This is a response to my colleague Michael Tiemann’s blog posting. Despite the “add a comment” link over yonder at, I have yet to see any comment actually published, so here we go.

It may be misleading to draw an analogy that compares the “millions” of people who can conceivably participate in open source software to the “half-million” employees of e.g. IBM. Those hypothetical millions are not coordinated with each other just by virtue of working on “open source” — not any more than the efforts of all people working an economy are “coordinated” by virtue of capitalism. The largest open source projects may have genuine coordination of a few hundred people, but those projects are few and of a comparable scale to proprietary ones.

On the positive side, it is nice to see Michael sense the “false choice” (false dichotomy) “between exclusive reliance on the government and exclusively ignoring the problem altogether”. This perception is mainly private to statists, for whom there are no problems for which government action is the wrong solution. Another mass of people called “individualists”, “conservatives” or perhaps “libertarians” — in any case, somewhere along that axis — have never held that “false choice” belief. Welcome to the club, Michael, in even a small way.