[long] Legal traps in open source

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Sat Nov 2 00:41:50 EST 2002

Steve Jenkin wrote:
> It is _very_ surprising to 'standard' economic models

The catch is that standard economic models are based on the exchange of 
tokens.  Once you've exchanged a token for some good, service or other 
type of token, you can't exchange that token for anything else - it's 
not yours anymore.

What most economic models fail to realise is that value comes from the 
work input as well as the capital input.  Thus a car is worth more in 
tokens than various lumps of metal and plastic.

Software is entirely work input, with no capital.  Even worse - you can 
exchange it for something else, and still have it.

> For people locked into the big-business 'factory mode' of thinking, _nothing_
> 'decent' could be made for less than $5M [~50 man years].

I agree with that part of the mindset - how many hours of effort went 
into such projects as Samba or Apache (or even thttpd or boa)?  (And 
yet, how many times do you see people wishing to provide a graphic 
interface to their embedded system, develop their own web server?)

> The fact that it does [for lots of good reasons you've given] shows their models
> are wrong.

For the given domain.

Economic models are still as valid as they ever were for domains where 
tokens are exchanged for items of value.


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