Subject: Re: A company's appeal to the community
From: <kmself@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 11:55:37 -0800
Mon, 17 Jan 2000 11:55:37 -0800
On Mon, Jan 17, 2000 at 12:33:28PM -0500, Brian Bartholomew wrote:
> > This sounds like TiVo.  Is it?
> 
> Yes.
> 
> > Can you point to the actual text of the license you're referring to?
> 
> I'll ask my friend to type it in.

Ouch.  No electronic copy?  At least some OCR....

> > what's the point of free software. [...] It depends on whom you ask.
> 
> Since "free software" is such an overloaded term, perhaps we should
> ask vendors to explain what effects they're trying to achieve in their
> sales pitch to us: "We're doing widget frosting because we think it
> will make our products more attractive."  "We're donating
> InfrastructureCode and setting it up as a volunteer project, to make
> it easier to sell ApplicationCode, which we have more of a
> differentiation for."  "We think a commitment to 'no gratuitous
> incompatibility or planned obsolescence' will gain us significant
> customer loyalty."

I disagree with this strongly, but don't want to debate the point.

The question "what is the point of free software" is personal dialog the
company has to have with itself.  The answer need not be public.

Companies looking to use free software should not have to be held to
some higher standard, beyond license compliance.

Companies looking to benefit from free software development in their own
products need to see that they're generating trust between themselves
and their development community.

> > Which is why, if evidence of long-term alignment is an important
> > issue, that looking to committments which are themselves long-term
> > in nature may be important.  Committing a code base to an
> > OSD-certified free software license is itself a pretty significant
> > step, IMO.
> 
> I'd rather they ship source to buyers now, and commit to freeing it in
> two and a half years.  I think that's more likely to produce what I
> want with fewer ugly side effects (like "brand name aspirin").

What if the source were currently available, but not under free software
licensing terms?

> A member of the League for Programming Freedom (LPF) http://lpf.ai.mit.edu
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Brian Bartholomew - bb@wv.com - www.wv.com - Working Version, Cambridge, MA

-- 
Karsten M. Self (kmself@ix.netcom.com)
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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