Re: comment wrt. ESR's talk in Vienna

Autor: CK (
Datum: Mon Jul 15 2002 - 11:07:52 CEST

I read:
> Rishab Aiyer Ghosh did a talk at the WOS #1 (Berlin 1999) where he
> proposed another quite interessting explanation why people develop
> Free Software:

sorry didn't give it a read yet, (coffee < 1) but do people on this list
really think that people write free software for either altruistic (in
the sense of creating a better world) or selfish (as in everybody thinks
I'm a cool nerd now) reasons ?

I can come up at least with several other models:

the busker model - people do something for free because they might receive
                   a grant of some sort ($ by grant)

the research model - people build tools they need for their .edu work and
                     are paid for results - no extra revenue in selling sw
                     of that kind anyway ($ from institutions)

the I need it model - people write tools for themselves and make them
                      available just because they think someone else
                      has a use for it and might even improve it further
                      (no $ involved)

the I'm not a marketing person model - selling software is _hard_ it's a
                                       hell of a lot of work you need some
                                       sort of pr to get the word out, a
                                       helpline, manuals, a _box_ and of
                                       course a distributor or lots of
                                       saliva ...
                                       (again no $[1])

the you needed it model - people convince the ordering party that releasing
                          their work (for the orderer) under free terms is
                          a good thing in the long run, extra revenue by
                          selling sw was never intended
                          ($ from ordering party)

several more come to my mind, but I'd rather like to think about what kind
of software is _not_ beeing developed in the open source realm (at least
not for now) and why ambitious os projects usually die when it comes to
improving usability and mere bug squashing.

a good example here might be midi sequencers[2] that can compete with
commercial apps (we certainly don't suffer this problem in the server
markets ;) there are a lot of projects out there (80% of them dead) and
the remaining projects are so far away from their commercial counterparts
for very simple reasons:

* making music is a very different process from writing a business letter or
  filling a table with values
* most of the creative types have a fear of working with somewhat awkward
  tools (like csound) that they themselves perceive as almost natural.
* GUI coding is boring
* programmers don't listen to mere users (I get no money anyway)
* programmers always know of a 'better' way and fail to acknowledge
  (well at least apart from the office field) that 10 years of usability
  studies at steinberg + a lot of users experienced with exactly 'their'
  way are a damn good reason to offer a similar interface.
* hunting down the tiny bugs (and the occasional segfault when the user
  admittedly did something stupid) is also boring
* writing documentation (for users and aspiring hackers) is also boring
  (sometimes it's really hard to figure stuff out from 100+ rarely
  commented sourcefiles without a design paper)

for all these things you have to _pay_ people, heck commercial enterprises
even pay users to play with their alphas and report back.
And that's again what people pay for when they go out and buy this stuff
(and for the usb dongle of course ;)

[1] so maybe one of the other models applies aswell, generally applies to
    selling stuff.
[2] applies mostly to 3d modelling/rendering, video editing and games aswell

damn, wrote a book



--	Postmodernism is german romanticism with better	special effects. (Jeff Keuss / via
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