Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

The (awesome) economics of open source

Filed under
OSS

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Consider how changed a world we live in today when The Economist openly questions the bulk behavior of capitalists as evil bureaucratic rent-seekers and suggests that perhaps Karl Marx has something to teach after all. But the world remains stubbornly the same, as expert after supposed expert attempts to argue that open source software makes no economic sense and that a company like Red Hat cannot, therefore, exist (the latest example being this article on Medium.com).

Arrgh!

W. Edwards Deming said "experience teaches nothing without theory," so I'm going to explain the theory that I believe underlies the 30+ years of experience I've witnessed in the world of successful open source software. A disclaimer: I didn't develop this theory. Credit goes to Ronald Coase (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1991), Oliver Williamson (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2009), and others. And indeed, I was unaware of this theory when I started Cygnus Support, the world's first company to provide commercial support for free software back in 1989. But I did joke, in all seriousness, that someday an economist would win the Nobel Prize in Economics for explaining the theoretical basis of that company. Open source exceeded expectations yet again when not one, but two economists were so honored. And so I begin with a lengthy paraphrase of Coase's Nobel Prize lecture to set up the theory.

Read more

More in Tux Machines

Screenshots/Screencasts: Robolinux 10.4 LXDE, deepin 15.9, and Parrot OS 4.5 KDE

Livepatching With Linux 5.1 To Support Atomic Replace & Cumulative Patches

With the Linux 5.1 kernel cycle that should get underway in just over one month's time, there will now be the long in development work (it's been through 15+ rounds of public code review!) for supporting atomic replace and cumulative patches. Read more

GNOME/Xfce/GTK: Exo 0.12.4 and Libhandy 0.0.7 Released

  • Exo 0.12.4 Released
    Exo 0.12.4 is now available with an improved icon view, better icon rendering, and reduced disk usage.
  • My Name is Handy, Lib Handy
    Libhandy 0.0.7 just got released! [...] A common pattern in GNOME applications is lists, which are typically implemented via GtkListBox. More specific patterns arose, where rows have a title at the start, an optional subtitle below it, actions at the end and an icon or some other widget like a radio button as a prefix. These rows can also be expanded to reveal nested rows or anything else that fits the need. So far every application using these patterns implemented the rows by hand for each and every row. It made using these a bit cumbersome and it led to inconsistencies in sizing, even inside a single application. To make these patterns easier to use, we implemented HdyActionRow, HdyComboRow and HdyExpanderRow.

How did you get started with Linux?

The Linux mascot is a penguin named Tux, so we thought it appropriate to celebrate Penguin Awareness Day for the conservation of penguin habitats and talk a little bit (more) about Linux. A few fun penguin facts: These furry creatures are flightless yet part of the bird family. Some are large, like the Emperor penguin, and some are small, like those found in New Zealand. And, the Gentoo penguin is known to swim up to a speed of 21 miles per hour! Now, for the Linux bit. I asked our writer community to describe the moment they learned about Linux or the moment they got it up on running on their machine. Here's what they shared. Read more