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The Humane Society of the United States

"Linux Foundation chief: 'You are an idiot' if you don't give back to open source"

August 30, 2011 By Julie Bort, Network World, InfoWorld

A Comment...

Until Linux and the Open Source concept came along, software development followed the "industrialization" model of change typified by the classic "waterfall" development process (plan, specify, build part 1, build part 2,..., test, deploy). Despite no project ever successfully being completed that way, that's how they were approached.

The astronomical advances in microprocessing wrought by Kennedy's space program intersected with that reality late in the last century to make iterative development (plan, build, test, repeat till works, deploy, fix/update, redeploy, repeat ad infinitum) actually sound practical. Which was great given that all software development had always been done that way (though none could bring themselves to speak such anarchist blasphemy).

Linux however, like capitalism, is a human-created system based on an "evolutionary" model of change.

In nature, genetics and environment interact to produce near-infinite diversity, thus providing many "mutations" that are better suited to the new conditions.

So too in business. Though most businesses fail, things are learned by those failures which result in creating better new businesses.

The comparatively limited planning of Linux projects results in greater innovation and software better adapted to task. Development is driven by functional necessity, peer-review and reliability (cause programmers really hate repeated debugging) rather than rapid development.

Think cabinet-maker verses assembly-line shelving.

Canonical is trying to succeed by "industrial computing" rules in an "evolutionary computing" world. An almost impossible task (see Microsoft). And they don't have hardware sales to pay the bills while they try to monetize "free software" (see IBM).

The next IBM, Apple or Microsoft will be the company that figures out how to measure, and thus monetize, "value" in this new paradigm. Google is the most promising at the moment, but so far has only been able to make money (albeit: A lot!) selling tickets to the spectacle. IBM and Apple have seen the future but aren't entirely sure how to get there from here.

Microsoft -- Well, I doubt that the dinosaurs were even aware of the existence of those little burrowing mammals except when one went squish between their toes. We know how that turned out.

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