"Free" has been a founding concept in the Linux world since before there was Linux or GNU/Linux, if you prefer. In his history of the GNU project, Richard M. Stallman begins, "When I started working at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab in 1971, I became part of a software-sharing community that had existed for many years. Sharing of software was not limited to our particular community; it is as old as computers, just as sharing of recipes is as old as cooking."
And the rest of the world is finally, irrevocably, catching up. Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired, is Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business. In Will Money Follow Free, Jay Deragon (co-author of The Emergence of the Relationship Economy) a book for which I wrote the forward), makes a subtle and important point about how business works:
In the old business models markets were chased and developed based on “relationships”. The old business models served the markets with a mindset of “capture and contain” rather than “attract and give“. In the old business models the predominant influence was from sales and marketing divisions because they had or created the relationships. If the top sales and marketing people left one firm for another the relationships typically followed. The old system tried to contain relationships by putting “non-compete” agreements on people and heavy handed legal agreements with customers and suppliers, people. You can institutionalize processes but the choice about relations has always been and will continue to be free.
Jay also points to Kevin Kelly's Better than Free, in which Kevin says it's helpful to think of free in terms of replication:
The internet is a copy machine. At its most foundational level, it copies every action, every character, every thought we make while we ride upon it. In order to send a message from one corner of the internet to another, the protocols of communication demand that the whole message be copied along the way several times. IT companies make a lot of money selling equipment that facilitates this ceaseless copying. Every bit of data ever produced on any computer is copied somewhere. The digital economy is thus run on a river of copies. Unlike the mass-produced reproductions of the machine age, these copies are not just cheap, they are free....
This super-distribution system has become the foundation of our economy and wealth. The instant reduplication of data, ideas, and media underpins all the major economic sectors in our economy, particularly those involved with exports — that is, those industries where the US has a competitive advantage. Our wealth sits upon a very large device that copies promiscuously and constantly.
Yet the previous round of wealth in this economy was built on selling precious copies, so the free flow of free copies tends to undermine the established order. If reproductions of our best efforts are free, how can we keep going? To put it simply, how does one make money selling free copies?
I have an answer. The simplest way I can put it is thus:
When copies are super abundant, they become worthless.
When copies are super abundant, stuff which can't be copied becomes scarce and valuable.
When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.
Well, what can't be copied?
There are a number of qualities that can't be copied.
Kevin then outlines eight "generatives" that can't be copied: immediacy, personalization, interpretation, authenticity, embodiment, patronage and findability.
I'm writing this at Logan airport, just a few minutes before boarding a plane, so I don't have time to add much beyond my expectation that those who bet on generativity will win, and that those who bet against it will lose.
The sweet irony of the success of free software is that little of it was written for profit. Most of it was written simply to solve practical problems. The result is an endless abundance of highly practical and easily copied (or, in RMS's terms, shared) building materials from which anything can be made, quickly and easily.
All of the scarce things Kevin lists can fall under the heading of relationships, which far more than transaction and money flow are the binding connective tissue of business.
Stay tuned. :-)
(Looking to add more to this after I get to Los Angeles... In the meantime, this will have to do.)
Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.View Now!
|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide