Friday, January 20, 2006

Cosmic Evolution

Open source is both politic and software model applied to the business model.

Is it a business model? No. I agree with Tim Bray. It isn't.

IMHO, it is shared values. Not ideology, but values.

I won't enumerate those but for one by example:

Many turtle graphic systems have been developed, but
<canvas/> works because there is one language we all speak:


HTML's ubiquity is not based on a business model but on a model of how software should evolve for the betterment of those who use it: by always being there. That was the choice of those that built it. Read their books, read their blogs, read their lists, love their flames, style, mendacity, eagerness to challenge and eagerness to learn and eagerness to explore.

... but most importantly, to share.

For that reason, HTML is the language we all speak.

That did not come of business, it came because of what we wished for and worked for for each other: to communicate across the boundaries, to seek each other out, to want to know the differences, and to discover in all of that those things by which we are the same embracing those we choose as we choose. Freedom to know ourselves and each other isn't a business model. It is yearning for each other.

It is the mammal in you. The human.

The older I get the more I find I only really believe in two things: music and love for these reliably bring us together in yearning. The web is that desire made very large. While governments watch nervously, we have opened up the world to each other.

Cosmic evolution is choosing the means to find each other. That's all. That's enough. But if in all of that you feel an even higher power, know that it is not an uncommon feeling among the humans. If the wisdom of crowds is usually reliable, then it is wise to yearn for each other for it is something we all want to do. And if we feel in that or life in numbers there is a greater power of yearning that touches all, it is possibly true.

Self-directed evolution is cosmic evolution. You choose and become.

As ye olde Hippie bands sang, "Who Do You Love?"

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Roll The Dice On Likable Choices: A Left Wing Lunatic Set of Amoral and Completely Unworkable Ideas Because No One Likes Me

Extremist Jihad Osama Bin Ladin Allah Muslim MightLikeNakedWomen... is that enough keywords to get the attention of the attention-obsessed with their hands on the dials?

You know who you are. And now, so does the rest of the world.

Now that I have your attention:

Re-elect Jimmy Carter for President

He is experienced, above moral reproach, hard working, well-educated, fiscally conservative, well-liked internationally and ... eligible. He can't be bribed because at his age, he doesn't need anything. He is an evangelical but not a neo-con. He is the perfect spoiler and has good hair. He can pronounce 'nuclear'. He is on a first name basis with most of the world's leaders and as far as we know, no one wants to assassinate him. With a solid staff and an eminent but trustworthy VP, he can do this. It would be fun to watch the attack dogs set on him because he could turn and say, "Now, there you go again." Priceless.

We elected him last time because we were tired of crooks and meanies. Anyone really happy about the current choices? Let's roll the dice on a person we all like.

Make Open Source Code Development Tax Deductible

Fess up to reality. The illusion of a frictionless community of zero cost code is made of models of the code itself, not models of the cost of owning the code. To improve that, reduce the amount of it you need, increase the quality of what you use and don't waste all of your time trying to measure that and control it. It is a ecosystem of cooperators who share costs for code evolution. Just stimulate it. It already knows how to do the rest.

I realize it's not in the nature of sales to espouse a commissionless system, but it may not be their choice. Software ecosystems don't require sales. They require non-negotiable price lists.

Services, of course, are negotiated. However...

Understand The Middle

If the top and bottom of the stack are free to use, all the IP and non-open source software is in the middle. That's a cosmic d'oh in the software development community, but I'm not quite sure the businessHeads get this. To control costs, you either

  • Accept a business model where the middle is commoditized (translation: no legacy interfaces, all standard business documents and forms, single roots for the ontologies, standard contracting and licensing, in short, very few negotiated options in the software costs, or

  • You measure and cut and name and send out an RFP with the best wishlist the organization or your consultant can produce. RFP authors take note: you have champagne tastes, you pay champage prices. If you can party on beer, prices are better.

  • Model one is cheaper. It means change for the organization but the mammals are quite adaptible. Be aware that the perceived value of local code is better costed as frequency of use/cost of use across some organizational boundary. The second term provides for the fact that low frequency cost hits even at higher costs are unavoidable because of the value proposition of the service. Software costs are not the source of the highest costs: the cost of use is.

    Make Internet Legal Services A Tax Deductible Purchase

    The problem of the middle is local variations on common processes. Accelerate the purchase of XBRL and other standard contracting systems. Gains here scale all the way through the economic model of in both government and business operations. Provide grants for government systems that provably conform to the open standards.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Real In Alabama

    When Dr. Martin Luther King said,

    I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

    my generation was embroiled in the painful integration of the schools. We were the guineas, the living material of a Petri dish of social change. For all said on both sides, it was our daily routines, our social interests that had to adapt to the strangers put among us by law and not always out of choice. For all the praises now of that time, it was a hard slog to get past stereotypes and baiting, but most hard to get past the fear bred into us. Fear was our inheritance, a legacy of separate worlds, separate cultures and separate destinies. With every riot in the halls, every protest, every fight behind the gym, every kid held up to a wall for money, or threatened with bricks, or threatened with worse, we thought it a terrible time and a wonderful time, so great were our differences. It would take generations to make Dr. King's dream real. So we thought.

    When my daughter asked me last weekend what she should write for her school assignment for the holiday my generation had celebrated as Robert E. Lee Day, I told her that she should remember her black friends and that part of Dr. King's speech. She should understand that some dreams are realized, if imperfectly, if late, if only in part, but that part realized is to be celebrated. Here in 2006, almost 40 years and most of my life later, it isn't a dream. It is real. My son and my daughter are that dream.

    For justice' sake, for the sake of our children, for the sake of all children, be hopeful, be patient, be determined. What is dreamed can become real. Fear may live on, but a generation of praiseworthy parents can choose not to will it to their children.

    As Dr. King said rightly, "Thank God almighty."

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