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[Pan-users] Re: ANN: Pan 0.134 "Wait for Me"

From: Duncan
Subject: [Pan-users] Re: ANN: Pan 0.134 "Wait for Me"
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2011 19:51:43 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: Pan/0.133 (House of Butterflies; GIT 25ed40d branch-testing)

Alan Meyer posted on Mon, 21 Feb 2011 10:45:55 -0800 as excerpted:

> Duncan <address@hidden> wrote:
>> ...  To recognize or fail to recognize the contributions [that some]one
>> has made, is to pay them or rob them of their "payment" -- the only
>> payment many receive.  Thus, giving credit where credit is due is a
>> *HUGE* *DEAL*; it's *NOT* a matter one can be careless with. ...
> I have found that in commercial work the employer or client is often
> motivated to DENY credit to developers.  I've had my name removed from
> work because my employer or (after I became an independent consultant)
> my client didn't want to share credit with me and especially didn't want
> someone approaching me to work for them.

That's (considered, at least by society at large) reasonable for
"for-hire" work, especially.  And it's not just coders that have that
issue, at least in the US.  (I understand that much of Europe has 
"creator's rights" that are considered "inalienable", that cannot be sold 
or otherwise detached from the author and/or heirs.  The US doesn't, 
arguably unfortunately.)

But as I pointed out (that Raymond pointed out), the FLOSS community works 
rather differently, in particular because many contributors are 
volunteers, and the "payment" of acknowledgment and respect for their 
contribution is often all or the major portion of the "payment" they get.  
In this way, if functions much like a "gifting society", like the 
"potlatch culture" of many US Pacific Northwest Indian tribes, etc.  (I 
believe "gifting society/culture" to be a sociologist community term, but 
Raymond was the one that popularized its use related to the FLOSS 
community and where I came across the application altho being from the US 
PNW I was somewhat familiar with the idea of potlatch culture, tho I'm not 
sure he was the first.)

> I can remember sitting through more than one demonstration of software
> that I wrote while a client boasted to their clients or employers about
> the great work that they did, without ever acknowledging me.  The only
> reason I was present at all is that the client wanted me there in case
> they got in trouble and needed help with something.
> Since I'm paid for the work that I do I have no grounds for complaint. 
> If they want to pay me to do work that they take credit for, I
> understand that.  I'm content to take the money and do the work.  But I
> sure do appreciate the need to credit open source developers.

It occurs to me that especially as a consultant, you could write up your 
contract to specify that you /do/ get credit, perhaps charging extra to 
waive that requirement...  Similarly, I know a number of independent coder/
contractor/consultants that specify that any code they write will be FLOSS 
(pick a license), again, generally with the ability to purchase a waiver 
from the requirement for varying percentages over and above their normal 
fees, depending on how strongly they feel about the matter, the specific 
negotiated conditions of individual contracts, etc.

Or they flip it and give discounts off the normal rate if it's FLOSS, 
especially since that generally allows them to reuse portions of their 
code elsewhere, if desired, without getting into a legal tangle, thus 
"justifying" the discount for the beancounters out there.  Of course, in 
that case, there's often a "sponsored by" on whatever particular feature 
they developed under contract for whoever, thus providing justification 
from the other viewpoint for those beancounters (it's advertisement and as 
such, worth real money).

Not that everything a consultant does is appropriate for open-sourcing, 
but particularly if that's the default and the client didn't choose to pay 
the surcharge, it allows far more flexibility of reuse, should another 
chance to use the code ever come up, thus avoiding /that/ sort of 
consultant frustration.  Ideally, then, the proprietary surcharge is 
sufficient to justify recreating the solution from scratch once more, 
should the otherwise opportunity to use the code once again ever appear, 
and again, the consultant avoids frustration, because they were paid 
enough the first time to subsidize the costs of redevelopment the second 
time around.

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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