driver and device reliability authentication and DRM monoopolisation
Posted Jul 22, 2003 13:54 UTC (Tue) by ggoebel
In reply to: driver and device reliability authentication and DRM monoopolisation
Parent article: 2003 Kernel Summit: High Availability
> Truly decentralised trust management is an inherently very
> difficult thing to achieve, which is part of the reason why
> people are so dependant upon centralised banks to control the
> thing we call money...
Actually decentralized banking worked quite well before central governments eliminated them. And if you examine the collapse of the corrupt second Bank of the US and the State Banking Era (1837-1862), you'd see that decentralized banking has remerged when trust and efficiency were required.
Open Source gives much the same advantage: trust and effieciency through an open distributed meritocracy. Who cares if you can get signed drivers? What is the signature worth?
Decentralized trust management is in fact easy to achieve and scale. We do it every day. You do it when you ask a friend for a recommendation on a contractor or dentist, write a book review on Amazon, or read Consumer Reports before buying a dish washer.
It is based on reputations and chains of trust. Linus accepts patches from people he trusts or code he himself will examine and vouch for. And likewise down the chain of trust to the person submitting her first patch. And as a direct consequence, bugs get fixed and features added in direct proportion to how much it matters to the people involved. Show me a centralized control process that scales better.
Your warning of danger is misplaced. The primary way a monopoly can form under open source licensing is through merit. Which is why everyone still regularly attempts to merge their forks back in with Linus' kernel. The only other way to gain a monopoly is through fear, which I'd argue is what SCO/Caldera is attempting at the moment.
You should read your Machiavelli. Any single vendor who depends on goodwill to maintain a position of power can lose that goodwill as easily as they gained it. Sure there is inertia to overcome, but even Linus could conceivably be knocked from his roost. And might have been in the not to distant past, if he hadn't started using BitKeeper and improved his ability merge patches faster.
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