On 07/07/2009, at 8:26 AM, Pete Helgren wrote:

There are probably a few dozen
folks on the list who really understand the value of F/OSS and make it
part of their mission to promote it.

I'd like to understand this. Perhaps you can explain it to me.

I can see that F/OSS has value to the end-user. That is they get software to perform a given task and it doesn't cost them anything in license fees. There is a cost to install (and possibly package depending on target platform), customise, and for some types to maintain the software. By maintain here I mean keep it running in their environment.

However, what is the benefit to the creator of the F/OSS software? I've made trivial code available in the past but I wouldn't release the source to anything non-trivial even if I can't manage to sell it. I might make the compiled objects freely available but I would never release the source. What is the benefit to me if I do?

If I port F/OSS code to OS/400, and make the port public, I would make that source available because it's part of the deal but if I wrap that F/OSS source in a native interface I may choose not to release the source for that part of it. In general, that may not be in the spirit of F/OSS but it's certainly within the strict legal interpretation of many OSS licences.

I make my living from writing software. If I give away the application how do I make a living? If I give away the source how to I benefit from my efforts? I'll get kudos for making something useful available to the masses but that doesn't feed me.

Seems to me that most people who make F/OSS available already have another job that provides their living. In that case they can afford to give it away--they're doing it for the glory. In other cases the F/ OSS development is sponsored by someone (usually a company) so again development costs are covered.

Seems to me that your use of "promote" in the quoted sentence is aimed at making use of someone else's efforts. That is, promoting the use of existing F/OSS that can run on our system even if it's only in PASE rather than a native port. Where is the "promotion" of native F/OSS? Where is the ROI for the developer of such native F/OSS?

Further, if the PASE variant is so useful, and you adhere to the ideals of F/OSS, why do you not put effort into making a native port?

What am I missing about this utopian ideal?

NOTE: This is probably becoming a general discussion rather than RPG- specific so responses should be directed to the Midrange-L list.

Simon Coulter.
FlyByNight Software OS/400, i5/OS Technical Specialists

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