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Open Source The Almighty Buck Politics

Michigan Governor Wants 'Open Source' Economic Model 237

Posted by timothy
from the for-some-values-of-open-source dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Incoming Michigan governor Rick Synder spoke in Kalamazoo, MI today and says he wants to use an 'open-source economic development model' to help repair the battered down state. Perhaps during his time as president of Gateway he saw a benefit to the open source model, but can it really be successfully applied as an economic model?"
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Michigan Governor Wants 'Open Source' Economic Model

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  • by dch24 (904899)
    I know editors don't actually Read the Fine Article, but this one is about Kalamazoo. Only later does he mention "Open Source".
    • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:29PM (#34943182) Journal

      They plan to look at the way each region of the state does things, and implement the best plans. Kalamazoo happens to be one place that the governor feels is doing things right, and should serve as a template for other areas. But you are correct in that this is not really about "open source" government at all, which would allow anyone to contribute. This is about taking the best policies and procedures already out there, and using them in places that are not yet doing so.

      • "Open source" is a buzzword that has nothing to do with allowing anyone to contribute; you can vehemently protect your code base, and someone else can copy it and take it somewhere else and do their own thing while not fucking with you. "Open source" also applies to programs with source code, or perhaps architecture and engineering and CGI (source blueprints, source CAD, source animation files, etc); this is just an "open system with transparency."
        • And in the intelligence community, "open source" means a publicly available source of information.

          Since it's almost a requirement that you're an addle minded bozo to be accepted in politics, it's could be he has a number of meanings of the term wrapped up together.

      • ...But you are correct in that this is not really about "open source" government at all, which would allow anyone to contribute...

        Isn't that democracy?

        (or do you really want to debate it and get into the finer points of a representative republic?)

        • by spun (1352)

          Haha, I'm not one of those folks who prattle on about "It's not a democracy, it's a republic!" Yeah, uh, the states are democracies that democratically elect representatives to join the governing bodies of the republic.

          Unfortunately, we do not allow just anyone to contribute. Try writing a bill and getting it before congress. But that really wasn't what I was talking about, most of government is not decided on by votes of any sort, it is set as policy. I think this story is more about governmental operation

        • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

          I do! I do!

      • by geekoid (135745)

        And yuu don't want the common person having specific input. It goes badly because the people who show up are generally clueless and demand shit that's stupid, doesn't apply, or would cost far too much.

        OR they will use 'common knowledge' to tell you what you shouldn't do.

        I am not saying they should be out all together. example:
        JQ Public wants a park? great. They want swing, grass and a soccer field, fine. The implementation and the details should be done by professionals. Cause I guarantee you that some jack

        • by spun (1352)

          No, let anyone have specific input, just as any old schmoe can contribute patches to an open source project. Make it as easy as possible for everyone, even the stupid people, to see how things are done and contribute ideas about how they could be done better. Just as with open source, the maintainer (i.e. the government official in charge) decides what gets committed and what gets thrown out. Sure, you would have to look over and toss out dozens of bad ideas for every good one, but I think it would be worth

      • I think the plan needs to first address some more fundamental issues, such was: why anyone should take a place called fuckin' "Kalamazoo" seriously. That's such a joke name.

  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:22PM (#34943106) Journal

    Maybe what he means by "open source" economic model is that he wants state workers to work for free.

    • Re:What he means (Score:5, Informative)

      by dch24 (904899) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:24PM (#34943128) Journal
      From the article:

      Snyder mentioned a concept called "open-source economic development." He said the state is going to look at every region and see which area is the best at a certain practice and ask if the community is willing to share it with the rest of the state.

      Applying best practices around the state is not about getting credit but rather uplifting the state for all, Snyder said.

      • Snyder mentioned a concept called "open-source economic development." He said the state is going to look at every region and see which area is the best at a certain practice and ask if the community is willing to share it with the rest of the motherland. Applying best practices around the motherland is not about getting credit but rather uplifting the motherland for all, Snyder said.

        In all seriousness, though, the "open source development model" (not necessarily a Mozilla Foundation version of that, b

        • I don't think the "open source development model" is the correct association to make with his statement "open source economic development".

          The way I read it is more like recipe sharing. Whoever makes the best apple pie gets their recipe distributed throughout the state. I didn't read anything about mandates in the article, so it sounds like the local governments can take recipes and do with them as they see fit.

          One would hope that efficiency would prevail, but I'm sure that some local governments will stu

        • by bug1 (96678)

          Why is the word "Socialism" so hard to say for some ?

          Calling Open Source communist is false because people arent being forced into it, they have a choice, it is reasonable call it socialist though.

          Socialism is all about sharing, society has been "into it" for a long time, its not a dirty word, its not something to be ashamed of.

          Communism is when society tries to FORCE its people to share, it doesn't work, its too inefficient.

          • by iluvcapra (782887)
            Well that's not fair, Socialism and Communism both entrain government authority and require the state to create and protect certain kinds of economic rights while denying others, just as Capitalism does. Their have been communes and colonies and other voluntary communist and socialist communities throughout modern history, but they generally always required the participants to grant the community's government plenary authority over their ability to form capital, ability to contract, and ability to resolve
      • by SeaFox (739806)

        "Applying best practices around the state is not about getting credit but rather uplifting the state for all, Snyder said.

        So he wont mention anything about this initiative when he runs for reelection?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kellyb9 (954229)

      Maybe what he means by "open source" economic model is that he wants state workers to work for free.

      Time for them for fork and start their own state.

    • by pavon (30274) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:34PM (#34943252)

      Or give the cars away for free but charge for service :)

      • by mangu (126918)

        Or give the cars away for free but charge for service :)

        Last time I tried that they threw the DMCA at me, so I had to go back to selling cars and charging for non-existent service.

    • Re:What he means (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ynot_82 (1023749) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:49PM (#34943440)

      I've mentioned this before
      http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1377061&cid=29499823 [slashdot.org]

      But I've seen the phrase "open source" used all over the place by non-tech people
      Particularly when they want to express the idea of a transparent process, one that's open (to debate and democratic reform)

    • The taxpayers might be able to help out if they can see exactly where their money is being pissed away.

    • He is just dropping buzzwords:

      "Snyder mentioned a concept called "open-source economic development." He said the state is going to look at every region and see which area is the best at a certain practice and ask if the community is willing to share it with the rest of the state."

      More accurately he is just repackaging *traditional* republican arguments (which may or may not resemble some contemporary republicans). Basically the idea is that rather than have some central authority decide upon a soluti
    • This has nothing to do with Open Source. It is about using the best practices found and implementing them. The real problem with government is a lack of good metrics to measure performance. If you measure it then you know what works and what doesn't and you use what works.

      But on the flip side you get a bunch of whiny pants who wants to keep the bad way of doing things and state that the metrics are not good.

      This is about measuring performance in particular areas and using what works better as a best pract

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:26PM (#34943150) Homepage

    The problem is the open source license being used. Lots of government bodies use a license similar to the BSD license where "taking without giving back" is perfectly acceptable which is what big business does most of the time.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:26PM (#34943152)
    Here's the pertinent part of the article:

    He said the state is going to look at every region and see which area is the best at a certain practice and ask if the community is willing to share it with the rest of the state... He said he's going to give Michiganders a sense of how the state's doing on myriad metrics annually. He also said wants to give residents a road map of where the state is going, by planning a two-year budget and creating an online "dashboard" that tracks the government's progress on different issues.

    Now, we can have a lot of pointless dickering about whether the term "Open Source" is being abused. But more importantly, those ideas in themselves sound fine to me. I doubt they'll be enough to solve Michigan's huge problems, but that's another matter.

    • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:39PM (#34943328)
      At this point it would be impossible to tell if the term "open source" is being abused here, there just isn't enough information in this article to know what he means by it (or if it is just a phrase calculated to push the right buttons with people). However, by using it in this context, Governor Snyder increases the public perception of "open source" as a good thing.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      It is. Best practices != software, and if he actually means copying coftware solutions you can bet most of it is closed source they'll have to buy more licenses for.

      P.S. Most of the time ,this means standardizing on the already most dominant solution. The odds of him throwing out something 90% use for something 10% use is minimal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by men0s (1413347)
      When I step back at what he says in the article, it just sounds like there's a bunch of "silos" (communities) that don't share information and he wants to try and connect those silos or bridge those gaps or whatever euphemism suits use these days. I imagine that if he put it as simply as that most people would go "duh" and forget about it. Stating it this way might get some people to look at it a second time and in a different way.

      What strikes me as odd is that he wants to ask if the community is willi
  • Here's my model (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:34PM (#34943260) Journal
    Here's my model:
    1. Spend less than you take in.
    2. When cutting spending, try cutting big ticket items first.
    3. Pay down more than the minimum payment on debts.
    4. Round expenses up and round revenue down.
    • Re:Here's my model (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kenja (541830) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:41PM (#34943360)
      Because its open source, I'm going to make the following changes to your model and submit it.

      1. Spend what ever you feel like, income is a different department anyhow so its their problem.
      2. When cutting spending, cut which ever program will cause the most news (good or bad).
      3. Borrow more from another source and use it to pay as much as you are required to on existing debts. Excess borrowed funds can be used for what ever (see point 1).
      4. Dont round any figure, just add or remove zeros. After all, zeros are nothing!
      • I'm fairly certain you are infringing on the model used by many powerful businesses that patent such models. I hope you like being a revenue source.

      • Because its open source, I'm going to make the following changes to your model and submit it.

        Thank you for your submission. After due consideration by the committee, the changes you submitted will not be committed to main_street(). If you wish to make another submission you may want to base it on the most recent code from the current branch - code follows:

        Spend less than you take in.

        When cutting spending, try cutting big ticket items first.

        Pay down more than the minimum payment on debts.

        Round expenses up

        • by Jaqenn (996058)

          In a deal hammered out by the state's Democratic leadership, the lame-duck legislature pushed through a 67% increase in the state income tax and a 45% increase in the corporate tax....

          I'm tired of seeing numbers presented like this. Semi-related XKCD: http://xkcd.com/558/ [xkcd.com]

          From the same article, the real numbers are: income-tax rate from 3% to 5%, corporate tax from 4.8% to 7%.

          I'm not saying the tax increase was a good idea. I'm not saying it's not burdensome. I'm just saying that the phrase '67% increase' is intended to incite anger without understanding, while 'from 3% to 5%' is intended to inform.

          A few years ago my state was having gubernatorial elections, and the challeng

      • by Rhinobird (151521)

        That all sounds really familiar.

        I'm going to change #2

        2. Never actually cut spending. Less than expected increases in the budget shall be called "cuts". When "cutting" spending, "cut" which ever program will cause the most news (good or bad).

    • Re:Here's my model (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drsquare (530038) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:57PM (#34943558)

      But what if borrowing leads to more growth that pays off the debt? What if cutting spending in a depression lowers economic activity and therefore tax revenues? What if interest rates are low enough to make it non-sensical to pay more than the bare minimum?

      Your model may work for a household, but not a government.

      • Re:Here's my model (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @04:03PM (#34943620) Journal

        The idea that government spending creates "growth" is, at best, arguable. It can be used to maybe prevent a further slide (ie: temporarily paying unemployment when there are mass layoff, so those people have money to eat on, so rent is paid, food is bought, etc.) Government spending is a patch, it isn't an investment plan. Notable exceptions would be in infrastructure and other items that the people can't themselves provide, but even then, too much is too much and the payback time for infrastructure is typically measured in years if not decades.

        • The idea that government spending creates "growth" is, at best, arguable... Notable exceptions would be in infrastructure and other items that the people can't themselves provide...

          Then the proposition is not "at best arguable", you actually state that it's true. The only thing you're quibbling over is the price tag. Say what you mean, dude...

        • by iceaxe (18903)

          The idea that government spending creates "growth" is, at best, arguable.

          I think you're correct, and are pointing out a common mis-conception. A government can't reasonably directly create economic growth, but it can provide an infrastructure and context that promotes private economic investment and growth, and doing so is not usually without cost. The government spending does not directly create growth, but without the necessary contextual factors growth will not happen.

          Now, with that said, you are also correct that the proper amount of spending and on what services and infrast

        • by Mab_Mass (903149)

          The idea that government spending creates "growth" is, at best, arguable

          Well, for the past 7 years, I've been gainfully employed in a private biotech company. The core technology was developed in a university setting under the funding of government research grants.

          In this case, government spending has clearly led to economic opportunities. In fact, considering that a huge portion of fundamentally new technology comes from academic research, and that emerging technologies on the market can create huge

        • by Derkec (463377)

          Generally, I agree.

          But when should you invest extra in infrastructure? During a recession.

          Because:
          - The price is lower than normal (even factoring interest on borrowing, labor and equipment are idle and should therefore be cheaper than normal)
          - It's better to pay salaries of construction workers than pay them unemployment for not working
          - Whatever stimulative benefits you may or may not get

          When the government is rich tends to be when the economy is booming and infrastructure projects

      • by mosb1000 (710161)

        It's dangerous to think that spending just for the sake of spending will spur economic activity. Economic activity is only really worthwhile if it produces tangible goods and services with real benefits. Hap-hazard spending will produce the same economic numbers in the short term, but over time it will become ineffective because it failed to produce anything or real value. In the end, you'll be worse off than you were at the beginning because of all the resources that you wasted, worse still if you accum

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        Oh, yeah, all that government spending. The bailouts, the 1% during Greenspan and then 0% during Bernanke interest rates, the stimulus packages, the buying out of various private businesses, buying out bad mortgage loans, insuring mortgage loans with no collateral, with no downpayment, giving out all sorts of free money, sure sure, that'll generate economic activity.

        If by activity you mean: people will buy more stuff they didn't produce with the given/borrowed money - you are right.

        If by activity you mean:

      • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @04:52PM (#34944246) Homepage

        What if the government actually didn't take on debt? What if the government actually had a policy of saving 25% of any budget surplus and returning the rest as a tax refund? What if the government actually had its own private cash reserves with which to do non-deficit spending and lower the need to have discretionary funds in the budget in any given year? What if those cash reserves were stored in local banks that gave out loans in good times? What if the government tried to actually cut out unnecessary spending?

        If a private household did the equivalents of those things, it'd be quite well off within several years. After 30-40 years, the parents would have their home firmly paid off and would be able to fold their mortgage payment into their savings and retirement funds.

        I'm only 27, but my grandmother remembers when the federal government actually used to be the one doing for the world what China does for us. How the mighty have fallen.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      5. If the choice is between services not essential to physical survival of the public, and raising taxes, shitcan the services.

    • Real simple, right? Except, you get voted out of office for cutting services *or* raising taxes, or running on a platform of doing either. That's the rub. People want services, but have a naive disassociation with their tax revenue and funding their government.

      Plenty of politicians love to talk in vagaries about how they'll do one or the other, but no one has the courage to campaign that way.

      • by mosb1000 (710161)

        Social Security isn't really a service. And it's our biggest expense. Let's cut it.

        • by shentino (1139071)

          The so called "social security trust fund" has already been raided with sneaky accounting in the form of government bonds.

          It's already bankrupt because it's holding worthless IOUs from Uncle Sam.

          • by mosb1000 (710161)

            Yeah, so if you eliminate it, you'll eliminate a large portion of the national debt. It's a win-win.

            • by shentino (1139071)

              You can't just make debt go poof. The money is already gone and we're already in the hole.

              Stopping it wouldn't take care of the IOUs that are already outstanding.

              The US would have to go bankrupt against its own citizens to pull that off.

              • by mosb1000 (710161)

                Imagine you take out a loan with a loan-shark. One day he tells you that he'll break your legs if you don't pay him back. But you can't pay him back, so you kill him instead. Who will come back to collect? He was the one with a financial interest in the loan.

                It works the same way with social security. Only the program has a financial interest in the debt, cancel it and you no longer need to it back. Of course, there are people depending on social security money for their retirement/whatever, so you'd

            • A hell of a lot of overweight diabetic Vietnam vets would be up in arms. It's flat out theft of their savings.
              • by mosb1000 (710161)

                I never received a dime from them, how am I supposed to pay back some kind of "dept" that I "owe" them? The money's not there, and moving forward it will continue to be less and less there. We need to find a better way to take care of our overweight diabetic Vietnam vets.

    • Here's my model:

      1. Spend less than you take in.
      2. When cutting spending, try cutting big ticket items first.
      3. Pay down more than the minimum payment on debts.
      4. Round expenses up and round revenue down.

      Here's the reality:

      Spend as much as you can. People love it when you spend on new programs.

      When the stupid people want you to cut spending cut to police and fire first so they will think twice about asking for cuts the next time.

      Pay down debts?! Debts show your development! Every successful government is in debt. The more debt the more successful!

      Always underestimate the cost of programs to make them look appealing, then overestimate the revenues from anything you do! It makes you look good!

    • by westlake (615356)

      2.When cutting spending, try cutting big ticket items first.

      The big ticket items in your state budget are the ones that care for the poorest and most vulnerable. The very young and the very old. The sick and the disabled.

      The geek keeps his toll free commuter bridge.

      The middle class entitlement that costs next to nothing in the larger scheme of things.

      Grandma loses her senior van, dental clinic and home care services.

      • by Shotgun (30919)

        The big ticket items in your state budget are the ones that care for the poorest and most vulnerable.

        Like the two cell phones that Social Services gave my worthless sister, who would (literally) not work in a pie factory, for being one welfare. Now she can sit in her government paid for apartment and make calls for 250hrs a month without worrying about a bill. It was attached to the Food Stamps program in North Carolina, btw. The government likes to wrap all of those programs up into one big bag so that parts are hard to throw out.

    • Sounds good. When are you running for office that I may campaign for you?
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:37PM (#34943302) Journal
    The venerable Richard Stallman was given complete control of the Kalamazoo government today at which point he announced that -- in order to battle pollution -- the oak leaf will replace the dollar bill inside city limits and the city council's podium will now have timeslices of 15 ms handed out to members (or 'threads' as the new law worded it) that will be violently and forcefully switched out by very strong bailiffs (or 'schedulers'). All city buildings are to be rebuilt in glass to improve the ability to see what goes on inside and very expensive, cancer causing X-ray devices will be issued to citizens so that at any point in time they can check any government official to verify first hand that the official in question is not a member of the lizard people elite that rule the United Kingdom.

    After cracking a very strange grin, RMS promised the people they would experience open source in new and profound ways starting today.
  • by iinventstuff (1888700) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:42PM (#34943362)
    Open source has a lot of excellent qualities, but applying it to finance may not be good. What is needed is a "Constitutional" model whereby all the rules are known in advance, solidified, and very difficult to change. This will keep opportunists from changing the rules to help them gain, financially. Even if all the rules are not perfect, being able to plan on them creates an environment of stability. The US financial model is not as stable as it was, because those unwilling to make difficult calls have chosen to simply print more money as a way of masking the problem and hoping it will go away. Now, business is trying to keep up with these non-sensical debt fetishes by the Fed decision makers. When we can get our leaders to calm down, survey the situation, and make slow and calculated changes according to established norms, then things will get better. If the Michigan Gov wants to make things better, then it is best to *not* try an use all the power that the office allows; rather restraint is more prudent.
    • You make a very good point. The term I have seen used to describe what you are talking about is "rule of law". The laws are known, they are understandable, they apply the same to everyone and they change infrequently with substantial advance warning. The closer a political unit is to true rule of law, the better it does economically. The longer a political unit functions according to something that closely approximates the rule of law, the more likely it is to have some variation of a truly democratic gover
  • by EverlastingPhelps (568113) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:46PM (#34943412) Homepage
    There's already an open source economic model. It's worked great the few places that have implemented it.

    It's called the "free market." Michigan should try it.

    • by drsquare (530038) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:58PM (#34943572)

      I think they did, and the market sent all their jobs to the third world.

      • by khallow (566160)

        I think they did, and the market sent all their jobs to the third world.

        The problem with a market is that if you aren't willing to meet a counterparty at an agreed on price, then no transaction occurs. In the case of Michigan, they simply priced themselves out of the labor and industry markets by imposing too many conditions on businesses.

        • by Microlith (54737) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @04:18PM (#34943816)

          I know, like labor and environmental protections. The problem isn't that Michigan priced themselves out of business, it's that places like China treat people like shit and crack down on people who oppose such abuses. Logically, the only way to compete with China would be to reduce costs down to being just under China costs + shipping.

          Of course, I doubt many people in the US would be willing to accept such a drop in quality of life, or accept such corporate abuse.

          • by khallow (566160)

            Of course, I doubt many people in the US would be willing to accept such a drop in quality of life, or accept such corporate abuse.

            That's ok, it doesn't need to be voluntary. Many people in the US are getting that drop in quality of life, whether they chose to accept it or not.

          • by crhylove (205956)

            Of course, I doubt many people in the US would be willing to accept such a drop in quality of life, or accept such corporate abuse.

            I don't think you've been watching the same country I have. Since I was little, I've watched a corporate chain systematically replace nearly every independent business, to the detriment of the local environment, to the standard of living of the local populace, and even to the continued success, education, and care of children.

            We now live on Planet Starbucks, just as Thomas Jefferson predicted. It's the inevitable course when our economy is based on the Federal Reserve and debt slavery. You know Andrew Ja

    • by Kenja (541830)
      They would have to leave the US to have a true free market. Doubt they want to do that. So they're stuck with subsidies, buyouts and regulations. Not saying those are bad things, but they do make a free market impossible.
      • Yeah, but state interference is like alcoholism. They have to hit rock bottom before they admit they have a problem. Michigan might finally be there, but the rest of us have a ways to fall.
    • by iceaxe (18903)

      Free market - this is an interesting term.

      'Free' implies no imposition of order or expectations, but 'Market' connotes an establishment of certain expectations, such as equitable trading, enforced obligations, peace, security, and probably a negotiable instrument as a means of exchange. 'Market' doesn't exist without agreed upon regulation and an external entity to enforce said regulation.

      So, a market can only be free up to a certain point before it ceases to be a market and instead becomes looting and anar

      • by ect5150 (700619)

        'Market' connotes an establishment of certain expectations, such as equitable trading, enforced obligations, peace, security, and probably a negotiable instrument as a means of exchange. 'Market' doesn't exist without agreed upon regulation and an external entity to enforce said regulation.

        Nonsense! Trading doesn't have to be equitable for it to take place. Black marketplaces exist everywhere outside of any established regulation, but yet we still have a market place if exchange takes place. It's nice if obligations are enforced, but not necessary. All the homes in foreclosure show that aspect of it, yet it is still possible to get a house.

        All of those items are desirable, but by no means are they necessary by any definition of a market. A market is simply when you have two entities tra

  • Eh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @03:55PM (#34943534) Journal
    His use of "Open source" seems so loose as to be nearly pointless to try to comment on in the context of the software concept of the same name. If nothing else(and there are a variety of somethings else), his proposal involves diffirent areas looking at one another's activities and initiating what works. That may well be a good idea; but calling it "open source" seems to imply that those activities would otherwise be proprietary. Unless he is about to inagurate the 'Pan-Michigan mutual abolition of all forms of intellectual property', which I very strongly doubt, the stuff he is talking about is just broad-brush development ideas that have never been proprietary, and for which there is no current or expected near-future support in law for making proprietary. It's basically just a platitude. You might as well describe somebody recommending that you use a mutually-understood natural language to communicate with others as "advocating an open-source phoneme model"...

    That said, the basically irrelevant Michigan thing aside, we actually know reasonably well where OSS works and where it doesn't. We can even get a pretty decent idea of which flavors of "open source" will crop up in which areas.

    First, of course, the unit cost of reproduction has to be negligible. Second, and related to the first, free riders must not be a serious issue(this doesn't mean that they have to not exist, and they generally do; but it means that they have to cost little or nothing, and something must motivate some percentage of users not to free-ride). If the first doesn't hold, the second generally has a hard time holding. If the first does hold, the second can still fail to hold; but in successful OSS scenarios it does hold.

    You have the GPL, and its close associates: tends to apply to software, occasionally to texts, schematics, etc., things where #1 definitely holds. #2's applicability is provided by a mixture of ideological altruists and the fact that 'share-alike' is legally prescribed. While it was designed with ideological purposes in mind, this gives it unexpected utility for the production of what are, essentially, informal development consortia.

    LGPL, and similar, fall between GPL and BSD. Typically applied to the same class as GPL and BSD; but derives its resistance to free riders more from economics than from ideologues of either camp.

    BSD and similar tend to apply to the same class of things as GPL, for reasons of #1; but obtain contributions from potential free-riders much more heavily from (a sometimes vehemently different set of) ideological actors.

    CC:Noncommercial, and similar, tend to apply to non-capital-intensive cultural objects. People are typically willing to share these with other people(and, pragmatically, recognize that other people are unlikely to pay enough to be worth collecting for them); but are suspicious of, and unwilling to allow, their appropriation by commercial interests(who both rub people the wrong way emotionally, and are recognized as having a much higher willingness to pay).
  • I am utterly surprised nobody screamed "commie!" yet, considering this is mostly an American forum. I mean "sharing resources" and "planning the economy", even if on a small scale ? I honestly hope he'll have enough support to do it, but I have my doubts, considering all the fears surrounding anything remotely related to socialism in your country. IMO it is a good idea and people might actually benefit from it.
    • they actually did. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by unity100 (970058)
      scroll the thread and see the 'free' market zealots still trying to assert that there has never been a 'free' market on the face of the world up till now. in the brief episode in late 1800s where there was such a condition, almost all of the american asses nearly ended up being owned by 10 individuals (not even corporations). they got their assess off vanderbilt et al, thanks to theodore roosevelt. but, they hate him, because, well, they dont know shit actually.

      40% or so of them are hopeless. so brainwas
  • it would be nice to see government funded software open sourced and shared amongst governments. Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, all lobby against this because they like to get hired to implement similar stuff in each town, But even if they started small and non-critical like library systems they might finally see how cheaper it would be to share and customize from there. Yes the first implementers would have to foot most of the bill but they could then hire out some of those developers to help others bring the sof
    • I believe that all software produced by the US government has no copyright protection in the USA and is effectively public domain. This doesn't apply to the work of contractors though.

      • by Locutus (9039)
        Why wouldn't software created by contractors and paid for with public money for a public project not fall under the same 'no copyright protection' clause?

        I wonder if anyone has asked their local government office for copies of some of their software and what the response has been? My guess is that they're told it can't be released due to public safety concerns.

        LoB
  • Open source is a fine notion in many things. However we are seeing our government looking like a deer frozen in the headlights with no clue of which way to turn. One reality is that we can never hope to have labor compete with foreign labor. There are so many workers in nations like China that labor simply can not get paid the way Americans do. We also now have huge problems in competing with designs and technologies from several nations. A general lack of education is hurting America bad. We also c

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