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Permanent link to archive for Sunday, December 30, 2001. Sunday, December 30, 2001

I've been watching Burning Bird flail about open source, and finally she says something worth pointing to. "You get what you pay for" is over the top. I don't support that and I'll argue with John about that assessment. It's a cheap shot. I know what it feels like to have someone say that about my software, stuff I worked hard on, and didn't charge money for. I don't put any less effort into making it usable when I am giving it away. To this day people say that about Manila because we give them free hosting on machines that are carrying a heavy load. And while it can be painful to hear, there's a deeper truth that the open source advocates can't hide from. They're really saying "I can't complain because I didn't pay for it." So to use a Doc-ism, there's no market conversation about open source. The developers don't listen to the users (they're famous for that) but even if they did, the users would be loathe to complain because they're not customers and they know it. 

Now it's interesting to note that, as far as I know, no one has ever said "You get what you pay for" about XML-RPC. This says to me that, intuitively, people know that formats and protocols should be free of cost and totally open. Maybe "should" is too weak a word -- maybe it's "must." I believe this in my heart, it's something I take for granted. If there's a toll on the road, developers will wait until something without a toll comes along. And this may be the line where open source makes sense, maybe finally we can put the debate to rest -- open source can stop snarling, and accept its place as the province of would-be standard-setters. Commercial vs open source is like a hot and cold water valve on a faucet. Where you want competition, give away the technology. Where you want to be competitive, keep it to yourself.  

The Skipping Dot Net guy is also trying to parse this. He says that UserLand is the most open commercial company he knows. This is because we tweak the valves to get the right temperature to come out the faucet. I figured this out in a new way after watching VA and CollabNet tweak their offerings to include some hot water in their mixes. I also had a long talk with James Barry in Colorado in August, he's an ex-IBMer who was at CollabNet then (and now is CTO at Jabber). He opened my eyes about business and open source from the pov of a company that had bet its future on open source, and only open source. 

BTW, I promise you, OPML is going to be as big or bigger as anything we've done at UserLand, including SOAP, XML-RPC and RSS. It's a source of cold water and it's killer. We have the hot water to balance it, I hope, if not, Omni might be a good bet, or JOE. See how it works? Users who have choice move. Users who are locked in wait. I don't care how big you are, you're still in the same ecosystem

Now the ad hominems are being flung at poor l'il me. Heh. Choose to believe I'm a flawed human being, that's your right, but you'll never learn anything that way. My philosophy -- we're all barking farting chihuahuas, and none of us get out of this alive. My shit does stink, and so does yours. Have a nice day, I am not a lawyer, and it's even worse than it appears.  

BoingBoing continues to impress. 

KD: "What kind of girl spends her Sunday afternoon up to her elbows in PHP & MySQL?" 

Internet.Com: "The Federal Communications Commission Thursday approved Boeing's Connexion service, putting high-speed Internet at the fingertips of flying passengers one step closer to realization." 

Doc Searls weighs in on the open-source-as-flop debate, and says something agreeable. "My vote for Flop of the Year is the whole investment bubble. Every company has two markets: one for its goods and services and one for itself. In the dot-com bubble, interest in the latter completely overcame the former. Rather than selling their goods and services, companies sold themselves, over ane over, in round after round, to investors. Markets for many kinds of goods and services, were seriously hurt. Software especially." 

I got various answers to yesterday's puzzle about lines at airport ticket counters. Sorry no one got the correct answer. The people behind the counters were working very quickly. They were not short-staffed due to layoffs. Security was not requiring printed tickets at SJO on Sunday. In fact, many of the people in the line did not need to be there. I was one of them. I checked. Then I told one of the cops who directed me to the ticket counter line that I didn't need to wait and he gave me the answer. "There's a lot of confusion around here right now." Exactly. That's the answer to puzzle. Confusion. 


Last update: Monday, December 31, 2001 at 7:47 AM Eastern.

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