competition kills innovation

February 23rd, 2006

Someday I may publish a history of how OSx86 was originally hacked to run on PCs.

Yet why arent we dual booting already? Money. Most of you are undoubtedly aware of The Contest, a 12,000 dollar pot that will be going to the first person to provide a viable dual booting method to the sites owner. Also note the onmac network – and advertisements – that the contest has bequeathed to the once minimalist site as well another interesting commentary on money.


he problem with the contest is that it encourages poor geeks (like me) who could use the extra cash (like me) to try their hand at fixing the problem. In theory this would speed up progress. But in fact its had the opposite, somewhat paradoxical effect its slowed things down.


Its all quite predictable nothing is getting done because the sharing of information has stopped. Were there no contest, IRC channels would be full of dedicated developers sharing what theyd learned through trial and error, swapping ideas and encouraging each other. I’ve talked with some people who are very close to success… but their efforts are not public. As it stands, sharing what youve learned could cost you $12,000


This is exactly what is happening to the patent system in general and what has already happened to copyright (especially in realtion to DRM). People are putting an artificial value on the use of ‘their’ ideas and any utilisation of those ideas is being seen as a loss of revenue even when they have notmade any attempt to implement those ideas themselves.

The flow of ideas is steadily being dammed and innovation stymied for the sake of a few bushels of wheat.

One Response to “competition kills innovation”

  1. irdial Says:

    These guys never watched Sesame Street obviously. On IRC, when someone asks to share some code, all he had to say is, “If I win, Ill share the prize with you”.


    Then the code flows again, and so does the money.

    This is a non issue.

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