"The Community is the Company''
April 6, 2001
The proprietary software development problem is a structural problem and therefore requires a structural solution1. The diagram below illustrates the appropriate company structure for free software developers. In this solution, software developers join together to align their natural power with market power, so as to replace the proprietary software development paradigm going forward into the 21st century. The major innovation of the FreeDevelopers structure is that it inverts the traditional developer-marketer axis, so that the community of software developers controls the marketers. The proprietary structure has it reversed -- the corporate marketers have been controlling the developers. A proprietary structure fundamentally depends upon the source code being secret, because the marketers have no natural power. Marketers gain power over the developers by using the financial markets to pay them to close their code, thereby causing developer community fragmentation, division and subjugation. It has nothing whatsoever to do with better code or more efficient development. The FreeDevelopers structure corrects that malformation, by aligning financial power with the natural power of developers. In so doing it frees the code, and therefore the developers. From a historical perspective, our structure can be viewed as a continuation of the trend in specialization occurring since the beginning of computing. In the earliest days, hardware, marketing and software development were all in one firm (e.g., IBM). In the 1980s, the firm divided into the hardware side (e.g., Intel-based computers) and the software development/marketing side (e.g., Microsoft). Now at the beginning of the 21st century, the FreeDevelopers structure continues this specialization trend by further dividing the traditional software firm into a marketing side and a developer side. However, while distinct (because of different economic imperatives), the marketing side is subject to, and controlled by, the developer side. As the software community is naturally international, FreeDevelopers joins together software developers from around the globe. We currently have supporters on 7 continents and 43 countries. FreeDevelopers
FreeDevelopers is an international community of GPL software developers.
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Tony Stanco The Community is the company
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