The Simple Economics of Open Source

Raffael Cavallaro raffael at
Sun Apr 23 05:35:02 CEST 2000

> And the success of that approach has made painting
> a profitable and lucrative career choice, in contrast
> to the thousands of struggling software engineers who
> can't even qualify for an NEA grant. <wink>
> If I didn't have my part-time performance art
> income to help pay the bills, I could never
> afford to support my programming lifestyle.
> -Jeff

Sarcasm aside, I think you miss the point. Those artists least willing to
share, most jealous of their "secrets" have always been those who were most
successful. Unsucessful young artists are, by and large, quite willing to
share ideas, working techniques, etc. It's actually the more established,
financially succesful ones, who are not.

I see a parallael to the software industry here as well. Those with a
lucrative cash cow (e.g., MS) are reluctant to share code, but those who
just make a living programming are happy to share source. It would seem that
sharing is inversely proportional to the value of that which is shared.


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