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

drew Roberts zotz at 100jamz.com
Fri May 26 09:41:20 EDT 2006


On Friday 26 May 2006 09:21 am, Greg London wrote:
> >> 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.

No need to get hot on that one Greg. I agree with you point and stated that. I 
am just trying to help you refine the explanation for the future.
>
> 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?

I dont disagree with your main point.
>
> 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.

No problem.
>
> >> 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.

I guess I am looking at a bigger picture. With code at least, my barn is your 
barn if it under the GPL.
>
> 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.

To me, the bazaar is even more than one project and how it is organised. (I 
know I am going astray from the metaphor somewhat here as well.) To me it is 
all of these projects being built in an uncoordinated manner where the 
licenses permit the taking of good ideas and code from the guy in the booth 
down the street a bit.

So, from the point of view of the final program and its useful features, I 
think it was more a bazaar type developement. To me, that is a beauty of the 
GPL. We worked on improving the program without even communicating.

I think this is often pointed out when people talk up the benefits of 
releasing your "private" modifications to a project and getting them included 
into the main code base.

If you keep you mods private, which the GPL permits so long as you don't 
distribute, you need to keep them working with each new release. If you get 
them rolled in, you can forget about them if you wish.
>
> 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.

Perhaps we just have different mental models and htis is causing what friction 
exists.
>
> 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.

In this case, to my knowledge, one guy wrote the software on his own. I found 
it and added functionality. I don't know what happened after that, but a year 
or so later, the functionality I added was available in the standard distros. 
If that came from my stuff or came about independantly I don't care. It is 
there for me now when I need it.
>
> 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.

Greg, once again, you are the one here who is concerned with the gift economy 
and the market economy, not me. I am concerned with Free Software and Free 
Art/Culture/Whatever.
>
> But they were paying you for your labor, for the service
> you provided, they were NOT paying you for the software.

They sure were, but I could have sold them the software as well. (Charged them 
for transferring the copy in my posession to them. I tend not to do this, but 
I can.)

> So the change you made could go back intot he community
> version. But the transaction was top down, cathedral style.

Like I say, I tend to look at how the overall program gets made, not at the 
transaction involved in any particular code addition. For further discussion, 
how do you view all of the people who work on GPL projects on t heir full 
time jobs?

all the best,

drew
-- 
http://www.ourmedia.org/node/145261
Record a song and you might win $1,000.00
http://www.ourmedia.org/user/17145




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