Open Source zealots tend to think that as soon as something is OS'd that hundreds of people are going to jump on it and turn it into a killer application or something. I can tell you from personal experience that this is NOT the case. There are far more consumers out there than there will ever be producers - and, even if the product is free, consumers assume that the producers accept some sort of responsibility for the product.
So because HP won't get free development, then they should strand all of their existing users? You do know that Open source software and Bazaar development are two distinct concepts, right?
In my mind this is the biggest flaw in the famous 'Temple and the Bazaar' document by ESR. He based the document on the experience he had with an existing body of code that already had a reasonable amount of users. Have any of you tried to start up an open source project from scratch expecting that at least a few people would join you in developing the project? From personal experience I can tell you that most of the time it doesn't happen.
OK, obviously you don't. Anyone who starts an "open source" project with the idea that other will join does not understand the difference between the open source concept and bazaar development.
I, personally, work on several projects. One of them, Noatun, is very much a bazaar-style project. Charles Samuels wrote the core, and when I saw it and I liked it, I began writing plugins, and later hacking on the core, too. Later others joined. That's exactly the model Eric Raymond presented.
Another project I work on it Kit. There are only two people who have worked on Kit: me, and someone else who as just joined up. It's open source, giving full freedom to its users, but I'm not getting, nor am I seeking, a wide range of help in the form of code. I'll look at a patch if I receive it, but I won't feel bad if I don't.
Both Noatun and Kit are open source. Both are not developed Bazaar-style. So don't confuse the two concepts.
Am I jaded by all of this and therefore somehow biased? Yes. Do I feel ripped off by the hype and expectations raised by Open Source advocates? Yes. Open Source is not a silver bullet - it seems to me that the Open Source methodology is an excellent way to maintain and enhance existing works but falls far short in the area of promoting new, innovative and risky software projects. It depends too much on the initial architecture, design and protoype development done behind closed doors.
OK, now that our last concept is settled, maybe you should rethink the rest of this ... rhetoric. Open Source software is a freedom customers demand, it's not a development model.
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