Subject: Re: Open Source shareware?
From: Rich Morin <>
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2002 18:50:16 -0700

At 10:31 PM +0100 9/15/02, Simon Cozens wrote:
>Rich Morin:
>>  What I find interesting about this suggestion, as well as several of the
>>  others I've seen in this thread, is the orientation toward avoiding a pure
>>  Open Source play.
>I don't see why that's interesting: if you have a pure Open Source play,
>anyone else can sell your software at a cost of $0. Hence your opportunities
>for making money out of purely software sales is limited.


>Instead, as you're finding, you have to find some kind of added value: be it
>in support; (eg RedHat) customization; (eg VA, although they're not exactly an
>FSB these days) packaging, distribution and printed documentation; (eg FSF)
>closed source addons. (Maybe we can put VA here.)
>I don't want to sound patronising, because I know you've been at this game a
>lot longer than I have, but isn't this FSB 101?

Yes, but let's move on to FSB 102.  Here is a list of strategies, annotated
as to whether they keep _all_ the (released) software libre:

   Strategy                Libre  Notes
   ========                =====  =====

   charge for documentation  Y    RMS contends that docs need to be free.
   charge for packaging      Y    Often includes some docs and/or support.
   charge for support        Y    Support may include automated services.

   closed-source add-ons     N    Only the base software is libre.
   free "teaser" version     N    i.e., free version w/ads or limitations
   two-stage release         N    e.g., Aladdin

Of course, it is quite possible to argue about whether "polluting" the
release with closed-source materials is a problem.  RMS would  say that it
is; I tend to judge these things on a case-by-case basis.  I will note,
however, that even from a strictly Open Source point of view, keeping some
of the code proprietary may get in the way of community involvement.

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