Re: Re: A cautionary note on open-source development

From: laird popkin <lairdp_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Fri Mar 18 2005 - 10:57:35 CST

This has been going on for many, many years. I'd guess (though I can't
prove it) that most of the major open source projects have _always_
had a core of developers who are paid to work on the project (by their
employers to promote the project, not by the project directly).
Certainly IBM, Sun, Apple, HP, Compaq, Red Hat, SGI, Cygnus, Netscape,
etc., have paid hundreds of developers to work on open source
software. They don't do this because they're nice people (though they
may be), but because they, as companies benefit from the success of
the project. For example, IBM has worked to make Linux work well on
high-end hardware so that they could sell high-end hardware to Linux
users, Apple has tuned gcc to produce better PPC code because it makes
everything that uses gcc run better on MacOS X, ISP's pay developers
to tune Apache, nntpd, ftpd, sendmail, etc., because it allows them to
provide better service more cheaply than commercial servers, and many
chip companies paid Cygnus to add support for their new chips to gcc
(to ease adoption of their chip), so on. So while there are certainly
many volunteer developers who work on various projects in their spare
time for various reasons, I don't think that alone is what made gcc,
emacs, apache, mysql, postgresql, rpm's, mozilla, etc., successful.

- LP

On Wed, 16 Mar 2005 12:20:08 -0800, Arthur Keller <voting@kellers.org> wrote:
> http://www.acm.org/technews/articles/2005-7/0316w.html#item10
>
> "Open-Source Movement Now In Hands of Hired Guns"
> Investor's Business Daily (03/15/05) P. A4; Brown, Ken Spencer
>
> Corporate programmers have for the most part supplanted volunteer
> programmers as developers of core open-source software. IBM committed
> $1 billion to the development and promotion of the open-source Linux
> operating system four years ago, and has since made over 500 software
> patents and 30 software applications freely accessible to open-source
> programmers. "As Linux goes mainstream, the market gets bigger and
> the dollars available around the world grow, it becomes a great
> business opportunity," notes Open Source Development Labs CEO Stuart
> Cohen. Many companies are devoting their developers' time to the
> improvement of Linux in the hopes of ensuring that the OS is
> compatible with their hardware and software, while Cohen says some
> firms are gambling that increasing demand for Linux will in turn
> raise sales of related products. Corporate involvement benefits Linux
> by enhancing the OS with industrial-grade features that volunteer
> programmers would take years to develop. Linux creator Linus Torvalds
> is not concerned about any company dominating the development of
> Linux so that it gains a competitive advantage over rival Linux
> firms, because open-source development follows a democratic model to
> guarantee that only the best ideas prevail. In addition, improvements
> to the software are available to anyone through Linux's open
> licensing scheme. Andrew Morton, a chief deputy of Torvalds',
> maintains that most programmers, even commercial ones, develop a
> sense of loyalty to Linux that is stronger than corporate fealty.
>
> At 11:27 AM -0500 3/14/05, laird popkin wrote:
> >My instinct would be that it'll be easy for OVC to attract reviewers
> >-- any academic with any connection to voting issues would jump right
> >in, IMO. But getting people to build a certifiable system is (IMO)
> >more than can be done on a pure volunteer basis. But if we can pay a
> >core of developers to keep things rolling ahead, I would expect to see
> >lots of people building useful stuff around that core (e.g.
> >translations, adding features, etc.) similar to the way that the
> >Mozilla project as a core of paid developers with tons of volunteers
> >(and companies) making skins, plug-ins, etc.
> >
> >
> >On Sun, 13 Mar 2005 00:16:18 -0800, Arthur Keller <voting@kellers.org> wrote:
> >> Volunteer scrutiny is a lot easier to achieve than volunteer
> >> development. In fact, simply being open for scrutiny is itself
> >> somewhat of a check on the development process, independent of
> >> exactly how much scrutiny actually materializes.
> >>
> >> There is also the potential that such scrutiny will be provided by
> >> closed-source vendors who want to discredit the open source system,
> >> although they are more likely to disclose potential problems right
> >> before an election rather than early enough to fix before one. The
> >> potential for such a bombshell imposes quite a burden on the software
> >> development and testing process.
> >>
> >> Best regards,
> >> Arthur
> >>
> >> At 9:17 PM -0800 3/12/05, Ron Crane wrote:
> >> >Yes, strictly speaking. But proper public review of OVC's software
> >> >(and any hardware upon which it runs) will require volunteer
> >> >participation, so it's not entirely off the mark.
> >> >
> >> >-Ron
> >> >
> >> >On Mar 12, 2005, at 4:15 PM, Arthur Keller wrote:
> >> >
> >> >>Isn't that really a cautionary tale on *volunteer* development, not
> >> >>*open source* development?
> >> >>
> >> >>Best regards,
> >> >>Arthur
> >> >>
> >> >>At 4:08 PM -0800 3/12/05, Ron Crane wrote:
> >> >>>This was blogged by one of the core reviewers of Firefox:
> >> >>>
> >> >>>"This is bugging me, and its been bugging me for a while. In
> >> >>>nearly three years, we haven't built up a community of hackers
> >> >>>around Firefox, for a myriad of reasons, and now I think we're in
> >> >>>trouble. Of the six people who can actually review in Firefox,
> > > >>>four are AWOL, and one doesn't do a lot of reviews....
> >> >>>
> >> >>>continued at http://www.steelgryphon.com/blog/index.php?p=37 .
> >> >>>
> >> >>>The Mozilla Foundation and associated groups are open source
> >> >>>pioneers. It's worth seeing what they have to teach.
> >> >>>
> >> >>>-Ron
> >>
> >> --
> >>
> >>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4507
> >> tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> OVC discuss mailing lists
> >> Send requests to subscribe or unsubscribe to
> >> arthur@openvotingconsortium.org
> >>
> >
> >--
> >- Laird Popkin, cell: 917/453-0700
> >_______________________________________________
> >OVC discuss mailing lists
> >Send requests to subscribe or unsubscribe to arthur@openvotingconsortium.org
>
> --
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4507
> tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
> _______________________________________________
> OVC discuss mailing lists
> Send requests to subscribe or unsubscribe to arthur@openvotingconsortium.org
>

-- 
- Laird Popkin, cell: 917/453-0700
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Received on Thu Mar 31 23:17:07 2005

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