Thursday, February 27, 2003

The Success of Open Source

open source :: programming

Notes: Weber (Steve, Not Max): The Success of Open Source: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal

"People often see in the open source software movement the politics
that they would lke to see -- a libertarian reverie, a perfect
meritocracy, a utopian 'gift culture' that celebrates an economics of
abundance instead of scarcity, a 'virtual' or electronic existence
proof of communitarian ideals, a political movement aimed at replacing
obsolete 19th century capitalist structures with new 'relations of
production' more suited to the information age." "No one says that
hierarchical coordination is efficient, only that it is less
inefficient than alternatives."

This guy seems to address many of the questions that business
leaders around the world are asking themselves. The quote that Brad
DeLong has on his site addresses the following:

* Motivation: Why do highly-talented programmers voluntary allocate
some or a substantial portion of their time and mind-space to a joint
project for which they will not be compensated?

* Coordination: How and why do these individuals coordinate their contributions on a single 'focal point'?

* Complexity: Brooks's Law: in software program lines written scale
linearly with the number of programmers, while complexity and
vulnerability to mistakes scale geometrically. How does open source
avoid falling into the trap of Brooks's Law, and the resulting dynamic
toward more and more hierarchical forms of organization?

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