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The Magic Cauldron

December 9, 2008

This chapter explains the economic, yet technical side of Open Sources. The author explained something how his developments fundings have started and how it was invest for a long time. He also share his insights how people were amazed to what Open Source is actually offering to them.

To many people, the successes of the open-source community seem like an implausible form of magic. High-quality software materializes “for free”, which is nice while it lasts but hardly seems sustainable in the real world of competition and scarce resources.

Indeed, Open Source is too good to be true and thus must be magic.

Open Source Software developers are evidently motivated by many factors but favoring features over quality is not noticeable amongst them. For many developers, peer review and acclaim is important, so it’s likely that they will prefer to build software that is admired by their peers. Highly prized factors are clean design, reliability and maintainability, with adherence to standards and shared community values preeminent.

So how can we evaluate the payoff from open source? It’s a difficult question in general, but we can approach it as we would any other predictive problem. We can start from observed cases where the open-source approach has succeeded or failed. We can try to generalize to a model that gives at least a qualitative feel for the contexts in which open source is a net win for the investor or business trying to maximize returns. We can then go back to the data and try to refine the model.

There are additional benefits of open source security tools. Most of them are more or less “free”.  The solutions are available to anyone with the time and need to install them.

Perhaps a tool doesn’t do exactly what you need – you can break open the code and fix it yourself. Open source provides a flexibility not available in closed products. Hopefully, if you do make improvements to an open tool you’ll offer them back to the original developer and community at large. The give-and-take of the gift economy benefits everyone.

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