# RE: More math and open source

From: Jeff Barr (jeff@vertexdev.com)
Date: Mon Sep 18 2000 - 23:25:50 PDT

Looking through the pieces of this thread over the
past couple of days, here's my quick observation.
(even tying in the math concept).

Imagine a 2-d plane, 10x10 units in size.

* The first (x) axis is a measure of how much input that
users have into the software development process.
Input could be anything from suggestions to
contributions of code.

* The second (y) axis is a measure of how much visibility
the user has into the development process. From
seeing and knowing nothing (not even advance notice
to and including source access.

We can then "plot" various projects as points on this
plane:

* At the 0,0 point we have software developed in
isolation, with no external input and no source
availability.

* at the 9,9 point we have the most open of all
possible open source projects. I think that Linux
is in this ballpark.

* The line of the form (X=n) represents projects that
increasing provide more in the way of source as y
increases. At y=0 you get no source, at y=5 you
might get source for significant non-core parts, and
at y=9 you get the whole ball of wax. For example,
I think that much of what Userland releases is
at the y=5 point. There is a lot of source included,
but there is a compiled and non-sourced kernel. I'm
not making a judgement on this, its a great mid-point
example. Microsoft Windows has y=0, and Linux has
y=9.

* The line of the form (Y=n) represents projects that
increasingly allow the user to interact with and
contribute to the development process. Commercial
software has x values between, say 0 and 4. Open
source ends up in the high end of the range, with
variations based on how responsive the developers
are to outside influences -- do they listen and
respond to what the users request.

Does this make any sense? If so, feel free to name
this after me. If not, well I never said anything...

Jeff;

Jeff Barr - Home: 425-836-5624 Office: 425-936-3098
mailto:jeff@vertexdev.com
http://www.vertexdev.com/~jeff
http://jeffbarr.editthispage.com/
4610 191st Place NE. Redmond, WA

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Day [mailto:markday@cisco.com]
Sent: Monday, September 18, 2000 9:51 PM
To: Jeff Bone; Dave Winer
Cc: Kragen Sitaker; fork@kragen.dnaco.net
Subject: RE: More math and open source

> I'm
> just not sure losing sleep over what "open source" really means
> is worthwhile.
> Unless you happen to be RMS, maybe, but hopefully somebody is
> paying for him to
> see a really good therapist.

I assumed he had enough money from the MacArthur to pay for a good therapist
himself, if needed. Although I suppose the rates can be pretty steep.

--Mark

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