The Industry choice

Rob Emmons rmemmons at member.fsf.org
Wed Jan 5 03:54:37 CET 2005


> But the vision of what? Do we have clear, detailed, unambigous vision
> _of the process_ or just big ideological axes to grind? I'm afraid
> we're close to the latter situation - even though Python is remarkably
> different in this area than the "free software": clean, pragmatic,
> effective, free to include in closed-source. If Python were GPLed,
> I wouldn't use it: attempting to force people to share doesn't work.

That is an interesting thing about open source.  I'm very surprised and
encouraged by the wide slice of philosophical views that it embrases.

Me personally, I believe in free software, but always talk about open
source.  My answer regarding forcing people to share -- I like the GPL 
-- and I am perfectly happy to have anyone who does not like the GPL 
not to use any GPLed software.  I don't feel compelled to share.

> Well, I'd say that lack of interchangeability in software is a big
> obstacle on this road: not that there's little source code, but
> that it's relatively hard (read: expensive) to combine the pieces.

Linux/BSD/Unix in some ways have been the most consistent platforms 
over time.  It is ironic that POSIX like systems are perhaps the only
systems that have a pretty set of standards back to the early 1970's. 
It's a great story of what can be done by sharing.

> 'The problem is that for all of the rhetoric about software becoming a
> "commodity", most software is still very much not a commodity: one
> software product is rarely completely interchangeable with another.'

The thing about Open Source -- I don't think I've heard of any other way
for software to become commodity.  I'd love to hear about other options.

> This could be made into a very strong argument for OSS: see the
> OSS developers as your "outsourced team" that works for almost
> nothing, i.e. "if we want to win them or get them to help, maybe
> we should contribute our bugfixes and enhancements to them".

I've wondered about this.  I think the big issue is that it's not
outsourcing where it works -- but the potential for software customization
an in-sourcing things.  That's why it seems to me that Open Source is
portentially the opposite of oursourcing -- though I guess the
customization can be outsourced... hmm...

> As much as people tend to hate outsourcing, it frequently _does_
> increase the efficiency of the industries.  

I actually don't have a problem with outsourcing if it makes sense.  The
big issue I have with this sort of thing is that often the numbers look
good only because hidden costs are transfered to other parts of the
organization. Often the outsourcing company even participates in this sort
of thing -- gives upper management the servicies they have always had,
gives the rest of the company poor service.  I've seen this in the company
I work for.

Rob



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