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Open Source: No one is working for free

Sep 03, 2010, 19:36 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Stephen Walli)

"People continue to wonder how to make money in the free and open source software world. It's dressed up in discussions of how one makes money when you give away the software for free, or why developers are working for free. It can likewise lead to a management backlash of not contributing to FOSS projects because some think their developers are working on FOSS instead of their own work.

"Here's a different way to think about it. Everyone is familiar with the idea of a normal "bell curve" distribution representing R&D investment over time. As a technology is better understood and a product succeeds in the marketplace R&D investment increases, and over time as new technologies advance the R&D investment in the original technology and product wanes. The function can also represent the "knowledge" gained or the increase in the intellectual asset base. Taking the integral of the normal distribution gives us the total investment and is the "S"-curve that is familiar to many when discussing technology innovation over time."

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