Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: Rich Morin <rdm@cfcl.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 14:02:09 -0700

After about 30 years in the computer field, my reaction upon hearing
the words "free" or "open" is to hang onto my wallet.  I have heard,
for instance, both Intel and Microsoft claim that they were the most
open platforms around, because their product could be used with so
many {OSes, boxes}.  As a result, my (rather jaded) view is that any
vendor will be happy to sell into an "open" arena, as long as _their
own_ product faces no real competition.

Similarly, most FSBs find _something_ to restrict, in order to coerce
the "free beer" crowd into dipping into their wallets.  It could be
distribution, features, support, updates, or something else, but there
is almost always a part of the offering that you can't get for free.

That being the case, my question becomes "what part(s) of the total
offering can I restrict, while doing the least damage to my goals in
releasing the software?"  This depends entirely on my goals, but at
least it is an answerable question.

Keeping the source code open is very important to me.  I discovered
the Unix community about 20 years ago and was really excited about
its status as a "distributed laboratory for computer science".  At
the same time, I was severely dismayed by the fact that my status as
a "binary licensee" kept me from (legally :-) examining the source.

With the advent of widespread Free and Open Source software, I have
full access to the laboratory.  So, it is important to me to make my
own creations available to others, for both others' benefit and mine.
Other developers may have goals that differ from mine, however, and
they should pick strategies that work toward their desired ends.

-r

P.S.  Apropos of the "lifestyle" issue, I am a third-generation
       independent businessman.  For me, the ability of an individual
       to set up their own business is a very important freedom and
       one which (sadly) is often threatened by labor laws, etc.
-- 
email: rdm@cfcl.com; phone: +1 650-873-7841
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