[clug-talk] Opensource.com goes live. Article::Is IP another bubble about to burst? A view from another civilization.
sgrover at open2space.com
Tue Jan 26 01:04:10 PST 2010
Juan Alberto Cirez wrote:
> I may be wrong, or even short-sighted on my belief; but I think the
> author is somewhat naive in oversimplifying a rather complex issue.
> Although GNU/Linux (or open source more broadly) could not have been
> possible without the collaborative nature of the open source community;
> one have to admit that in some cases it is the the revenue generated by
> the "proprietary" systems and services that makes the "free sharing" of
> knowledge, innovation and the very open source community possible.
> One has to admit that at some point someone has to pay the bills. One
> would be hard pressed to argue that GNU/Linux (or even the open source
> community itself) could have survived without the patronage of the
> corporate entities that so jealously guard their intellectual properties.
Soooo, to paraphrase.... Are you saying that we cannot ever share
knowledge without someone somewhere financing that knowledge or the act
The logic doesn't quite "click" for me. Imagine I write some code, and
retain copyright on it, but share it under GPL. I still own the
copyright. Now imagine this code becomes known as THE way to do XXXX.
Now you, a proprietary company who jealously guards your "intellectual
property", comes across my code and realize the man hours involved in
recreating the functionality is way more expensive than just using my
code. You opt to use my code without changes because it only
facilitates and is a small part of your main application. It is still
under GPL, and I still own the copyright, and you are still free to use
it (assuming you distribute my code with your application). At this
point has there been any patronage? Nope.
Now imagine you want a new feature added to the code, and would rather
hire me to make the 1 hour change, instead of paying your developers a
few days to get up to speed on the code. Whether that change ends up
being your code or part of the core GPL'd code is open for negotiation.
But the project still improves, and I've made some cash. Still no
Now imagine that this happens enough that I begin to be seen as a large
corporation that happens to finance the code. Or perhaps my code
becomes so critical to your application that you decide to contribute
large amounts to the ongoing development of my code. Still no patronage
though - just standard business.
But being the devil's advocate sort of guy I am, I can say I DO see
projects that would die without some form of patronage.
So, I think your argument is one of perspective. If you are 100 miles
up looking down and only see "small" patches of trees, well, that is a
completely different view than the guy standing in the middle of one of
those patches and all he sees is trees. Neither view can be accurate
without allowing for the other. Your argument seems to only take the
100 mile high perspective.
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