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SubjectRe: [OT] Re: Troll Tech [was Re: Sco vs. IBM]
On Wednesday 25 June 2003 22:29, Robert White wrote:
> 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.
[snip good stuff]

> 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.


> 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.

All good stuff. Plus a little observation...

Anybody else notice that US colleges and universities are producing less and
less original research?

It used to be that any research done by a school became public information.
This includes any research paid for by either private companies OR government

somewhere along the way (around 1970-80) this changed.

Now the research becomes propriatary to the funding agency, and the government
research quietly gets passed to a contracting company, and becomes

The people that DID the research disappear into companies, and no longer
contribute anything (other than to the company).

Research that was paid for by the public (via the government funding) and the
facilities used by the researchers (partially paid for by companies) has

New research can't be done...

Quite frequently, original software is doen the same way. My first exposure
to that was the RSA security algorithm (My instructor was one of the
publication evaluators for the paper). Since the algorithm was propriatary,
nothing could be done with it. Hell, we thought about implementing it just to
see what we could do with it, but were discouraged by the fact that we would
not be able to release anything. So, no software, no innovation, no usage
until it was implemented in a country that didn't support that restriction.

Then the algorithm + software went everywhere... with BIG warnings about not
using it in the US.

Current research (and software innovation) is moving out of the US because it
is just not worth doing it here. The public pays for it, and gets amost
nothing back - except more charges for attempting to use it.

One thing I like about the GPL is that it prevents the stealing from the
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