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Date: -- (:)
From: Markus Mottl <mottl@m...>
Subject: Re: R: Consortium Caml
On Mon, 05 Feb 2001, Alex Baretta wrote:
> Why not allow individuals to join for about 50E per annum. No one
> says such individuals should have as much weight as the 2kE members,
> but yet they would contribute to the funding of project and to the
> diffusion of the language.

I also think that the minimum fee of 2kE is too high. It is clear that
there should be a minimum fee that is set reasonably high enough so that
INRIA's expenses with maintaining someone's membership are covered (+
some extra money).

Why not create a virtual stock exchange for member votes? For fun
we once tried something like this for a different purpose: students
complained about the lack of disk space at our department (is this so
much different from lack of features in the OCaml distribution?). Due
to lack of departmental funds (you know this situation, do you? ;)
we were forced to open a "disk space stock exchange":

We had an IPO (i.e. we had bought a disk from our own money), students
bought the space on the primary market and could trade it on a web page
(with limit orders).  This scheme went *surprisingly* well (Adam Smith,
look down on us! ;)

Some students immediately started speculating, which (as it is on "real"
markets) reduced the overall market risk: initial price fluctations
evened out fast. When the price was high enough again (ever increasing
numbers of OCaml-users, eh, students...), we would issue further space
on the primary market (after buying new disks).

The story eventually ended (after about three years), because
of subsequent disk crashes, which ruined the market's trust in our
competence to buy good equipment and made them invest elsewhere (well,
disappointing investors with bad management (or technical!) decisions
is always a bad idea ;)

Maybe this funny suggestion seems unreasonable to you, but one shouldn't
forget that "real" stock worth trillions of dollars is traded this
way each day and it seems to work well in general. This would be a
true incentive for the OCaml-community to liquefy some money, because
it wouldn't just be a "donation" but an "investment". It would also
be an incentive for INRIA to do what the market community considers
reasonable: the price says whether the community is content or not -
a very transparent way of voting.

Why not hand this project (creation of IT-infrastructure, working out
market mechanisms and legal aspects) to a group of CS, business/economics
and law students (as some kind of seminar work)? In our experience
students are pretty eager to participate in such weird things and usually
come up with solutions that work remarkably well (and their work is
cheap! ;)

Markus Mottl

Markus Mottl,,