OSS (was Re: Stand Alone Erlang)

Peter-Henry Mander <>
Fri Mar 12 12:42:00 CET 2004


Thanks Joe,

I've always had a hunch about this, but you've made the reasons crystal
clear. Thanks for the political ammunition, it will be *very* useful.

Pete. 

On Fri, 12 Mar 2004 10:57:27 +0100 (CET)
Joe Armstrong <> wrote:

> > Perhaps I might kick off the issue of OSS on erlang-questions. How
> > does one convince the non-technical bean counters that using and
> > _providing_ OSS is of commercial benefit? And that opening source
> > code may generate goodwill (something that SCO Group is suffering a
> > severe lack thereof!) leading to sales.
> 
> I would argue that S/W falls into several different categories
> 
> 	1) Pre-competitive
> 	2) Competitive
> 	3) General odds and sods 
> 
> 1) Is a when different companies co-operate with each other to produce
> a market - without the market there is no competition. 
> 
> 2) Competitive is what you live off - this you keep secret
> 
> 3) Is general improvements to everybody.
> 
>   Now suppose you make better test-suits  - who stands to gain? - your
> products  might be  useless unless  they can  interoperatate  with the
> other  guy's products -  so I  guess test-suits  are a  1) -  they are
> pre-condition  that you get  to the  point of  competing in  the first
> place.
> 
>  If you are alone in the market - no worries - release all! - why?
> 
>  What can happen:
> 
> 	a) nobody is interested -> no threat
> 	b) people find bugs -> great, a positive benefit
> 	c) people steal your ideas -> great - you were on the right
> 	track
> 	   the market *expands* (because you had the right idea) *but*
> 	   (a big but) you were first - and will hopefully always stay
> 	   ahead - by being first you have more knowledge of the problem
> 	   that other follow (steal) acknowledges your leadership.
> 	   Your can even sell updates to them :-)
> 
>   You can choose to be in the commercial market place swapping ideas -
> building upon the  work of others - or sit in  the corner keeping your
> ideas to yourself - but your ideas will not grow if you do not share
> them.
> 
>   Giving your software away is  symmetric processes - if you give your
> stuff away, what do you get back?
> 
> 	- bug-fixes (nice to have - saves you work)
> 	- feedback - ideas - every time I post S/W to the net I get
> 	  feedback - people find bugs and have new ideas for great new
> 	  things.
> 
>   Imagine - you post your S/W to  the net - some guy takes the S/W has
> a great idea - mails you and  ... wow ... this is your next product.
> 
> > 
> > But hey! I'm a naive soft-hearted programmer who knows nothing about
> > the hard tooth-and-nail world of commerce!
> > 
> > Maybe geeks and suits will never really understand each other...
> > 
> 
>   They will - explain that the code is not really important but that
>   the ideas
> behind the code are. Explain that by cutting off the flow of code you
> are cutting off the flow of ideas.
> 
> Explain that without new ideas your products will fail.
> 
> Explain that you are using Erlang because it is a new idea.
> 
> If despite this you don't want to use new ideas - go and use Java -
> go and keep all your ideas secret.
> 
>  
> 
> /Joe
> 
> > Pete.
> > 
> > P.s. However, if what we're doing interests you as a customer, Hal,
> > please visit http://www.newport-networks.com/ and we can discuss
> > this at a commercial level :-)
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > On Thu, 11 Mar 2004 08:40:58 -0600
> > Hal Snyder <> wrote:
> > 
> > > 
> > > Sounds interesting. Are outside collaboraters allowed?
> > 
> > 
> 


-- 
"The Tao of Programming
 flows far away 
 and returns 
 on the wind of morning."




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