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Subject: Development of Creative Commons licenses

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  • From: "Greg London" <email AT>
  • To: "Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts" <cc-licenses AT>
  • Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] Founders as a module? was Re: Getting to Version 3.0
  • Date: Sat, 27 May 2006 00:48:37 -0400 (EDT)

> On Thu, 2006-25-05 at 20:03 -0400, 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
> Kind of like how one woman makes a baby in 9 months,
> so 9 women can make a baby in one month? B-)


Or not.

> This is the mythical man-month fallacy; communications
> and organizational overhead between people takes a
> significant toll in terms of effort after p = 1.

no, you just assumed something about the formulas that wasn't correct:
lowercase reflects fewer numbers than UPPERCASE,
but no one said it had to be: lower = 1/UPPER.

cathedral: people * HOURS = Total
bazaar: PEOPLE * hours = Total




hours = project_hours + OvErHeAd

And if there is any pattern to successful bazaar projects,
the amount of OvErHeAd is small even as you add more people.

Wikipedia allows me to contribute something about
electrical engineering and your grandmother to
add something about Knitting. There is no overhead
between us. None. Zip. Nada. overhead remains constant
as you add me and your grandmother to the wikipedia project.
So, the mythical manmonth issue doesn't apply.

This is the objective measure of "chunkability" of a project:
Whether people can work without having to communicate
with each other every freakin' day. Wikipedia contributions
break into easy, small, chunks. And there is little or
no overhead between contributers working on differnt chunks,
which means OvErHeAd remains extremely low, regardless of
how many people you add. Adding people to the wikipedia
project does not make the project more late. It defies
that "law" of the mythical man-month. because the mythical
man-month is project centered, and if you can chunk something
up, you basically have separate projects.

The overhead in the linux project is somewhat higher
because modules have to functionally interact with
each other, applications have to run on top of
operating systems, yada, yada, so people have to
talk, stuff has to get worked out before an hours
worth of project contribution goes to the project
instead of the overhead.

Other projects require massive overhead as you add
people. Try writing a novel like Lord Of The Rings
with a team of 1000 people while keeping the characters
consistent, have a plot that develops over three books,
keep a consistent tone and voice, and have the
three stages of story development, and pull it all
off so readers like it because of its quality,
not because it's FLOSS. It's hard because all these
things about a novel require massive communication
and is HARD to communicate. Authors don't know
neccesarily know how to objectively describe their
voice or tone so that other writers simple "get" it.

So, projects that are chunkable, projects that
keep overhead low as you add more people,
can be accomplished by having a lot of people
make small contributions. i.e. bazaar:

many people * (few project hours + small overhead hours) = bazaar TOTAL

And projects that don't chunk easily, projects
that have overhead skyrocket as you add more and
more people, will natually tend to have few
people working together to keep overhead down,
and having them work full time on the project as
the job. i.e. cathedral:

few people * (many project hours + small overhead hours) = cathedral TOTAL

There is a single game:
how to create content that takes N man-hours to build.

There are two possible solutions:

Gift economy or market economy.
All Rights Reserved or GNU-GPL.
neither one has magical capabilities
that change the amount of man hours needed.

It's just that some projects chunk well
and have little overhead so gift-economy
and GNU-GPL or CC-SA make sense for them.

And for projects that don't chunk,
you're looking at All Rights Reserved,
and maybe CC-NC, or CC-Sunset, and
stuff like that.

WHich is why I keep saying the LICENSE
doesn't change the game or the solution
to the projects. The LICENSE All Rights
Reserved was CREATED to ENABLE one solution:
Cathedral style creations. The LICENSES
such as GNU-GPL and CC-SA were CREATED
to ENABLE another solution: Bazaar style

But neither license changes the game,
changes the projects, they just enable
solutions weren't possible before.

Barbara Bauer makes SFWA's 20 Worst Literary Agencies list

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