[cc-licenses] Founders as a module? was Re: Getting to Version 3.0

Greg London email at greglondon.com
Fri May 26 09:21:50 EDT 2006


>> You can either get a small number of people to work
>> a large number of hours to get N hours
>>
>> p * H = N
>>
>> or you can get a large number of people to work small
>> numbers of hours to get N hours total.
>>
>> P * h = N
>
> Honestly, I know what you are getting at, and don't
> disagree with that. But, this is not correct.
>
> See for instance:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month

Oh for Pete's sake. I've read the book, twice at least.
I get it. And I also get that I'm not talking about
one person has a baby in 9 months so two people can do
it in 4.5 months.

Compare Microsoft paying a relatively small set of
employees to work full time on software development
with wikipedia not paying anyone but having a massive
number of contributers who make small additions to
the project.

A few workers spending long hours versus
a whole lot of people contributing small labors.

To use another common metaphor, how about building a barn?

You can either hire a construction company to do it.
They'll come out with a small group of full time
employees and build your barn. Or you can try to
create a barn raising and get the whole town to come
out and have everyone do a little bit.

Those are the two basic flavors.

And the point is that a Sunset License doesn't change this.
A sunset license is still having one person or a small
group of people create some new work, they license it
"sunset", they keep the exclusive right to make money
off of it for a number of years, and then they release it
to CC-BY or something.

>> You, one person, did the entire job, and you got paid
>> directly for all of your work. That is top-down mode
>> That's cathedral. It doesn't matter that the raw
>> materials you used were GPL.
>
> Nope, you are wrong here. I took an existing small GPL
> program. Made a few small but very valuable changes to it,
> got paid for a few hours work and left the program for the
> next person to improve as needed.

You did all the changes yourself.
The company didn't simply put out the request to the
entire community and try to get a bunch of people
to do it in their spare time. It wasn't a barn raising.
You were brought in as a contractor to build a barn.

The fact that the hammer you used was GPL doesn't matter.

>From the perspective of the company who hired you,
they hired you to build a barn, they didn't get everyone
to come in and do a community barn raising.

The fact that GPL software existed that was *almost*
what they wanted doesn't matter. They paid you to work
full time on it to change it from what it was to what
they wanted. They didn't ask the barn raising community
to do it for free.

The community collectively wrote the GPL software
bottom up. The company decided they wanted something
else. They dictated to you, top down, what they wanted,
and you worked on it and were compensated monetarily for
your time.

The company wasn't part of the community. It wasn't a barn
raising. They paid you to come in and make the barn they
wanted, not the barn that the community built.

That one transaction was top down, cathedral style.

Because the modification went back into the community
version doesn't change that. Your addition wasn't a
gift economy transaction. It was a market economy transaction.

But they were paying you for your labor, for the service
you provided, they were NOT paying you for the software.
So the change you made could go back intot he community
version. But the transaction was top down, cathedral style.


-- 
Barbara Bauer makes SFWA's 20 Worst Literary Agencies list
http://www.sfwa.org/beware/twentyworst.html




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