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Open Source Software

The Role of Freeloaders In Open Source Communities 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the arm-extended-palm-splayed-upward dept.
dp619 writes "The Outercurve Foundation has published a defense of freeloaders as part of a blog series on how businesses can participate in open source. '...in the end, it's all about freeloaders, but from the perspective that you want as many as possible. That means you're "doing it right" in developing a broad base of users by making their experience easy, making it easy for them to contribute, and ultimately to create an ecosystem that continues to sustain itself. Freeloaders are essential to the growth and success of every FOSS project.'"
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The Role of Freeloaders In Open Source Communities

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  • Re:Freeloaders (Score:4, Informative)

    by dimko (1166489) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @04:47AM (#45963061)
    Who, happen to be who? That's right, users(consumers)! :* At the end of the day, open source was made to attract people who can improve code, and in order for i to happend, they need to use code in the first place! Oh, and btw, you are also wong about developers. I am no developer, but I submit bugs to Firefox, etc, so I am part of development progress. I suggest ideas too! So define freeloader. User != freeloader. If I sugget someoen OSS, am I still freeloader? I do marketing for developer too?
  • Re:Not freeloaders (Score:2, Informative)

    by Architect_sasyr (938685) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @05:06AM (#45963149)
    The ability for pretty much anybody to learn Excel, to interface it with a database (with, admittedly, a little help from their local friendly IT guy), to build An entire damned RPG inside a spreadsheet [arstechnica.com] is a pretty good case for defining the most popular, user extensible, spreadsheeting application on the market as Microsoft's Excel. There are a number of reasons Microsoft is big in corporate - Excel is right up there with Active Directory and the OS GUI.
  • Re:Freeloaders (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @05:48AM (#45963309)

    I wonder how far any open source project would get, if the only people who could use it were the people who were developing it... no matter how free it was made.

    At the end of the day, developers develop for users (yes, sometimes they also develop utilities for themselves... but mainly they develop solutions for other people to use).

    Imagine if Linux could only be used on the computers of the people who are developing it... or Apache could only host sites that host Apache builds... etc.

    Our users are what give our efforts legitimacy... when a million people have downloaded and use my software widget, it validates it value to them... which in turn gives my efforts a value. My widget's popularity attracts the interest of other developers who may recognise the same or further value that can be leveraged by adding their ideas and efforts. And so it goes on and on.

  • Re:Freeloaders (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @11:07AM (#45965809)

    Not usually. A lot of open source (licensed as BSD or variations thereof) is about creating software that will get used EVERYWHERE, and discouraging competing projects that do the same task. The devs don't want more devs involved (if they did they should be using the GPL instead), what they want is to make it so that their software is basically the one and only correct way to do something, ie their vision is it. So they give their code away without any requirement to give back from anybody, or any requirement to improve it, etc. The reasoning is basically that if it's available and anybody can take it and rebrand it and sell it etc, then companies will do the math and won't build their own. So the BSD software "wins".

    It doesn't actually happen that way. The original project or code isn't used everywhere, just parts of it. It's not the BSD software that wins, it is the product that it is used in that wins. Apple's OS X is a prime example of this. FreeBSD and NetBSD didn't discourage competing projects by letting Apple use it, nor is everybody using the *BSDs (most OS X users don't even know about or care about the roots of their OS). Likewise, Linux being based on GPL doesn't seem to hamper Android being used everywhere.

    In the end, there are many reasons why somebody might release under a particular type of license. Global domination, probably isn't the driving factor, though.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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