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SubjectRE: [OT] Re: Troll Tech [was Re: Sco vs. IBM]
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In point of fact I don't agree at all with the assertion that "companies
doing proprietary work are doing (all/nearly all/most) the innovation"
because that is statistically false.

There is a huge volume of innovation that is happening non-commercially.

The fact that an even more huge number of OSS (Free) software is made to
interoperate with, mimic, or replace proprietary systems leads the lazy mind
to a false perception that there is no open source innovation or at least
the size of same is insignificant.

The "lazy mind" part comes in two flavors.

1) Proprietary vendor makes feature X, OSS guy makes completely independent
X, so OSS guy is useless and didn't really innovate. A current hot-line
example is "Symmetric Multi-Processing". IBM created "multiprocessing"
decades ago and it has existed in all of their mainframe lines (check out
any IBM 360 and 370 docs). SCO claims to have "invented SMP" because there
is some in "their" Unix System V product code. Linux has SMP code that
totally transcends the Unix cruft. But who had the idea first and who stole
from whom gets lost in the rhetoric. Who was the innovator? The idea that
whatever was built by the Linux SMP stuff "didn't innovate" because some of
the gross-scale labels are the same is just plain lazy thinking.

2) EVEN IF 99.9% of all the open source software is mimicry of something
else, The only definition of "more innovation" that has any meaning is the
comparison of the "weight of innovation" between the 0.1% non-mimicry OSS
and the whatever-percent of non-mimicry is happening in proprietary
software. It is easy for the lazy analyst to maintain that the "weight of
innovation" taking place on either side of the line is either bolstered or
poisoned by its ratio to total output, but that is not the case.

Neither dollars spent nor ego committed to a product line is a measure of
"innovation." You can only make a comparison if you refine away (throw out)
every element that is not innovative and then compare the remainders.

Its like art. Saying that all the innovation is happening in proprietary
software because there is so much mimicware in open source is like saying
all the good music is being made by the RIAA because you can see that all
the bad garage bands mean that "'on the whole' there are no good musicians
out there that aren't getting paid for it."

Don't be myopic.

Creativity and innovation happen because of the actions of individuals.
Companies spend money to put out good software, but they also make lots of
crapware. OSS Individuals spend good time to make good software because
they need good software, but they also make lots of crapware. And time is
money in every way that matters to the discussion of innovation.

There is a difference between focus and result. Companies focus because by
dint of where they think they can make capital returns on their investments.
Individuals focus by dint of where they think they can improve their
situation. When you apply that to software, individuals make software that
will improve their lives and companies make software they think they can
sell.

More often than not, that means that the individuals working on their own
are going to be more focused on good, practical, not-overly-complicated,
easy to use, solutions while companies are being distracted by margins and
deadlines. That inevitably means that there will be a lot of
short-and-sloppy individual work. But *ideas* are short and sloppy, hence
the "rough idea" stage of any development. And once the rough idea exists,
the refinement to usability takes place to make each implementation
individually stand or fall.

And that focus is the core of innovation.

That a large self-organizing body of people which get together and "fix up"
the part they know, or care about, or need of a particular job-lot of ideas
means that the OSS model, when applied to thing "enough" people think are
important, will net a better product.

And, when it works, no company can marshal the pure brain power and *FOCUS*
to compete with that.

And when it doesn't work no company would send the resources down the pipe
that an OSS project can squander on a boondoggle.

All else is posing or whining or tawdry lament.

Rob.

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