duminică, 23 ianuarie 2011

Open source and free software

Open source and free software mean the same thing. There are philosophical differences between the two groups, but the great majority of software to which the definition of open source applies would also fit the Free Software Foundation’s definition of free software.

Most people have been thinking about software from a vendor-centric viewpoint. And Microsoft is the first model that comes to one’s mind. But Microsoft model accounts for only a minority of the software that is made and used in business. Around 30% of the software that is written is sold as software. Packaged software and other sectors share different parts of the industry, as seen in the appendix section.[1] Most software is not sold at all. It is developed directly for its customer, by the customer’s own employees or by consultants who bill for the service of software creation rather than for the end product.

[1] See Appendix no. 5

gap in research investment between the EU and the United States

Currently the gap in research investment between the EU and the United States is already in excess of 130 billion a year and is still widening. To reach the 3% of GDP objective by 2010, two thirds coming from the private sector, the public sector and companies must increase their expenditure on research from 6.5% and 9.5% respectively on average each year. This initiative forms the Commission's policy response to the objective set in March 2000 by the Lisbon European Council to make Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy by 2010. It complements a series of European initiatives in the field of enterprise and innovation policy and structural reforms in the product, services, capital and labour markets.

The action plan comprises four main sets of actions: ensuring a process of European coordination, improving public support to research and technological innovation, redirecting public spending towards research and innovation, and improving framework conditions for private investment in research. Minute details about these actions taken on European scale are to be found in the appendix section.[1]

[1] See Appendix no. 4

Public policy level

On the public policy level, an effective policy framework would:
  • broaden access to capital from conventional and unconventional sources;
  • lower taxation on creative risk-taking;
  • remove content obligations and liabilities for entities that produce and distribute expression (such as obligations to provide, block, or prevent access to certain categories of content, with content providers forced to incur legal liabilities for violations – an insupportable burden that is becoming dangerously popular with governments worldwide);
  • ensure that a constant stream of new ideas and cultural forms trickle into the public domain through ‘fair use’ access protections;
  • assure reasonable, though not excessive intellectual property rights for innovation in ideas, technology, and science.[1]

In Europe, a similar trend of encouraging the creative class takes place. The Barcelona European Council of March 2002 sets the objective of increasing investment in research and technological development and bridges the gap between Europe and its main competitors. This investment should rise from 1.9% to 3% of GDP by 2010, of which two thirds should be funded by companies

[1] VENTURELLI, Shalini, “From the Information Economy to the Creative Economy: Moving Culture to the Center of International Public Policy”, Center for Arts and Culture, Washington DC, www.culturalpolicy.org

Creative class

Industrial management cannot be applied to creative workers. It is better to foster and keep long-term relationships with the creative workers, as the costs of replacing them are extremely high. Managing creative people take a very creative manager. A concern for structure and organizational charts and programs and policies is far less important than understanding the individual psychology, figuring out how to deal with the different intrinsic needs and reward structures while consistently motivating people with the rewards that motivate them. The manager has to create a structure that enables creativity to occur. This requires a complete and total break with the industrial organization structure, the hierarchical model. However, the biggest impediment to real motivation is middle management. Managers must realize that their employees see themselves as free agents. They want security, a great job, challenges, but also the opportunity to move around. So, great management means harnessing the creativity productivity of the employees for the period of time one has them.[1]

[1] Interview with Richard Florida “Managing Those Creative Types”,  http://www.creativeclass.org/, August 11, 2005