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I think that the problem is that the old model (proprietary development) is pretty unworkable too - but the effects are distributed less starkly. In the old days we had compilers from various vendors at a range of obsolescence, source code would work under a particular compiler and the compiler license was associated with that component. There was no budget for buying a new compiler for a particular project and maintenance gradually got worse and worse, meaning things had to be rebuilt eventually. Good for developers, good for vendors, bad for the bottom line and wider economic development. I wonder what the right size of operation for implementing, innovating and supporting a project like Julia is (not what people would dream of, but the operation that would just about do the job effectively) and I wonder what models could be created to sustain that kind of operation over the right kind of timescale.

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