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The Magic Cauldron --Eric Raymond

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The Magic Cauldron

by Eric S. Raymond

June 1999


This paper analyzes the evolving economic substrate of the open-source
phenomenon. We first explode some prevalent myths about the funding of program
development and the price structure of software. We present a game-theory
analysis of the stability of open-source cooperation. We present eight models
for sustainable funding of open-source development; two non-profit, seven
for-profit. We continue to develop a qualitative theory of when it is
economically rational to be closed. We then examine some novel additional
mechanisms the market is now inventing to fund for-profit open-source
development, including the reinvention of the patronage system and task
markets. We conclude with some tentative predictions of the future.

1. Indistinguishable From Magic

2. Beyond Geeks Bearing Gifts

3. The Manufacturing Delusion

4. The ``information wants to be free'' Myth

5. The Inverse Commons

6. Reasons for Closing Source

7. Use-Value Funding Models

   o 7.1 The Apache case: cost-sharing
   o 7.2 The Cisco case: risk-spreading

8. Why Sale Value is Problematic

9. Indirect Sale-Value Models

   o 9.1 Loss-Leader/Market Positioner
   o 9.2 Widget Frosting
   o 9.3 Give Away the Recipe, Open A Restaurant
   o 9.4 Accessorizing
   o 9.5 Free the Future, Sell the Present
   o 9.6 Free the Software, Sell the Brand
   o 9.7 Free the Software, Sell the Content

10. When To Be Open, When To Be Closed

   o 10.1 What Are the Payoffs?
   o 10.2 How Do They Interact?
   o 10.3 Doom: A Case Study
   o 10.4 Knowing When To Let Go

11. The Business Ecology of Open Source

12. Coping With Success

13. Open R&D and the Reinvention of Patronage

14. Getting There From Here

15. Conclusion: Life After The Revolution

16. Bibliography and Acknowledgements

17. History

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Best Regards,

      Adobe Systems                 Tel: 1 408 536 3945   (W14-128)
      Advanced Technology Group     Fax: 1 408 537 4042 
      W14-128 345 Park Avenue     Email: raman@adobe.com 
      San Jose , CA 95110 -2704     Email:  raman@cs.cornell.edu
      http://labrador.corp.adobe.com/~raman/        (Adobe Intranet)
      http://cs.cornell.edu/home/raman/    (Cornell)
    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are my own and in no way should be taken
as representative of my employer, Adobe Systems Inc.

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