because we have applied it to the development of software that we all of a
sudden find this type of social activity threatening because it competes with
some other commercial venture.

Look at what we do as a community to benefit one and all with no financial gain,
fire departments, police, social services, various government services, schools,
universities, SPCA, Ducks Unlimited, Cubs, Scouts, Girl Guides, Churches,
various support groups like United Way, Doctor's without Borders, etc. Here we
see activity of individuals for the betterment of others that sometimes goes
unpaid and generates no profit. Yet all of these activities have been and
continue to be sustainable. We all benefit and the services often are free or
have a nominal charge. In some cases we as a community choose to purchase such
services and pay for them in the form of taxes. Yet we get the service for free
when we need it. You often see the person whose house is on fire stand there
with a cheque for the fire chief so that his boys can put out the flames,

Mennonites and the Amish are well known for working as a social group to the
benefit of the everyone in the community. They even assist non-members during
times of crisis, such as floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.

Why is it so inconceivable that people wish to do things without desiring
monitary gain but seek gain in the form of notoriety, satisfaction, recognition,
or just because there was this mountain to climb.

As a result we as a society are richer for such efforts and it in turn generates
a desire for us to do our part and contribute in some fashion.

All ships are safe in a harbour but that is not where they were meant to be.

[ Reply to This | # ]

James Boyle's Ultimate Answer to "Why Open Source is Unsustainable"
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 05:00 PM EST
Mr Boyle wrote, "People used to say that collaborative creation could never produce a quality product. That has been shown to be false. So now they say that collaborative creation cannot be sustained because the governance mechanisms will not survive the success of the project. Prof Epstein conjures up a “central committee” from which insiders will be unable to cash out - a nice mixture of communist and capitalist metaphors. All governance systems - including democracies and corporate boards - have problems. But so far as we can tell, those who are influential in the free software and open source governance communities (there is, alas, no “central committee”) feel that they are doing very well indeed. In the last resort, when they disagree with decisions that are taken, there is always the possibility of “forking the code”, introducing a change to the software that not everyone agrees with, and then letting free choice and market selection converge on the preferred iteration. So far, “forks” have been comparatively rare, but are not unheard of; the tradition of “rough consensus and running code” seems to be proving itself empirically as a robust governance system."

I think all one has to do is look to the Apache Software Foundation for validation. Not only does the ASF produce some of the finest open source products and tools, they have a very good 'governance' policy to insure that future development of their products will continue, regardless of who is in 'charge'. Are they perfect? Probably not. But as an example of a governance mechanisms that has survived the success of the project, you need to look no further.

[ Reply to This | # ]

James Boyle's Ultimate Answer to "Why Open Source is Unsustainable"
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 05:25 PM EST
What I love about Boyle's piece is that he uses Epstein's arguments against him.
Epstein wants to make the market supreme, and Boyle counters that the market is
voting for open source.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How long is sustainability?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 05:56 PM EST
If Open Source is unsustainable then how did it get this far? What conditions
are present that decree that after an initial period of success that Open Source
must then fail?

Steve Stites

[ Reply to This | # ]

IBM making more from Linux base
Authored by: golding on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 06:27 PM EST

PJ said;


He then tells us something that made my jaw drop:

"Amazingly, IBM now earns more from what it calls 'Linux-related revenues' than it does from traditional patent licensing, and IBM is the largest patent holder in the world. This does not seem like a community that is declining."


PJ, I thought you knew this from an interview that IBM had given in September. I posted a comment at the time. Unfortunately I cannot remember who the interview was with, it was at the same time as the Sun story you were commenting on, but I do remember it noted IBM was getting far more generated revenue from its Linux base than any other area.

Regards, Robert

..... Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun, but I have never been able to make out the numbers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What I would like to see....
Authored by: Jude on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 07:18 PM EST one of these economists who say FOSS can't work do their analysis of
another situation:

Microsoft wins the war and captures 100% of the market. All of their code is
patented and locked away behind strong encryption so nobody can even look at it.
All network protocols are patented, and the data exchanged is also protected by
strong encryption. Everyone's data is encrypted and stored in patented
proprietary file formats. All of the code has built-in expiration timers, so
that users are forced to get new versions protected by new patents long before
the old patents expire.

OK, Mr. (or Ms.) hotshot economist, how does this play in your precious models?

[ Reply to This | # ]

If you don't understand Open Source you don't understand markets
Authored by: ebiederm on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 07:34 PM EST
From an intuitive and especially from an ego perspective central planning where
all of the work is coordinated and everyone is working towards a common goal is
more efficient than a capitalist market.

How can unregulated chaos do a better job than a careful

Yet it has been proven in the real world that a market economy does better in
practice. And now everyone just accepts it as gospel that markets are good.

In computer science and mathmatics algorithms for achieving
various tasks have been studied quite extensively. An algorithm being a
procedure for achieving a goal. There
are two basic kinds of algorithms. Ones that will give you an optimal solution
to a problem. And heuristic algorithms that will give you a good solution but
not necessarily the best solution.

Why would anyone want to use a heuristic algorithm when you can use an algorithm
that yields an optimal solution?
Algorithms that calculate the optimal solution take run in time expontial to the
problem size. Or more simply for
large problem sizes the best known algorithsm to compute opt
imal solution will take billions of yeas to run. In addition to calculate a
provably optimal solution requires exact information about the entire problem.
With a heuristic solution you sacrafice the certainty of finding the best answer
and replace that with the certainty of
finding an answer in a resonable amount of time, and since
you are not promissing the best possible solution you can
operate on approximations of the data, and still get a valid

For planning an economy it is impossible to get exact information about the
entire problem. Most economies are not closed systems. And even if they were
the Heisenburg Uncertainty prinicple places some limits on what can be

So any method for organizing an economy must be a heuristic
and thus will not be guarantted to yield perfect results,
in all circumstances.

For the central planning heuristic, the quality
of information to make decisions on is limited, the quality
of the implementation is limited, as is the amount of time to make decisions.
In addition because the quality of
human labor is variable and you have imperfect information
on who will be doing what job you cannot assume people will be working at
maximum efficiency.

For the market economy heuristic things are a little different. The assumption
is made that an optimal solution for the economy as a whole is an optimal
solution for individuals. With that assumption decisions making can
be decentrallized and individuals can be encouraged
to optimize their situtation. Because individuals and small groups have much
better information about their situation then a central organization much better
local decisions can be made. And if the central assumptions holds true that
what is good for the individual is good for the whole
then this it is easy to understand why the market
economy heuristic usually produces better results.

The analysis of the economics of free software
and proprietary software is quite similar. In general
proprietary software is designed and planned in a centralized fashion. Whereas
a succesfull free software
tends to have work done in a distributed fashion by
programmers who happen to be using the software that
day. Which results in many of the same kinds
of economic efficienciens as a market economy for software

As for how a programmer gets paid there are 4 primary ways
sofware is developed.
1) In-house development and customization of software
to meet a businesses particular needs
2) Software made for sale.
3) Contracting to debug, enhance, and support existing software.
4) Software written for practice to increase a software developers skill.

Last I heard most software falls into category 1. In-house
development. Providing services to in-house developers can
be done either with proprietary software or with free software and contracting
to fill in the gaps. It is trivial
to see 1,3,4 can continue to make money in an free software environment. And
even software written for sale can be done open source if a large enough one
time fee is negotiated, although that more resembles contract work.

In summary it is possible to make money with free software, and when we examine
the heuristics we see that free software development because of it's distributed
nature more closely resembles a market than a planned economy. So a failure to
understand how free software works is also likely to a failure to understand how
markets work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

1 more count against the man:
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 07:52 PM EST
Richard Epstein is just one more person who doesn't understand what
"begging the question" means. /me sigh... how can I trust anyone who
doesn't understand basic logical falacies.

<b><u>begging the question</u></b>: a logical fallacy in
which the evidence given for a proposition contains the proposition itself.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Thank you PJ for this article.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 11:08 PM EST
"Global businesses such as IBM have very good lawyers. They are not known
for investing billions of dollars into businesses built on licences that are
simultaneously vague and imperialistic. (I imagine an absent-minded Genghis
Khan.) Unenforceable licences are also unpopular."

So ture and tells the whole story along with what was said about the courts; its
patheptic, some in the proprietary world believe about opensource and the GPL.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Boyle's argument is great, but I wish he had considered one more input
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 02 2004 @ 11:16 PM EST
From Boyle's article, initially quoting Epstein: "It [open source] should not be aided by government agencies "playing favourites." "If open source is less effective than proprietary software, that gap should not be ignored by positing some positive network externalities that come from giving it a larger base." Given that initial "if", I think this is a reasonable point.

I don't think that is so reasonable, and I'm sorry that Boyle wasn't more agressive on this point. Peru Congressman Dr. Edgar David Villanueva Nunez (that last 'n' should have a "~" over it) argues very convincingly that, as "proprietary" software now stands, it is absolutely unacceptable for government consumption, essentially because "to guarantee the free access of citizens to public information, it is indespensable that the encoding of data is not tied to a single provider." See the congressman's letter he re, amoung other places (it's all over the internet if you search for Villanueva and Microsoft) - it is a wonderful piece that has achieved nearly folklore status, and I very much recommend it.

If you integrate Boyles argument with the Congressman's letter, you indeed get a pretty strong open source case indeed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A thought for Lawyers
Authored by: cricketjeff on Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 03:41 AM EST
Lawyers are paid. Many of them are paid a lot of money. They are paid to give
advice, they are paid to take cases to court and make arguments. Now for the
thought, when they go to court and make arguments these arguments are now
"open" any one else can read them and apply them.
So a huge amount of legal work is open source, it is even free in many cases, I
haven't paid anyone to read the cases on Groklaw. This has been true for most of
the last 3000 years, but still lawyers get paid. How hard can it be for a law
professor to realise that sometimes paying for an expert to implement an open
solution is the best solution.
I don't need to pay a lawyer each time I go shopping to advise me on every
contract, I do need to pay a lawyer when I am buying a house. Buying pins I take
the very small risk of losing a few pence, buying houses I don't take the very
small risk of losing ten year's wages.
A business can think the same way. Take the risk that the cleaner's computer
system isn't optimally set up. Get in a real expert to ensure the company gets
paid on time all that it is owed.
There are numerous other examples of people falling over themselves to buy free
stuff (bottled water anyone?) why is this one so hard to follow?

[ Reply to This | # ]

more patent madness (3d engines)
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 12:13 PM EST

I hope this one get's blasted out of the water very rapidly

[ Reply to This | # ]

Adobe Says Open Source Sustainable
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 01:32 PM EST
Corporate support for Linux speaks louder than anything else. C/net has an article on Adobe dipping its toes into the Linux market: Adobe+dipping+toes+into+desktop+Linux+waters/2100-7344 _3- 5435397.html?tag=nefd.lede

Leaks like this always come through job openings. They're looking for two new employees: 1. Someone to explore marketing their products for Linux, and 2. someone to help them sponsor open source projects. Neither mean there will be a Linux Photoshop, but the second might give Linux better support for high-end fonts, PDF and PostScript.

Note the reporter's remark that supporting open source has become a mark of good corporate citizenship. That's a good sign open source has arrived.

--Mike Perry, Inkling blog , Seattle

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In defense of Prof Epstein...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 07:53 PM EST
I disagree totally with Prof Epstein's article. However, I wrote him about it,
and we have now corresponded several times. While I think he is wrong, I don't
think he is in any way foolish, nor unwilling to engage in dialogue. It seems to
me that he simply doesn't understand "hacker culture": the key point
is that he didn't understand why a proprietary fork of Free software is so
damaging to the original developer. (and therefore why the GPL is so necessary.)
I have tried to explain some of this in my correspondence with him.



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