Open Source, Empty Wallet

New article on Workbench: Eric S. Raymond, Bazaar financial advisor.

I've been watching Raymond's work as an expert in the world of dot-com finance since "Surprised by Wealth," his 1999 Slashdot essay proclaiming that his overnight transformation into a VA Linux multimillionaire wouldn't change him.

Variants of the words "wealth," "money", and "millions" appear 23 times in the piece, along with "anyone who bugs me for a handout, no matter how noble the cause and how much I agree with it, will go on my permanent shit list."

Now that he's dispensing business advice to Sun Microsystems about releasing Java under an open source license, I think it's time to point out that Raymond is the last person in the world anyone should go to for investment advice.

If anyone believes that Wall Street has learned anything from the dot-com bust, take heed of the fact that Merrill Lynch and other firms are asking people who give away their code to tell them how to make money on software.


I've always found it funny that open source people propose that they will be able to make money from providing support. These are the same generally anti-social people who for the most part have problems communicating with users and would not be caught dead doing "tech support work".

The only people that can and will make money from opensource software are the very large corporations selling consultation and services. And if anyone thinks that these big corporations are going to hire open source engineers in the long run, they are sorely mistaken. Large corporations will hire programmers for bottom dollar prices in low GDP countries (for better or for worse).

Absolutely: look at barely-socialized people like Ken Coar.


I'm afraid I got the wrong takeaway from the market cap comparison, too: holy cow, Red Hat's market cap is a third of Sun's?

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