The Simple Economics of Open Source

Andrew Dalke dalke at
Mon Apr 24 05:29:29 EDT 2000

Raffael Cavallaro wrote:
>Fact is, only commodity items, that are known to many programmers, are
>open sourced. If there were sufficient demand to support a closed source
>business, then it would have happened that way. The proof of this is the
>BSDs, which would allow a closed source, proprietary fork at any time.
>Hasn't happened 'cause there's no demand for such a product.

Not quite fact.  There are counter-examples.  What's the major
competitor to TeX?  From my understanding, when it was first released
there was nothing like it, proprietary or otherwise, so it wasn't
a commodity.

The first few web servers and browsers weren't commodities, but they
were open source.

But I do agree that most open-source projects seem to be years behind
their closed-source equivalents.

                    Andrew Dalke
                    dalke at

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