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Re: Opensource.com Zsh article

On Wed, Sep 18, 2019 at 6:38 PM Ray Andrews <rayandrews@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On 2019-09-18 9:13 a.m., Jérémie Roquet wrote:
> >
> > It's kind of what happens with other critical pieces of
> > infrastructure, like gnupg and openssl, unfortunately…
> >
> So I've heard.  I have no direct experience of any of that tho. You'd
> think that with Linux being so central to so many things now that
> there'd be some sort of consortium of companies and governments and
> universities to look after the essential software, even to pay the key
> people.

This does happen. Google has dedicated teams with dozens of engineers
working on Linux and LLVM. Bram Moolenaar is still working on vim and
getting paid to do so. It just so happens that neither bash nor zsh
are mission-critical for large companies. The fact that zsh is
replacing bash as the default shell on macOS will go unnoticed for the
laymen and experts alike. The former either don't use shell or won't
notice the difference; the latter know how to install their shell of
choice. There may be bugs in bash and zsh due to underfunding but
these are much harder to exploit than bugs in the kernel or javascript

It's not necessarily fair that some open-source contributors get to
enjoy working on their favorite project and getting paid to do it
while others have to fund this activity from their own pocket despite
having as much if not bigger impact on the world. My point is that
large corporations aren't acting irrationally. They generally allocate
engineering resources where the payoff is the highest. If no one is
sponsoring bash and zsh, it's because paid engineers' time (a scarce
and expensive commodity!) generates higher yield elsewhere.

One could argue that the benefits of a better shell accrue to everyone
while funding has to come from the pocket of a single company when the
funding decision is made. So we have a sort of the tragedy of the
commons. This argument is getting weaker by the day when a handful of
the largest tech companies eats an increasingly larger share of the
world economy. Google, Apple, Microsoft or Amazon can certainly afford
to spend money open source projects that make everyone better off. And
they do, roughly according to the marginal benefit-per-dollar-spent.


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