And who cares about "first"? How can you ever guarantee that somebody
didn't think of your idea "first"? Maybe aliens having been using B-Tree's
for billions of years.
It doesn't matter.
On Wed, Apr 09, 2003 at 12:19:49AM +0100, Jamie Lokier wrote:
> Larry McVoy wrote about unreleased improvements to Bitkeeper:
> > [...] we're worried about the open source guys stealing them.
> Seriously, do you see it as "stealing" if someone mimics your best ideas?
> What if they believe they had the idea too, but you implemented it first..?
> Personally if someone releases a piece of software that contains an
> idea similar to one that I've had, and they did a great job of
> implementing or just plain explaining the idea, and they did it before
> I even started, I _feel_ deep in my gut that I've lost something due
> to their action.
> (Forget about philosophy and economics for a moment. This message is
> about gut feelings and psychology.)
> In other words, if someone releases a great implementation of an idea
> long before I would have done so, even if I would never have gotten
> around to it, I _feel_ much the same as if the idea had been stolen
> from me. They get the credit, I lost the opportunity for credit.
> This is obviously not a fair reflection on their great work - of
> course they deserve heaps of credit for their work. It stills feels
> painful though.
> This horrible feeling is much worse when the other person insists that
> they alone had the idea and I, if I ever do anything with it later,
> will be accused of copying their superior thinking - something that I
> sometimes cannot disprove.
> When that happens, not only is my opportunity for credit lost, my
> integrity is doubted as well.
> To avoid that horrible consequential feeling, it seems safest not to
> build too much on the ideas of others, lest I be accused of "stealing".
> While that does make me feel a bit better in some ways, it does not
> seem a good way to live when I take a more objective perspective.
> Also, it does not seem very great in terms of bettering society and
> other other-person-oriented ideals.
> That's why I prefer the idea of "sharing" ideas, and promoting that as
> a way of thinking about ideas, so that thay are not perceived as owned
> by one person or another. (Ironically, this is my response to painful
> feelings that I have due to a personal sense of certain ideas being
> owned by me but acted out by others).
> Although that does leave me feeling a little uneasy too, it is not
> such a horrible feeling as being on a knife-edge race to implement
> things just before the other person, just so I can be perceived as
> "the" originator of an idea. Another reason I don't like that kind of
> race is that if I win, how must the person I beat feel?
> Well, this wasn't meant to be a rant about my personal psychological
> issues but it has turned into one :) The point was to illustrate
> underlying reasons why at least one person on this list believes it is
> better - kinder, fairer - to think of building upon another person's
> brilliantly expressed ideas as "sharing", rather than "stealing".
> For me, the principle of open source vs. closed source flows from
> that. For me it has little to do with access to source. (I can
> reverse engineer a binary if necessary, for the time being). It's
> about permission, praise, encouragement, and ultimately happiness.
> Not that the issue is ever that simple.
> It also underlines the importance of granting credit where it's due -
> not just as a line in a copyright notice, but with full recognition of
> the work done to refine a difficult idea. And, Larry, you're right
> that years of hard work can be cloned in a few days. It does suck
> when someone does that and then takes all the credit for the result -
> whether that's personal or economic in form.
> I guess the economics of ideas, implementations and credit has plenty
> of maturing left to do.
> -- Jamie
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