Simon's blog

Open source altruism

A brilliant quote from Stephen Turnbull, which I'm still digesting:
The open source community's goals are in general not altruistic, or at least not necessarily so. We have a classic multiperson prisoners' dilemma here (it is a dominant strategy, or nearly so, for everyone to free ride) with substantial beneficial externalities to choosing the dominated strategy. These beneficial externalities are especially strong because of the network effects.