Every now and then I get handed a paper and asked for feedback. Most of the time, these papers have long boring titles and lots of funny charts with red error bars on them. I’ve even written a few of them myself, so I guess that’s why I get handed more and more. But go ahead – I enjoy another article on clustering (Gordon Bell handed me one a while back) or TOE’s (that was one of the SiliconTCP boys). I’ll even look at the “let’s drop TCP and make it fast” papers, because sometimes the authors are actually pinpointing a real-world problem even if I don’t agree with their proposed solution.
But I was recently referred to a paper “Open Innovation: The Paradox of Firm Investment in Open Source Software” by Gallagher and West precisely because it related to the evolution of open source, and since I’m often referred to as a “Pioneer of Open Source” with 386BSD, this is another topic on which I get requests for feedback. So I read the paper discussed, and found their discussion of proprietary work quite good. However, I also found that their isolation of time in studies (1998 onwards) actually missed the primary evolution of every single open source model cited in the paper, which misses the point of the exercise, likely due to ignorance of the topic. So perhaps an examination of Berkeley’s influence in this regard would be a valuable addition.