[kwlug-disc] the intertoobz never forget

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Sat Oct 10 02:28:50 EDT 2009

Bob Jonkman wrote, On 10/09/2009 11:32 PM:
> Chris Frey wrote:
>> Sharing changes back to the community is a cost cutting measure.
>> The more you use FOSS, and the more changes you make, the more
>> of a headache maintaining your own little version will be.
>> I think it's a self-correcting problem, in many ways.
> Do you mean that making and maintaining changes in isolation is 
> expensive, but making changes, contributing them back and then having 
> the community maintain the changes is less expensive?
> I can see the benefit in the latter.  There is benefit in the former 
> only if the changes kept secret earn more income than the cost of the 
> maintenance.
> I think that part of the problem of companies not contributing their 
> changes back to the community is that those companies prize their 
> Intellectual Property of the code too highly.  Which is why they want 
> patents, so that other companies with clever programmers aren't allowed 
> to make the same changes.  <sigh>

This is part of the point I was aiming at - a misguided assumption 
that the code has any value as Intellectual Property.

It's the people, people - it's how the app is used, not the app 
itself, that is valuable. The app is a one-off one-time expense.

As has been pointed out before, you'll spent far more on training and 
marketing than you will on hardware or software.

Whether or not you contribute the code back, you'll still have those 
expenses. And there are greater than zero benefits to contributing the 
code back.

Perhaps the impression is that uniqueness has value? Without asking 
the question of 'how significantly unique'? [Dancing Bear: People clap 
for the bear dancing, without noticing whether the bear dances well or 

I can't help but think of Apache and IIS. First ... how many web 
servers were there before and during? Second ... suppose apache were 
proprietary - the 'owners' would be rich, today, if it were. But, 
third ... if it were proprietary ... it wouldn't be Apache - one of 
the others would be at the forefront.

Is this all just another level of paradigm shift from 'build it and 
they will come.'? IIS thought this. Apache proves it ain't so?

Or, you have to satisfy a need, not build a product and hope people 
will buy it (that it satisfies a need they, not you, have)?

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