[kwlug-disc] the intertoobz never forget

Chris Frey cdfrey at foursquare.net
Sat Oct 10 04:17:06 EDT 2009


On Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 02:17:53AM -0400, unsolicited wrote:
> I'm mostly thinking about one-off app development here, for internal 
> use, rather than an on-going development effort for an evolving app 
> that you expect to use and grow with for some significant period of 
> time. Is the latter the direction from which you're coming on this?


I'm referring to John's point:

>   Not quite. I meant the more people and companies that rely on Open source
>   the more contributions will be made to support it the software they rely
>   on for income.  Not only will small consultants provide changes to
>   specific applications (Drupal??, etc), but core technology vendors like
>   Intel, AMD, IBM and HP will help to advance core technologies like Linux.
>
>   Changes that are made by end users do not have to be distributed.


so...


On Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 02:17:53AM -0400, unsolicited wrote:
> Chris Frey wrote, On 10/10/2009 12:02 AM:
> >And always going back to the source code to include your own changes
> >eliminates some of the advantage of using a distribution.
> 
> But this last implies widespread use of your modifications within your 
> organization. I would have expected such changes to be more one off.

An application written in-house (whether one-off or not) is not likely
to be contributed back, in my opinion.  It would need to start its
own project just for that app, and if its logic is focused on internal
company behaviour, then the only benefit the company got from writing it
was using an open platform.  There's little use in sharing it, unless it
really is general use, or you're a Netscape that wants to donate Mozilla.

I'm referring to the tweaking of, and adding features to, an existing
open source project -- projects that actually have an upstream to send
patches to.

For example, I made a small change to xscreensaver to log even successful
unlocking of a locked desktop.  I sent the patch upstream, but it was
rejected as a feature the author didn't agree on.  So if I want this
feature, I need to download the Debian source package, apply the patch,
build the binary, and install it manually.  I also need to watch the
Debian repos for security updates, and update it manually if there's a
security fix.

This is the kind of drag that can add up over time, and which would be
a cost saving to contribute back.  In connection with John's point,
there's nothing in the license that forces end users to share it, but
it makes sense to do it anyway.  The bigger and more invasive these
changes are to an already-existing project, the more sense it makes
to contribute back, at least from a cost perspective.  Maybe not from
a profit one.

- Chris


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