Commercial organization suckage wrt Samba

Christopher R. Hertel crh at
Fri Dec 17 03:15:57 GMT 1999

> Luke referred to commercial organizations sucking off of the Samba effort
> and giving nothing in return.

Big business has smelled the roses of the Open Source movement.  They've 
seen Red Hat, VA Linux, etc. fly with this stuff and believe that they 
are entitled to their share.

Big business being big business, and Open Source being Open Source, there
is a culture gap to be faced.  What makes the Linux start-ups successful
is that they've come to grips with this and are forging a new model.  It's
not a perfect model but there is, at least, some effort.  The real test
will be seeing how much these newly-made millionairs put back into the

Many people in the commercial world cannot bring themselves to grasp the 
Open Source way of thinking.  Our currency is different than theirs.  We 
deal in cooperation, fun, learning, philosophy, social values, etc.  
These things often mean nothing to people who are used to dealing in 
terms of money.  Their work, their time, their thoughts all objects to be 
exchanged for money.

Here in the US, most people are comfortable with the idea that you cannot 
own the air we breath.  Yet we have no trouble with the idea that you can 
own land or a lake full of water or the fish in that lake.  (Minnesota 
has over 15,000 small lakes and yes, I do know someone who owns an entire 

Then there is "intellectual property".  Again, some people believe that
ideas are objects that can be bought, sold, and owned, and that they can
put up big "No Trespassing" signs.  Did you know that there is a patent on
the XOR operation?

There are, of course, a spectrum of opinions regarding what ideas may and 
may not be considered property.  The Open Source movement is founded in 
the belief that ideas should be shared, for the benefit of all.

That sharing has its own currency.  When I first started using Open 
Source software I had little to give in return.  I started writing my 
binary tree modules just so I'd have *something*.  It worked.  :)

There is, however, no money involved in that kind of environment.  To
someone who deals entirely in terms of ideas as property to be traded for
money, this is inconceivable.  They *can't* get it, as it contradicts
their very being.  This profound lack of understanding causes all sorts of

If, in a ideas-for-money context, you give ideas away for free then the
ideas must not be worth anything.  Either that, or you are being
compensated in some other way and, thus, 'owe' your time to the community.
This latter is more-or-less true in an Open Source community.  The problem
is that the ideas-for-money crowd doesn't know how to be part of that

Your pen-pals are obviously under the impression that we owe them our time
and effort.  They don't understand that they have to put in to get out.  
Further, they won't understand that what they get out will not belong to 
them even if they do put in.  Our model is one of continued gain for 
all--everybody wins.  Theirs is a competitive model in which the degree 
of winning is measured not only by what you have, but by what the others 
do not have.  This be the crux of the problem.

Richard:  I have also been approached recently, by some companies
          interested in jCIFS.  Unlike the TI folk, the people I've heard
          from are willing to hire someone full-time to develop code that
          will be returned to the community under the GPL.  Everybody
          wins.  Some folks *do* get it. 

Chris -)-----

             -- I have a shoehorn, the kind with teeth. --
Christopher R. Hertel -)-----                   University of Minnesota
crh at              Networking and Telecommunications Services

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