[Discuss] Free Hardware

Nancy Ouyang nancy.ouyang at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 23:14:03 UTC 2015

Javier, I am proposing that the bigger problem is not that we as community
don't praise / pay / be nice to each other enough.

Everyone would like to be paid more money and praised more to work on fun
things. No one thinks being able to make a living is immoral. Labor is
ideally rewarded with both pay and praise [2].

But strategically, if we want to use money to speed up OSHW North Star
adoption, we should focus not just on individual members of the OSHW
community ("pay don't just praise"), but to where the money lies right now
-- companies, government, and rich people. [1]

[1] let's go by SEC standards -- credit to https://wefunder.com/welcome &

   -  My net worth is *over $1 million, excluding my home.*
   -  *My income was $200k+ for past two years*. I expect the same this
   -  I invest on behalf of an accredited business or VC firm.

[2]  Actually, praise can very well lead to pay, they're not as distinct as
you think in today's socially connected world. Look at $4 toast or cruffins
But it usually takes effort and skill to convert praise into pay *(*whisper*
I think when enough people do so the same way, it becomes codified as a new
business model... *end whisper*)*, so most people prefer straight-up pay.

The worse-case outcome of glorifying unpaid labor is when people who don't
like the uninteresting work of converting praise into pay become
perpetually unpaid = going broke. Thus, to save these people from become
bitter and angry, I agree we need to emphasize pay over praise.

narwhaledu.com, educational robots <http://gfycat.com/ExcitableLeanAkitainu>
 [[<(._.)>]] my personal blog <http://www.orangenarwhals.com>,
arvados.org (open source software for provenance, reproducing, and scaling
your analyses)

On Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 6:36 PM, Javier Serrano <Javier.Serrano at cern.ch>

> On 03/12/2015 10:38 PM, Matt Maier wrote:
> > Back to your question of people making their living off of
> > free/libre/open work; it's possible that many of the electronics
> > engineers you mentioned want a certain salary mostly because they have
> > to put up with a lot of BS. If the way they spent their day was just
> > inherently more enjoyable maybe they wouldn't need as much money to do
> > it. What if the free/libre/open community could make itself an
> > inherently pleasant place to be? Maybe the community could approach
> > disagreements as opportunities to compete and explore rather than
> > battles to decide winners and idiots.
> Money *is* one more way to show your appreciation for somebody. Let me
> illustrate this with the case of Werner Koch [1]. Werner writes software
> which is important for many of us. He decided to be a free software
> developer but lack of funds made this experience far less pleasurable
> than it should have been. You can thank Werner for his work with words
> and with a donation. He will be pleased with both, I guess, and
> something tells me he will especially appreciate the latter. A donation
> involves getting rid of a scarce good (money) and can therefore be a
> powerful way of saying "I really mean it," not to speak about how useful
> it will be for Werner. Money is just a tool which has got a bad name in
> some circles because many people misuse it.
> > That's not to say that people can pay their mortgage with love ;) just
> > that if free/libre/open hardware is always going to inherently cost
> > money we can at least reduce the other barriers to entry.
> I have always thought that the fact that one has to pay for hardware is
> actually good for OSHW. I am not a fan of unpaid labor. In order to vote
> with your wallet, you have to pull it out of your pocket first. In free
> software, the temptation is big to not pay at all. In hardware that's
> just not possible. Once you are in a paying mindset, it is natural to
> wonder what the best way of spending your money is.
> > Thanks, this is a really interesting conversation :)
> Thank you, I also enjoy reading your opinions, and I agree with Nancy
> about the benefit of constructive controversy. I should apologize for
> having diverged from the original subject of the thread, but I feel
> strongly about the incentives issue. I think I made my point and I
> understood yours, so thank you for that.
> Cheers,
> Javier
> [1]
> http://www.propublica.org/article/the-worlds-email-encryption-software-relies-on-one-guy-who-is-going-broke
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