Subject: Re: PGP CREATOR, NAI SPLIT OVER OPEN SOURCE DIFFERENCES
From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2001 13:14:21 -0500 (EST)

Brian Behlendorf writes:
 > On Sat, 24 Feb 2001, Russell Nelson wrote:
 > > Moron.  He obviously has not read http://www.ideavirus.com
 > > It's the freeware users that create the value that make the paying
 > > customers willing to pay for it.
 > 
 > I won't defend NAI on this at all (my personal belief is that this being
 > security software, the import of having the code be inspectable by all is
 > high - but that doesn't mean it has to be open source) but your "pay for
 > it" above depends on a *whole* lot of clarification of what "pay" and "it"
 > means.  And "value", for that matter.  Create too much value on the free
 > side, solve 99% of the world's problems in that niche, and you might not
 > find enough revenue in solving the remaining 1%.  <insert platitudes here
 > about expanding into other niches, but that might just be moving the
 > problem...>

Well, that gets back to the fundamental problem with our business
model.  If you give *everything* away, then you have nothing to sell,
literally.  You could hold back physical items: CDs, books, or
hardware encryptors or tokens.  You could hold back your time:
development, support or guarantees.  Or you could hold back unrelated
intellectual properties: brand names, logos, data files, or public key
signatures.  Or you could hold back software unrelated to the success
of your open source product: key escrow.  Or you could hold back
software which needs to be certified before it will be accepted by
users: credit card verification systems (Hi, Redhat!)

If you hold back nothing as proprietary, you are the proprietor of
nothing.  Instead, you are a philanthropist.  Capitalists and
philanthropists are separate (useful) roles in a society.

That said, there's still a lot you can give away to help create a
temporal monopoly for your company.  Even a monopoly secured by the
force of law is only temporary.  Look at AT&T.

-- 
-russ nelson <sig@russnelson.com>  http://russnelson.com
Crynwr sells support for free software  | PGPok | "This is Unix...
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Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   | --Daniel J. Bernstein