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SubjectRE: [OT] Re: Troll Tech [was Re: Sco vs. IBM]
Robert, nobody is disagreeing with this part of the discussion, that I
hear Larry saying is that this process isn't producing innovations, it is
almost exclusivly producing copies.

the companies doing propriatatry work are doing the innovation and the
fact that their ideas get copied quickly is reducing/eliminating their
return on investment and is killing them (some slowly some quickly)

one big reason why innovation is so much more expensive then copying is
that when you are innovating you spend a lot of time going down dead-ends,
you have to cover all that time spent and thrown away in the cost of the
product that you produce. when you are copying you get to avoid a lot of
these dead-ends becouse you know what the final product looks like, it's
much easier to work towards a known goal then to work towards something
that you think will work.

Then Larry asks the question 'what will we do if we kill off the companies
that are paying people to do this innovation and there isn't any more
software to copy'

David Lang

On Wed, 25 Jun 2003, Robert White

> Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 17:07:31 -0700
> From: Robert White <>
> To: Timothy Miller <>,
> David Woodhouse <>
> Cc: Larry McVoy <>, Werner Almesberger <>,
> Stephan von Krawczynski <>,,
> Subject: RE: [OT] Re: Troll Tech [was Re: Sco vs. IBM]
> People want to receive "payment" for "work".
> Fine, true, and desirable.
> But the missing piece in the capitalist mindset WRT/software is that those
> self-same capitalists don't want to pay for the work of others.
> In point of fact, the common intellectual domain, in particular the great
> source/sink of free software *doest* fit the pay-for-value model.
> The problem is that the current business people don't understand that the
> "free software" "costs" the promise to return contributions. The system is
> resilient enough to withstand a huge percentage of parasitism, so each
> business wants to say that they might as well a parasite too.
> The simple fact is that when you return your modifications to the pool, the
> "lost cost" of the man hours and mental effort spent to make that
> modification, insignificant to the value you took from the pool.
> When you return value to the pool, you have not "given away valuable
> property" you are paying (long due) bills for the larger type and number of
> works you have already taken possession of "on credit".
> Once you take that single step back you realize two things.
> 1) The total value you harvest dwarfs the total value you return (even in
> simple man hour payroll terms) so even if you spend a substantial outlay it
> is still a return on investment of remarkable proportions.
> 2) If software is the only thing you do, you are screwed because that
> immense return on investment is payment in kind so there is no "cash margin"
> from which to draw profit.
> The final conclusion is that "free software" works for every business model
> *EXCEPT* pure software sales. Absolutely every other model (e.g.
> "<anything> and no software at all" and "<anything> plus software") lets you
> "buy" ninety-plus percent of your "software part" for pennies. The fact
> that "nothing but software" times "free software" nets zero excess cash
> should surprise nobody. Yet it did surprise the entire 1990's economy...
> Irony can be so damn Ironic sometimes... 8-)
> There is no rational argument that this model "should somehow", in and of
> itself, with no further effort on your part, support you financially.
> Especially if you have decided that said support will come while you only
> fulfill the parasite role of taking what you will and returning nothing.
> Rob.
> -
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