Subject: Re: Market Research and the Internet
From: adam@NETCOM.COM (Adam J. Richter)
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 93 12:30:17 -0800

>Some future
>version will be available only under limited distribution, but we plan to
>keep a free version available on the Internet for the forseeable future.
>I've come to think of this as the StuffIt model (although Stuffit itself
>began as shareware, Aladdin's marketing approach for Stuffit roughly
>parallel's our ideas).

        As i see it, most of the advantages of free software come
from the fact that it is an ever-growing pool of source code which
people can use more or less however they want without cumbersome 
intellectual property restrictions.  Completely proprietary variants,
don't directly contribute to the free software pool more than
any other proprietary software does.

        I would like to suggest that organizations that want to do
free software but which feel that they need some amount of copyright
restrictions use the model of the Andrew Consortium which has a
proprietary release that will become free after about a year.  If you
think that you need a bigger barrier, then maybe you could make the
software not become public domain after that period, but rather only
become copylefted so that you can still prevent other proprietary
competitor from building on your code.  Also, perhaps you want a
delay that is more like two years.  I would suggest choosing a
duration that will assist you in measuring the need for your services:

                "If people don't want to pay for the last
                _____ months of our bug fixing, development,
                porting and upgrading, then we're charging
                too much, we're not producing enough, we're
		not markettting enough, or perhaps these
		intellectual property restrictions aren't helping."

	It is useful to note that the duration of the restrictions by
the Andrew Consortium seems to be short enough that people on the net
are willing to donate bug fixes and even major enhancements as if it
were free software.  Mind you, I prefer software that is born free, and
I think that there are better ways for the Andrew Consortium to
promote the Andrew System, but I feel that this solution would give
a company that would otherwise choose to do proprietary software most
of the private advantages that it could get from copyright while
preserving much of the public benefit.

Adam J. Richter
Yggdrasil Computing, Incorporated