When freedom is compulsory, can it still be called freedom?(anonymous ftp)
While I can't help applauding some practical consequences of the Open Source movement, I find the ideology behind it rather scatological.
As it stands, there is balance in the force. But not necessarily due to the quality of say, ahem, Linux, but thanks rather to the suckiness of some of the non-Open Source players. Apple stands proof that brilliant products are indeed possible in the world of proprietary designs.
I enjoy writing software and I take pride in my work. I am most happy when my code helps people solving practical problems. But I also enjoy getting paid for my work, at the fair market rate.
Yet the collaborative model of Open Source is effective. When people work together, they tend to become a distributed system with tolerance to faults, and with opportunities for major fun. What lacks is the opportunity (for the worker bees) to make a major buck. Once the Source goes Open it somewhat starts attracting more dung flies than worker bees.
What I would love to see is a system where people have fun building a cathedral right next to the bazaar.
The two-digit IQ-ers (merchants, thieves, and bums that frequent the bazaar) have to pay to enter the cathedral, and cathedral builders share the profits (which may be monetary or otherwise, as some may chose to contribute for good karma or posthumous glory, and have their source code shine in its eternal simplicity and elegance).
How can we achieve a development model that accommodates a pragmatic mix of open and closed source, thus satisfying the individual needs of the people involved?
There are technical and non-technical options. The possible non-technical include:
- have all contributors adhere to a honor system (weak, because we all know how human nature works);
- have everybody sign NDA-s and contracts (may quickly degenerate into "my lawyers against their lawyers" situations);
- have someone of good morals and notorious character appointed (elected?) leader, arbiter, gatekeeper and distributor of profits, after careful weighing every body's contribution (yeah right, look at our elected leaders).
The major challenge for this approach of mixing and matching open and closed modules is the lack of binary standards in environments such as C++ (the Itanium ABI is still young) and Linux. This fluidity is purposely perpetrated by Linux and GCC, and even enforced by the LGPL that prevents statical linkage as a workaround for runtime "platforms" that are as stable as quicksand.
In a future installment, I will go over my attempts to create a platform that allows a mix of open source and closed IP within the same project, when I started the Zero Debugger project.