[UPHPU] The Role of F/OSS

Daniel C. dcrookston at gmail.com
Tue Jun 7 10:52:10 MDT 2005


What with all the talk recently about the philosophy, religion,
marketplace role, and whatever else of FOSS, I was reminded of this
talk on IT Conversations I heard that I think does an absolutely
brilliant job of describing how open source software benefits
businesses (which compete in a cut-throat capitalist market) by being
open and free.  Here's a link:

http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail494.html

The executive summary is that (and I'm always bad at this sort of
thing, forgive me if this makes no sense)... well let's start out with
some precepts upon which to base the argument.

1. Businesses have to constantly evolve (do something new and
different than their competitors) in order to survive.
2. When one business starts doing something new, and it gives them an
advantage, their competitors will imitate them, and eventually the
thing that was once new and a competitive advantage becomes merely
expected.
3. The businesses can't just stop doing this thing because everyone
expects it, but it's not earning them money because it doesn't set
them apart from their competitors.

This is where F/OSS steps in.  Once something that was once new and
provided the one company that had it with an advantage becomes
commonplace and more of a cost than an income generating part of the
business, it's to the advantage of all businesses involved to
collaborate on coming up with the cheapest possible way to do it. 
This of course is what OSS does - everyone gets the same nice, high
quality web server for free.

The guy in the talk does a better job of it than I just did.  IT
Conversations has lots of good stuff, I get an email from them once a
week and usually listen to at least one of the talks they have.

Dan




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