November 11, 2003

The open code market

The Open Code Market (OCM) is both an open market for code, as well as a market for open code. However, it aims mainly to become a free market for software, as well as a market for Free Software. The OCM introduces into the Free/Open Source movement an economic incentive, to help align the priorities of Free/Open Source developers with those of the end users.

In the spirit of a free market and true to its desire to offer maximum freedom of choice, the Open Code Market (OCM) will be also open to other licenses, not only GPL. However, it is logical to assume that the GPL license should become the most commonly used: Because it allows absolute freedom in the re-using of the computer code, developers will use as much GPL code as possible to minimise their coding workload, creating a virtuous cycle of an ever-increasing repository of GPL Software, ready to be improved, or recycled and recombined into new software.

Since the user of GPL Software is the main beneficiary of its protections (including zero copyright fees), it will become the only way for users and organisations to ascertain a priori that by using this software they not breaking copyright laws, and cannot be sued, penalised, or espied upon, under the pretext of copyright infringement.

But even if the Free/Open Source has the potential to become the future standard in software and other areas, its success is, by no means, guaranteed. Several inefficiencies must first be dealt with. For example, the current method for developing Free Software is, so far, not an ideal solution to "scratch the itches" of the vast majority of users: Since most developers of Free Software work "pro bono", in their own free time, they prioritise their own itches; which may, or may not, coincide with those of the end user, leading to inefficiencies in the allocation of resources. At this stage of its evolution, it is also the normal thing to happen.

The OCM addresses this inefficiency by introducing a monetary incentive. Thus, GPL end-users become customers by attaching a monetary value to the creation of the software they commission. From the GPL developerâs perspective this should be a welcome development, since they can continue doing what they do best, while being paid for their efforts and skills. The OCM should not be seen as a quick path to riches; more like an added bonus, and a deserved recognition to developers.

Because complex software is both expensive and labourious to create, the OCM also encourages the creation of "like-minded groups" or syndicates of customers and developers; leading to a reduction of cost and effort for all. Other similar groupings (such as Liberto Syndicates) are also encouraged.

Link: firstmonday.org

Category:

  • Free Software
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