Your important reminder of the day:

"The purpose of the web software industry is to extract value out of Open-Source Software (OSS). [...] Most people in the industry don’t realise that the web dev economy is primarily extractive."

@ParadeGrotesque I read it all. I take away a few things :
Companies don’t really pay for OSS they just use it (true)
The idealism that ran the Web 20 years ago might not exist now

But what is the author getting at? OSS has a lot of functions in companies.
They’re recruitment tools
Way to find good new talent
Way to get something off the ground easily

I think there’s going to be a very long term dance between OSS and for-profit companies just developing now.

@ParadeGrotesque what is the point of writing software nobody pays for? People need to eat.

Companies have a place I think.

But not only are companies important, but developers for years had heated discussion about what that relationship would look like - in the form in which licenses they chose to write their stuff in.

So none of this is really surprising.

I think the motivations for writing OSS are much greater than the author envisions.

@ParadeGrotesque Well, thats grim. What about the Linux ecosystem? How much of that is subsidized in this way? :/

@Angle @ParadeGrotesque Linux itself, definitely! It's what runs all the serverfarms & IOTs.

The rest of the system, I'm not sure. Sometimes it seems like they're unaware it's even there to learn from.


Quite a lot of open source operating systems (OSOS) are supported by a strong community. So Linux is... kinda safe, I guess?

A lot of the rest (especially language ecosystems)... not so much.

And think of things like GPG, dhcpcd, ntp, etc.... Where the community / lead programmers ar eextremely limited.

@ParadeGrotesque Hmm, yeah that fits my intuitions. Do you think there's a solution? I had an idea I was kinking around way back, of having an economy of separate production, analysis, and distribution orgs.

@ParadeGrotesque The production orgs actually make code, the distribution orgs collect and distribute the money throughout the hundreds of people and orgs that contributed to the code, and the analysis orgs keep track of everything and make sure it all runs smoothly. And there are multiple redundant version of each, to keep each other in check.

@ParadeGrotesque I dunno, it might not be possible to balance properly, but in general I like the idea of having lots of smaller orgs that have redundancy, but work together to make a greater whole. :/


Your idea has some merit, but I am afraid the Linux ecosystem is already much too fragmented for that.

Most BSD have their own (non-profit) "Foundations" which take care of the money side of things, so there is that.

@ParadeGrotesque Mmm, yeah I wouldn;t want to try and implement this with the linux ecosystem - it already seems to have something that mostly works. But as you pointed out, there are lots of open source ecosystems that don't work as well, and one of those might be an appropriate place to experiment. :/


Yeah, but I have to add there is also a ton of people giving or collecting money to some of these smaller projects: the FSF, FSFE, ISC, Software Freedom Conservancy, etc.

So yeah, part of the code producer / money collecting / money distribution ecosystem is already in place.


I have to add there is also the Linux Foundation, of course, but this is mostly a front for big companies (IBM, Google, etc) these days.

@ParadeGrotesque When you're in one of MicroSoft's musea, that means you're already dead.

@ParadeGrotesque it's what happens to folks who think that weak #FOSS licenses (as opposed to #Copyleft) are 'more free'. Now they're ripe for corporate exploitation.


Licensing has little to do with it, I am afraid.

If you use software X in your hot start up, without ever contributing, whether in money or in code, to X, you are benefiting from the hard work of the creators, contributors and maintainers of X, without giving anything in return.

X can be GPL licensed or MIT, BSD licensed or anything else: the contribution is what's important.


This being said, I agree with you that GPL protects software "freedom" and users rights probably better than, say, BSD.

@ParadeGrotesque to my way of thinking, those who champion "weak" open source licenses & avoid Copyleft, are effectively saying that their ultimate intention is to make their code proprietary at some point to monetise it - or to allow someone else to do so. As someone who doesn't think proprietary software is compatible with ethical business, I don't see any defensible reason for doing that.

@ParadeGrotesque that's sorta true, but there's no cost or disadvantage to a developer if someone else uses their software in its original form. If, on the other hand, they improve it for their own purposes, there's a potential opportunity cost for the original developer if the someone modifying it doesn't contribute those improvements back... #Copyleft protects the developer from bearing those opportunity costs.

@ParadeGrotesque moreover, unlike BSD, a Copyleft licensed OS like Linux can't have components taken out and made proprietary by another entity so that, in the case of BSD, the original developer would have to buy their own code back - but only in executable form, not source - from, for example, Microsoft, to be able to use the modified version.

@ParadeGrotesque and I use MSFT as an example, because (as you probably know) that's precisely what happened with the original Windows TCP/IP implementation.

@ParadeGrotesque incidentally, for Microsoft to co-opt and exploit copyleft licensed Linux, they can't pull out bits and pieces to use as they did with the *BSD.

Their somewhat clever but rather clunky solution is to fully enclose Linux within Windows - so they're not 'using' any of the code, they just 'frame' it with their proprietary OS.

I liken it to taking a majestic soaring eagle, symbol of freedom, clipping its wing, and locking it up in a very dingy cage. :)

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