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And free software projects have a notorious habit of not going the final km.
Mark Shuttleworth on companies and free software
Posted May 17, 2011 18:43 UTC (Tue) by tdwebste (guest, #18154)
This may not a bad thing for shared development. Companies who sell hardware components or developer services benefit from the expanded application market created for their devices and services by the shared development effort enforced by GPL licenses.
Unfortunately Companies who create applications compete with every other application developer often without much customer loyalty. To gain customer loyalty these Companies need to be able to provide something other competing cannot. BSD and dual-licenses to the rescue. These licenses allow Companies to benefit from the development effort of others without sharing the hard bits.
BSD and dual-licenses result in fragmentation and wasted effort, because the hard bits are not shared. Solutions from Companies with the largest market share winning out. Not necessarily the best solutions.
GPL fragmentation is actually a good thing because others can observe and experiment with the alternate solutions to the hard bits, with finally the best solutions winning out.
Learning, observing and experimenting is essential for training the next generation of developers who build on the experience of the last, solving new problems.
Posted May 17, 2011 21:50 UTC (Tue) by dgm (subscriber, #49227)
Maybe the amount of work you mention is the very reason why some projects don't walk that extra Km. It's a very uphill one.
Posted May 18, 2011 7:36 UTC (Wed) by ingwa (subscriber, #71149)
I'm pretty sure that this is the reason. But some projects actually do, even if there are no company behind it, even if it's rare. Krita, to take an example in my neigborhood, is handled very professionally. But you need to involve other skills than just software development, and that's also not something that many free software projects do.
Posted May 18, 2011 8:11 UTC (Wed) by michaeljt (subscriber, #39183)
Perhaps a strong focus on making it easy for others to contribute would help too. But that is also boring once your software does what you want it to.
Posted May 22, 2011 0:30 UTC (Sun) by pflugstad (subscriber, #224)
This is covered in the first 5 pages of the book, which can usually be read online from Amazon. And it jives very well with every software project I've been involved in over ~20 years.
Anyone who does software as a profession needs to have read this book. And if your manager has not - find a new manager.
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