On Tuesday, 6 January 2015 at 19:46:51 UTC, Joakim wrote:
On Tuesday, 6 January 2015 at 19:06:27 UTC, anonymous wrote:
I don't know of any commercial support model where you only pay
for the fixes you need at any given moment and the fixes that
others paid for are provided to you for free.
I'm not knowledgeable about any of this business stuff, and I
don't mean to pretend I am. I just wanted to clarify what I think
Joseph meant there, as I understood it.
As far as I know there are companies that employ developers to
work on open source software, with their patches open-sourced
immediately. I'm assuming the employer can direct where exactly
the effort goes. That's essentially it, no?
I presume you're referring to support subscriptions, where you
pay a monthly fee to subscribe to an stream of ongoing fixes
and pay extra for fixes you need right away. But that's not
"free," you're paying a monthly fee for that ongoing
subscription, which subsidizes the cost of those fixes that
others paid for first.
No, I didn't have that in mind.
My point was that he's wrong that the patch's value doesn't
change if others have access to it. Just because that patch
doesn't clearly differentiate your product on a spec sheet
doesn't mean those patches in aggregate don't differentiate
your time to market and cost of making the product, which will
all affect your bottom line.
So, the point is that competitors can't leech off my paid
patches, right? I mean, sure, that's a thing. I'm definitely not
business enough to put a number on it. Seems like the number you
put on it is higher than the one Joseph puts on it.
There is no disadvantage to paying for the patch in this model,
because otherwise you don't get the patch. You are paying
someone to write the patch so that it exists in the first
place. Otherwise, you can hope that some OSS dev gets to it
someday when he gets some spare time.
The counter-proposal is not to rely on the free (as in beer)
devs, but to hire someone to write OSS patches. This would of
course allow your competition to leech off of you. But if others
do the same, the benefits may be greater than if everyone is
protective of their stuff. Again, I don't want to pretend to know
what's best business-wise.
It _is_ win-win, that's the whole point. It's even
win-win-win, to crib a term from The Office, ;) because the OSS
project eventually also gets the patch after a delay.
I don't think the "win" for the customer is so clear. The "win"
that your competitors have to pay, too, seems rather slim to me
(remember, not a business guy). And if competitors would buy
patches collectively, eliminating the need for an exclusive
access period, they could be better off than when each of them
pays for it separately. But this may not be realistic, of course.
I don't know who this hypothetical competitor is who provides
"immediate-access-for-everyone" and is cranking out a ton of
patches. They currently don't exist.
Neither exists at the moment for D. It's all hypothetical.
I think calling it "exploitation" may have been a bit
inciting, but I can understand the concern. Charging for bug
fixes is a bit shady, when we introduced the bugs ourselves.
Who is the "we?" Paid devs fixing bugs in the existing OSS
project that were introduced by OSS devs is not a "we."
The OSS devs is "we". If others write the patches that argument
doesn't apply, of course.
And the whole thing could put off existing users, maybe even
contributors. Especially when core developers would work on
the early-access patches, the larger community could feel left
out in the rain.
Who cares. First off, D's core OSS devs have given no
indication they'd be interested in working on such paid
patches, so the paid devs would likely be a completely separate
If it's not current developers selling the patches, then I think
it's much less likely to back-fire.
Even if some of the existing OSS devs wrote some paid patches,
the D OSS project exists because of the generosity of Walter,
Andrei, Kenji, and a couple dozen other volunteer contributors
who give away their work for free under an OSS license. To
suggest that they are therefore bound to always provide future
patches for free is frankly ridiculous. They could all just
stop working on D tomorrow, they have no responsibility to keep
providing all this free work.
Similarly, they have no responsibility to not sell some patches
to paying customers, simply because some spoiled handful will
throw a hissy fit because they're not getting _everything_ for
free anymore. If they really want those patches, they can pay
for them or write them themselves.
It's not so much about responsibilites, definitely not legal
ones. It's more about keeping good relations with the community.
I'm also thinking more about minor/occasional contributors, like
myself, not so much about pure consumers (or potential
contributors ;) ). Right now, D is communism as usual in OSS. If
we switch over to capitalism, that doesn't attract the same
crowd, and may push away the current one.
But if a third party starts selling patches, and merges them into
D proper after some time, I think that's a whole different story.
They didn't write the bugs they're fixing. And they can't let
down a community in which they haven't been active. It could
still mean that "open D" becomes second class. And that could
throw existing contributors off. But I see much less friction
than when current core developers started doing it.