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[Caml-list] Whither the Caml Consortium?
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Date: 2001-10-20 (19:36)
From: Markus Mottl <markus@o...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Whither the Caml Consortium?
On Fri, 19 Oct 2001, Brian Rogoff wrote:
> That number is embarassingly small. I've seen a number of posts here
> from people at large companies. It is amazing that so few of these
> companies are willing to join, and that relatively small companies like
> Artisan, where I work, and FluxMedia, should be taking a leadership
> role.

Unfortunate as it is, but I am absolutely not surprised by the low number
of members in the Consortium, and I already explained the reasons here
when it began to form.

While three small companies have stepped in (most likely with the minimum
investment), the big rest is simply free riding. One can assume that
most industrial companies share similar needs with respect to OCaml.
Since they do not win opportunities by joining the Consortium (rather
lose them = money), because other members are likely to do the "home work"
for the rest anyway, it's a rational decision to stay outside.

It may even be the case that the mentioned companies only joined
in, because they have so specific needs that it is unlikely that
other companies will solve their problems in the Consortium. So the
realistic assumption is that the current three members haven't joined
the Consortium out of altruism and love for OCaml, but merely out of
very specific selfish reasons, which may not necessarily be for the
benefit of the whole OCaml-community. I am not accusing anybody here,
it's just one possible, rational explanation...

I'd be very, very surprised if the situation improved significantly in
the future. Unless INRIA finds a way to let people benefit from being
members of (= having rights in) the Consortium irrespective of the direct
benefit of "produced goods", in other terms, as long as there is no way to
invest for financial benefit, we won't see any change here anytime soon.

Therefore, I still propose that membership rights, whose amount of
control must be clearly defined, be permanent and tradeable. The last
property may require infrastructure that INRIA isn't allowed to build up
or use out of legal considerations, I don't know. But if it is possible,
you can bet that a significantly higher amount of money can be raised
for the future development of OCaml.

To answer Brian here: it's not the fault of the companies that haven't
yet joined in. It's probably just that the current scheme may not be
the most appropriate one for our goals...

Markus Mottl

Markus Mottl                                             markus@oefai.at
Austrian Research Institute
for Artificial Intelligence                  http://www.oefai.at/~markus
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