Re: [rp-ml] Open source whatchamacallits

From: Brock Hinzmann (
Date: Wed Aug 10 2005 - 16:32:56 EEST

And so you can see, from combinations of Steve's and
Adrian's responses, that the open source world becomes
quickly populated with lots of different kinds of people
(and their avatars?) with different needs and motivations.
New tools will be needed to search through the crummy
stuff to get to the good stuff. And tools will be needed
to search through all the free tools. I heard a talk
yesterday on the use of the Semantic Web that suggested we
need a Bayesian Web on top of that, in order to deal with
all the uncertainty. In some ways funny, but in some ways

Brock Hinzmann

On Wed, 10 Aug 2005 07:34:56 -0700
  Steve Baker <> wrote:
>Brock Hinzmann wrote:
>>As that infinity begins to spread, how can
>>someone make money by making it easy for someone to find
>>their way
>>across the commons? Authorization, authentication,
>>quality control,
>>digital rights management, social networks, and so on.
>There are ways to make money.
>1) Sell raw materials.
> This seems obvious - but we'd hope that all of these
> plastic gizmos could be recycled in the home - so
> we don't need as much raw materials as you might
> Also, I believe that if people feel they can
> something anytime they want it - and then recycle it
> as easily - they won't keep as much 'stuff' in their
> kitchens and garages as they do now. So there will
>be less
> raw material 'out there' than there is now.
>2) Sell designs that are better than the OpenSource
> * Because they use some patented technologies.
> * Because they come with safety guarantees.
> * That require servicing of some kind.
>3) Fabricate stuff that's beyond what a domestic device
>can do:
> * Sell services to fabricate large parts
> * - or parts that need to be made of exotic materials
> might be dangerous or impossible to fabricate with
>a domestic
> 3D printer).
>4) Assemble parts into whole machines that are just too
> for someone to assemble themselves.
>5) At least initially, you'll have to buy stuff like
>motors, computer
> chips, sensors and bearings to put into your designs.
> There will
> be a market in churning out the three standard sizes
>of electric
> motors, the four different grades of 'smart' circuit
>boards and
> the dozens of different sensors that are too small or
> to fabricate on a domestic machine.
>It's all very well to have a refrigerator-sized box in
>your garage
>that can produce all the parts to make a car - but you
>still have to
>bolt them all together and make it work. How many people
>could (or
>would want to) be presented with all of the individual
>parts of a
>Ford Explorer and have to assemble it before they could
>drive it?
>Who would trust a car made from OpenSourced parts? What
>would happen
>if a wheel fell off halfway down the freeway? Who would
>you sue?
>There is a market for trustworthy designs.
>So there must be a class of items that you'd WANT to pay
>someone to
>fabricate for you.
>Personally, I think there will eventually be a stable
>in the OpenSource software world.
>If OpenSourced software totally took over from commercial
>there would be no jobs left for programmers. If
>programmers could
>not make a living, they'd have to switch to a different
>career path
>and as a direct consequence, there would be less
>OpenSourced software
>development. That would lead to more places for
>commercial products
>to make money - resulting in more jobs for programmers
>and more
>OpenSourced stuff.
>That's a stable equilibrium. Once reached, it will be
>hard to disturb
>since it's self-correcting.
>There has to be an equilibrium point where commercial
>companies can
>make enough money in niche markets to employ the
>programmers who (in
>their spare time or whatever) produce the bulk of the
>OpenSourced stuff.
>I believe the exact same thing would be true for
>OpenSourced designs
>for everyday items. Stuff like plates and knives and
>forks, simple
>kids toys - those things would be likely to be 100%
>Complicated things like microwave ovens, cars, personal
>or whatever would be commercial products. Somewhere in
>would be a grey area where OpenSource and commercial
>would have to
>fight it out.
>---------------------------- Steve Baker
>HomeEmail: <> WorkEmail:
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