Random, triggered by a recent discussion on plants.
"Oh, the bounty of nature and keeping us healthy..."
"Bounty? Do you know how many kinds of plants there are? 300 million? More? How many of those plants want to kill you? 300 million? More?"
Anyway, this led to a possible urban myth about the history of potatoes. An entrepreneur wanting to get a civilization to try potatoes, planted a garden. Then set up guards around it. Once ready, after many days and nights of aggressive patrols, the guards all got the night off.
So, randomly to human incentive.
Is that what free software needs? Guards and bullies up around the alpha trials?
The guards and bullies are the paid-for software. They never get the night off. So, on a patch in someone's back garden, "nearly-potatoes" are planted, free for all to harvest and propagate (analogy breaks down a little here, since software is not a "physical thing" in this form).
Nearly-potatoes may be a little rough-looking, and the taste may be a bit off, but they are open to anyone to improve, so that one day actual-potatoes may not seem so hot (to mix metaphors).
Who are you after motivating? Get-something-for-free people are happy. Scared-of-no-support-or-vapourware people don't really understand things (or are trapped in the corporate bureaucracy that used to be "no one ever got fired for buying IBM"). The improvers-of-almost-potatoes...?
Oh, the fringe cases; governments, big business. :-)
The problem is: Humans have been taught that you get nothing for nothing and battle to get their heads around the fact that Open Source is usually something awesome for nothing!
Hmm, good point James.
Perhaps thuggery and beatings about the head for showing curiosity. Make it worthwhile for people to risk learning. ;-)
And yeah, I'd like to ask Richard Stallman to invent a new word.
Sidebar: GNU is not a fan of the word open when applied to software. The stance is, is that it diminishes free software. Richard's meaning of free is deeper than free. It might help with licensing legaleze if there is a nerd word for four freedom free software. Enough programmers pick up on the word, and (a decade or two later) it's Webster definition could well be used in easier to understand legal documentation. :-) Or not.
Or and James, that isn't a barb; just an observation to anyone reading along. Personally, I'm a little sad that open is pulled from GNU documentation (or at least, writers are asked, I don't know if anyone would ever pull anything). So, when I'm not writing something as a GNU maintainer, free and open it is. ;-) Out of respect for GNU, when it is under the guise of maintainer, free, it is.
I think 'open software' was coined by Eric Raymond to placate those who wanted to make software available but to not allow copyleft. So it's a term of art and definitely not liked by Stallman and company.
I opened up the can, asked Richard and GNU programmers to think about a new word. Not a catchphrase or amalgam but a new word.
Along the lines of
manumit: by my hand, I set you free
gnuword: by my hand, I keep you free
Manumit has issues, both with the whole slavery thing, (even though manumit is on the 'positive' side of that fence) as well as male gender bias. But I think the world could use a "by my hand I keep you free" word and then Free Software could be Gnuword Software with more oomph, understanding, and a whole lot less explaining.