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Linux Ecosystem Is Worth $25 Billion

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  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday October 20, 2008 @12:03PM (#25441997) Homepage Journal

    This is therefore an example of Post hoc ergo propter hoc

    This is an example of someone not understanding what a particular logical fallacy actually is, and throwing it against the wall hoping it will stick.

    Seriously. These online lists of classic fallacies are useful resources, and I think they've done a lot of good by helping people learn to recognize arguments that fail in certain predictable ways, but I'm getting really tired of people just grabbing their favorite and applying it to whatever argument is at hand without pausing to make sure that it actually applies in any meaningful way.

  • by Alarindris (1253418) on Monday October 20, 2008 @12:28PM (#25442353)
    Mod parent up.

    A occurred, then B occurred.
    Therefore, A caused B.

    I really don't see how that applies here.

    I think the converse fallacy of accident is more applicable.

    Every (business/good/OS) I've seen is worth something, so it must be true that Linux is worth something.

    But, as was stated, Linux is not for sale.
  • Hmm? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Moraelin (679338) on Monday October 20, 2008 @12:41PM (#25442541) Journal

    Hmmm, I'm not sure I understand in which way it is a Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy.

    Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc, means almost literally what its translation says: Y happened after X, therefore Y happened because of X. In other words it's mistaking chronology for causation. E.g.,

    - I bought a new cell phone last year, and this year I occasionally have migraines. Therefore, the cell phone is obviously the cause of my headaches.

    - Bill Hicks spoke against God and religion, then (after many years of it) Bill Hicks died relatively young. Of cancer. Obviously his lack of faith is the cause of his illness.

    - I got a raise, and soon thereafter the latest economic bubble burst and the credit crunch kicked in. Obviously my raise the cause of the recession. My wage is that big a burden on the economy ;)

    - Jane bought a new TFT monitor, and soon thereafter she got diagnosed with melanoma. Therefore the radiation from TFT monitors must have caused it.

    - John switched from Linux to BSD, and soon afterwards he ended up in a mental institution. Therefore BSD drives people insane.

    Etc.

    The common theme there is really this: "happened after, therefore happened because". Temporal succession => causality.

    The difference between it and, say, "correlation != causation" is that here usually you don't even have enough of a sample to even have a proper correlation. You have two random anecdotes and the only thing that connects them is the order of their timestamps, so to speak, and that succession is taken to mean causation.

    But you probably knew that already.

    So, anyway, assuming that you did mean that particular fallacy, in which way do you see it at work there? It doesn't seem obvious at all to me, and I'm genuinely curious. What case of chronology mistaken for casuality do you have in mind there?

  • by sgtrock (191182) on Monday October 20, 2008 @02:25PM (#25444163)
    Here's a report [europa.eu] released on November 2006. Quoting from the executive summary:

    Direct economic impact of FLOSS

    The existing base of quality FLOSS applications with reasonable quality control and distribution would cost firms almost Euro 12 billion to reproduce internally. This code base has been doubling every 18-24 months over the past eight years, and this growth is projected to continue for several more years.

    This existing base of FLOSS software represents a lower bound of about 131 000 real person-years of effort that has been devoted exclusively by programmers. As this is mostly by individuals not directly paid for development, it represents a significant gap in national accounts of productivity. Annualised and adjusted for growth this represents at least Euro 800 million in voluntary contribution from programmers alone each year, of which nearly half are based in Europe.

    Firms have invested an estimated Euro 1.2 billion in developing FLOSS software that is made freely available. Such firms represent in total at least 565 000 jobs and Euro 263 billion in annual revenue. Contributing firms are from several non-IT (but often ICT intensive) sectors, and tend to have much higher revenues than non-contributing firms.

    Defined broadly, FLOSS-related services could reach a 32% share of all IT services by 2010, and the FLOSS-related share of the economy could reach 4% of European GDP by 2010. FLOSS directly supports the 29% share of software that is developed in-house in the EU (43% in the U.S.), and provides the natural model for software development for the secondary software sector.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss

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