Kartik Agaram

08/31/2022, 6:51 AM
Public domain products are strictly superior to equivalent non-public domain alternatives by a significant margin on three dimensions: trust, speed, and cost to build.
I believe you on 1/3 of those: trust. It's not clear to me why speed and cost only depend on the (lack of) licensing structure. And you don't ever explain your reasoning, just repeat the claim multiple times.

Breck Yunits

08/31/2022, 2:47 PM
Really appreciate it @Kartik Agaram! I updated the post, bulking up the arguments on speed and cost

Jason Morris

08/31/2022, 3:46 PM
I disagree. On trust, first, public domain tools can also have hidden agendas. Second, non-public domain tools are clearly actually trusted. Third, non-public serves to make the product exclusionary, which enables the owner to capture some of the value, which increases the resources available to the owner to improve the product, potentially making it more trustworthy. You can't just pretend that benefit doesn't exist. Fourth, risks about hidden agendas can be mitigated by means other than public domain. On speed and cost, implementation time is not the only relevant factor. Reuse beats reinvent most of the time. Buy is a version of reuse, and the ability to profit from selling it creates a motivation to share that does not exist otherwise. There is no open source version of myriad tools that exist in closed source. That public domain alternatives are superior to closed alternatives does not mean everything should be public domain. The public domain option needs to exist before it can be better, and public domain reduces the incentive to create. Where they exist, they are preferable, but that is not prescriptive about when to create them.

Jonathan Arnett

08/31/2022, 5:20 PM
One thing I'd like to call out is the merits of copyleft and permissive licenses. I, too, am very commonly annoyed by closed-source software that I can't modify or understand more deeply (cough Obsidian cough). But public domain isn't the only way to make things available for people to read, modify, or redistribute. Firefox, the Linux kernel, PostgreSQL (since you mentioned SQLite), etc, are all available to be read, modified, and redistributed as you see fit. Is public domain really superior to their assorted licenses?

Tom Larkworthy

09/01/2022, 7:37 AM
Are you sure you mean public domain or do you mean open source? Sqlite is an exception not the rule. Postgres is not public domain but very trusted. Linux is not public domain but has done extremely well in the open. Wikipedia is not public domain either, nor is it a particularly trustworthy information source, but it seems to be more like what you are advocating. GNU is NOT public domain. Very few things are public domain.