Subject: Re: Free software businesses
From: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2006 10:00:03 -0700

    Stephen> [....] most businesses that involve free software
    Stephen> will be discovered by "accident", i.e., by
    Stephen> entrepreneurs whose business models are based on
    Stephen> some other dimension of business, and
    Stephen> serendipitously find that some free software
    Stephen> program either saves them money or improves
    Stephen> customer value, or both.  Sometimes that additional
    Stephen> value will derive from the license, but frequently
    Stephen> it will not.


That calls to mind a quote (which I'm taking quite out of
context) from Nathaniel S. Borenstein, one of the inventors of
MIME:

    We're computer professionals.
    We cause accidents.

When I burble about "architecture matters" I'm in part
contemplating how we can make happy accidents of the sort you
describe more and more likely.

LAMP(ish) stacks helped to create demand for free software
operating systems by enabling a whole new kind of inventiveness.
They didn't just fill a niche, they created a niche -- and
platform vendors won big from that.

Can those free software vendors who spend a lot on R&D
systematically repeat that pattern?   Perhaps that is part of
the motivation behind RH's "mugshot".

-t