R and linux play on greed?

TheEcologist

Global Moderator
#1
This is a spin-off from this thread that is really getting offtopic, so I will reply here.

R and linux do play on greed: I want the best software and I don't want to pay for it(different kind of greed). Plus I think people do it just in opposition of corporations, "look we can do what you do better and it's free".
Nonsense, the success of R and linux comes from far more stronger motivations than greed. That is why many big corporations cant get to grips with them as they only have the greed or "carrot and stick model". It also has absolutely nothing to do with opposition to corporations.. although it may seem like that for someone who who hasn't liberated himself from the old kind of thinking (the IBM rules thinking :p).

In a nutshell trinker: “You can’t buy love.”

When you start learning the Guitar, do you do that for profit? No! Do you do that in opposition to the music industry? Surely not. You are doing it because you get a sense of accomplishment by learning something new; a new skill. Also why are you here on this forum? Posting away and helping people for free? Think about this for a moment.. why are we spending so much time here for free? Are we nuts? No. Are we fighting the monopoly of the academic books industry? No. Still we are here. There is something intrinsically powerful in learning new things, then helping other people with this knowledge and then gaining recognition for your skill. This is something the old industries just don't get and it is the thing that goes to the core of R and linux!

Scientists are also awakening to this phenomenon of open-source communities. They were at first surprised but are now learning what truly motivates human beings; the ability to improve and better ourselves.

The following talk dicusses the science of "what motivates us" much better than I could explain. What surprisingly doesn’t motivate us is money. What actually does motivate us is fascinating so watch the talk (it’s fun, a great talk, cool presentation method and is certainly something worth thinking about):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

R and linux are generally on the other side of the spectrum from the financial side of the world. Don't think of it from an economical perspective or you will likely become confused why people are putting so much unpaid time in developing R and linux (just for love).

3 minute duke university film with Dan Ariely that puts this in perspective:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdjlOgGVRVA

So think on this. This is why R is so successful and why Linux will never die, and continue to be the motor of OS innovation. R and Linux are like a Shinto shrine.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1TZaElTAs


Linux is great but I don't see it overtaking the market in the next five years. Eventually? Maybe... but we would need a distro that is completely user friendly and does the tasks that most users want to do even better than what they're using right now (windows or OSX). Because if there isn't an incentive to switch (and being free isn't enough of an incentive to switch when you're essentially throwing out the OS that comes with the computer) then it's hard to get people to try something new.
To become a signification market share OS is not, never was and never will be the goal for linux developers and most users. Linux also doesn't need a large market share in order to matter. Many believe such a strategy will actually do Linux more harm than good, since it will have to compromise on ideas and principles that carried it this far, that makes it great, in order to accommodate new users who have no idea or interest in knowing these ideas.
 

trinker

ggplot2orBust
#2
I liked the perspective thanks for posting the Ecologist. Points very well taken. It definitely plays to creativity and flexibility.

To set the record straight I first started playing guitar to get girls (underlying motives; sorry not an idealist). It didn't work then but it works now, my baby Norah loved when I played 'puff the magic dragon' for her this morning.
 

TheEcologist

Global Moderator
#3
To set the record straight I first started playing guitar to get girls (underlying motives; sorry not an idealist). It didn't work then but it works now, my baby Norah loved when I played 'puff the magic dragon' for her this morning.
LOL!

No more powerful motivator than love eh?
 

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#5
This post is totally win.

To become a signification market share OS is not, never was and never will be the goal for linux developers and most users.
I'm not sure I completely agree with this though. I think there are probably at least a few developers that want to gain some market share (Canonical I'm looking at you).
 

Link

Ninja say what!?!
#6
Very good post Ecologist. It probably didn't come through before, but I was trying to be sarcastic. I do believe in open source and that this will only continue.

While I believe there are greedy people in this world who will try to make money from everything and anything, there are also kind people who will not.
 

trinker

ggplot2orBust
#7
theEcologist said:
Scientists are also awakening to this phenomenon of open-source communities. They were at first surprised but are now learning what truly motivates human beings; the ability to improve and better ourselves.
TE I reread your post. Very insightful. The second read grabbed my attention on the above statement (by the way you've definitely convinced me on the motivation). I got to think how we try to squeeze everything we can out of workers (I'm talking about my field in education but I'm sure it's generalizable) and dangle money as an incentive. People take the money but often produce less. So we come down on them with tighter restrictions and more mandates. Still less is produced (though they comply). Why?

You really hit it on the head about open source but this goes further into what motivates. When we restrict people's creativity (in education) and treat them like dummies they treat the job as a job. What if we we motivated with freedom and creativity instead (I'm a former school administrator)? Why did most teachers get into to begin with? To help kids. So instead of motivating them about what they care about we try to motivate them through money, coercion and other useless means.

Linux and R are a hit, gosh this site is and not because anyone receives a dime. In fact if the mention of money comes up here it's like an insult to most of us (though $60 an hour would have been nice, thanks a lot Dason). Funny this thread actually comes full circle back to the thread it broke off from.

TE you're like Yoda. Thanks for the insightful and provocative thought. It's definitely shaped my outlook.
 
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trinker

ggplot2orBust
#8
I just watched the RSA animated video. Wow! Thanks for the share. My father is a business man and just last week we were discussing how it seems that bonuses don't motivate people to do better/more work. It makes sense. I'm going to try to dig up that MIT study.
 

bryangoodrich

Probably A Mammal
#9
I have to agree with Ecologist on this one, but I wouldn't go as far as he does. Dason makes a good counter-point, for instance. The fact remains, Linux and the open-source community are not driven by a desire to make money. Open-source is first about a passion for what is going on and being a part of that community. No one does it for "free" in the sense that they don't expect something, but that something is not always income. People do it simply because they love doing it. Some do it for prestige within the community. Other's just want the pride of making the best **** OS or **** different OS (I'm looking at you **** Small Linux!). If anything, the open-source community is rich in creativity because it speaks to a much broader perspective of motivation than the "carrot-and-stick" model of business, as the Ecologist pointed out.
 

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#10
Also I think we seem to be focused on the desktop market share. If we start talking about server market share then Linux is doing very well in that regard.
 

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#12
That's cool. I think I've seen all of those videos at one point or another but didn't take the time to rewatch them this time around.
 

TheEcologist

Global Moderator
#13
That's cool. I think I've seen all of those videos at one point or another but didn't take the time to rewatch them this time around.
Yeah I posted one of them in that R discussion trinker revived, and the other one a long long time ago in post far far away.
 

Outlier

TS Contributor
#14
Defining greed as 'wanting more than one needs or deserves', in a broad sense I can't say whether I need or deserve R or linux or much else, though I can think of many people who I think are undeserving of what they get and have gotten.
 

noetsi

No cake for spunky
#15
Nonsense, the success of R and linux comes from far more stronger motivations than greed.
There are few motivations stronger than greed. Its why capitalism wiped the floor of communism for example :p
 

TheEcologist

Global Moderator
#16
I just watched the RSA animated video. Wow! Thanks for the share. My father is a business man and just last week we were discussing how it seems that bonuses don't motivate people to do better/more work. It makes sense. I'm going to try to dig up that MIT study.
Keep us updated on that. I think you can really peak your companies productivity and innovation if you know how to truly motivate people. Google seems to be doing it right.

Send us the link on that MIT study if you find it!
 

trinker

ggplot2orBust
#18
No I tried for a half hour but alas I'm working on two big ole papers so I have to suspend any of that. It's still on my to-do-list though.
 

noetsi

No cake for spunky
#19
Until relatively recently I did research on organizational performance. Google is a brillant example of an organization that manipulates its work force to achieve increased productivity while appearing to be "nice guys" in the process (which incidently also helps productivity). For example it uses vans with sophisticated computers to take employees to work - and the employees naturally do work while driving. The company gets plenty of essentially extra free work - they think the company is providing a way to work and the courtesy of a van. The company sponsors child care - which has the impact of getting employees and employee time that is worth far more than the facilities cost the company (a point reinforced by the fact that the company competes for rarified talent - much of its workforce comes from elite schools).

In days of old they called this the Human Resource approach.
 

trinker

ggplot2orBust
#20
noetsi said:
In days of old they called this the Human Resource approach.
No human resource is where you go when you're in trouble. Funny how the term took a different meaning.

Weagmans is another example of a company treating it's workers right and expecting great outcomes. They have one secret in their hiring though: They hire on personality only. The philosophy is I can teach you everything else, I can't teach you personality. If you're a jerk but have been named manager of the month 20 months straight at b & P Produce this doesn't matter, they'll hire the nice guy with no experience first. It's about building a team of team players.

The down side to that is that some dissidence is actually healthy to creativity but too much is deadly. It's a balance.