Re: comment wrt. ESR's talk in Vienna

Autor: Bernd Petrovitsch (
Datum: Mon Jul 15 2002 - 11:24:38 CEST

CK <> wrote:
>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)

All model fit perfectly into the selfish part above - just look into
it what the producer gains or at least avoids (which you do not avoid
if you get enough money for it).

>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.

The projects die (or the parts are not developed) because no one is
doing it.
You need or you want it ? Then _do it_ (and do not complain on the projects
mailing lists about the missing parts only).

The Linux kernel (and lots of other free/open source/... software) wasn't
started because a student in Finland was whining on some Minix mailing

>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.

... or you need just one who really wants do it. That's the deciding[0]
reason. All others are the reason why I'm not doing it.
Just to pre-counter arguments like "there is no musician/... who can
or wants to do it", actually there are studied lawyers who can and do
program or administer computers .... ;-)


[0] : Is this English or just a germanism ?

Bernd Petrovitsch                              Email :
g.a.m.s gmbh                                  Fax : +43 1 205255-900
Prinz-Eugen-Straße 8                    A-1040 Vienna/Austria/Europe
                     LUGA :
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