"The Internet itself could hardly be more widely used yet less
well-understood. Here we have a form of infrastructure that
embodies both free-as-in-freedom and free-as-in-beer, that has much
in common with the purely public goods we call gravity, sunlight
and atmosphere, and is still seen by those who bill us for it as a
valved "service", on par with call waiting and premium TV
"Way back in the Web's Paleozoic, I wrote my first piece for
Linux Journal (actually for its short-lived sister/insert,
WEBsmith). It was titled "A Bulldozer Through The Intersection".
The title played off a Newt Gingrich line: "The key to a monopoly
is to get in the middle of an intersection and charge rent." Today
no sentiment could hardly be more Old Skool. Yet the New Skool is
barely in session. Urges to valve abundance and package it as
scarcities still run strong. In some cases this makes sense. It
really does cost money, for example, to connect homes and
businesses to the Net's backbones, and ways must be found to pay
for that. (Not saying the carriers have found the right ways, just
that they have capex and opex, both of which need to be covered,
somehow.) In other cases, such as with free and open source
software, no "business model" is required. Yet the absence of one
is still hard for many to grok."
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