Re: Free Lunches (was: OUTREACH 101)

Peter C. McCluskey (
Sun, 21 Dec 1997 22:26:43 -0800 (Wayne Hayes) writes:
>The interesting question is "Why are Linux and GNU so successful, given
>that they are written by people who aren't being paid?" The answer, at
>least in part (and in my opinion almost entirely), is because the
>people who write the software do it on their own time, because they
>*enjoy* writing good software. An important practical factor in this
>equation is that there are no deadline pressures to "get a product
>out". So things get done slowly, but they get done *right*, and they
>get it done right *the first time*, usually.

A poor explanation. My impression is that bugs and poor designs are
introduced about as often in freeware as in commercial software, and
that user demands for improvements create similar pressures as those
that competent managers produce at commercial companies.
And anyone who thinks freeware gets done slower should compare the
speed of bug fixes.

Eric Raymond has a much better explanation for the success of Linux
style software in his "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" paper at:
His main point is that debugging can be effectively parallelized with
much greater brainpower when the source is freely shared.

Peter McCluskey          | caffeine   O   CH3            |            ||  | |      H3C   C   N
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