Tue 10 Jun 2003
The Grass Grows Taller When It's Grazed On
Category : Commentary/grass.txt
In "The Future of Ideas - The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World" (by Lawrence Lessig), there's a remark by Eric Raymond ("The Cathedral and the Bazaar") about Open Source, "[It creates an inverse commons. Grazing does not reduce the code that is available. Instead], in this inverse commons, the grass grows taller when it's grazed on."
That's pertinent to the bulletin board I had set up. What I have to hope for is that it becomes an inverse commons. If more people come to graze, the collected wisdom (the grass) will grow taller, which in turn attracts ever more people to come over. And that process feeds on itself in a virtuous circle.
Then you can do more with it. Discuss. Know who you can connect to. And then create - to bring something back to the community.
Will it work? I don't know. But why bother? Well, as a developer, I've felt the lack of a Mac-based ecosystem like a mountaineer out of oxygen. Nothing in all the current discussion groups convinces me that this has changed. It's Apple selling to the distributors selling to the hobbyists. The money flows one way. But at some point, you've got to make money out of the platform to justify the costs you've sunk into it. Unless the Mac is integral to commerce, it's just an incidental purchase, easily swept away in the next platform-standardisation pogrom.
The irony is that the Mac is (potentially) the "Ultimate Business Machine". At least more so than the PC. But how do you demonstrate that? That is the question.