Subject: Re: realistic but short and simple LISP examples?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 11:37:09 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Kent M Pitman <>
| I suspect you're saying the contract should cause it to be public
| domained or GPL'd or something?  By having it revert to me, I could still
| decide at that time to do such a thing... but if I was starving and
| needing money, I see no reason I shouldn't make money on my own work.
| Having things go straight to the public to compete against me is in some
| ways worse for me even than having someone sit on it.  At least if it's
| code I wrote before, I can write it again.  In the case that stuff I did
| before gets given away, I might not be qualified to do the next step...
| The community may benefit at my expense.  That's pathologically bad.

  The whole idea that anything can be so "shared" as to have no value in
  itself is not a problem if the rest of the world ensures that nobody _is_
  starving or needing money.  For young people who have parents who pay for
  them or student grants or loans and basically have yet to figure out that
  it costs a hell of a lot of money to live in a highly advanced society,
  this is not such a bad idea.  Grow up, graduate, marry, start a family,
  buy a house, have an accident, get seriously ill for a while, or a number
  of other very expensive things people actually do all the time, and the
  value of your work starts to get very real and concrete to you, at which
  point giving away things to be "nice" to some "community" which turns out
  not to be "nice" _enough_ in return that you will actually stay alive, is
  no longer an option.

  All of this "code sharing" is an economic surplus phenomenon.  It works
  only when none of the people involved in it are in any form of need.  As
  soon as the need arises, a lot of people discover that it has cost them
  real money to work for the community and they reap very little benefit
  from it, because they are sharing value-less services and getting value
  out of something that people take for granted is hard to impossible.
  This is unfortunately even more true when employees are considered "free"
  while consultants are not, so buying the supposed "services" from people
  who know the source code is not an _exercised_ option.

  Just because it is nice to get things for free does not mean it is a good
  idea to organize anything based on removing the value of those things,
  but until people _need_ that value, getting stuff for free is _so_ nice
  that looking to the future is something most people simply will not do,
  and those who refuse think about will also refuse to listen to those who
  have.  Thus they will continue to deplete the value of software to the
  point where nobody _wants_ to pay for any software, be it of a particular
  kind or in general.  Software development tools are already considered to
  be give-aways by some people, threatening commercial vendors and those
  who would like to make money providing software tools to developers.

  As for giving away things for free, if you cannot make it yourself, just
  buy it from someone else and give it away.  If someone has something you
  want to be free, the problem is no harder than to cough up the money to
  make them want to do it, too.  If this is not palatable to those who want
  things others have made for free, they demonstrate that somebody else
  somehow should accept the cost of this operation _without_ compensation.
  Since I have not heard about any organization working to buy software
  from those who "hoard" it, quite unlike those organization that buy up
  tropical forest land and promise never to sell it or develop it, I tend
  to believe the whole "free software" thing is really a way of tricking
  immature people to give away their work.  (I was one of those people.)

  The past is not more important than the future, despite what your culture
  has taught you.  Your future observations, conclusions, and beliefs are
  more important to you than those in your past ever will be.  The world is
  changing so fast the balance between the past and the future has shifted.