Re: The Halloween Memo

Dave Long (
Wed, 4 Nov 1998 13:49:05 -0800

>2. Can OSS really innovate?

Trolling, Rohit?

Science, evolution, the charts showing the "history of silicon valley" in
the family tree of spinoffs -- it's difficult to argue that innovation
requires massive levels of management or strong central leadership. In
fact, if one is saddled with either, hopefully one's process can stand a
good dose of the Peter Principle.

When do you need command and control? OSS is probably *very* poor at
managing a product such that one can extract maximal rents, and that's the
itch that a vendor such as MSFT cares about scratching. (if not the vendor,
at least the vendor's owners)

Of course, the advantages of open source only accrue to those for whom the
source matters. It's difficult to imagine a clerk using a Point-Of-Sale
system being able to make much use of the code. Sure, they'll be able to
tell you what's wrong with its behavior, and maybe even what would be
better, but at a level of abstraction well removed from the code itself.
Are there any good examples (some Mac goodies, perhaps?) of widespread naive
end-user customization?