Subject: The new model (was: Thoughts on GPL)
From: Bob Young <bob@redhat.com>
Date: Wed, 04 Mar 1998 16:57:03 -0500


> 	For startup companies, marketing and sales is almost never a
> 	sustainable competitive advantage, so building a company in
> 	the way you propose is *very* hard to finance.
> 
> My initial argument was that the "free software" community has
> excluded companies that write software for money, and that the
> conditions of the GPL determine that no software companies are
> going to be willing to play by its rules.  I have yet to see a
> counter-example.

Some of these arguments have been comparing apples and oranges - 
would a strategy that worked for selling applications on IBM 
mainframes work for selling apps on the PC?  Or one that worked in 
the PC market work for embedded systems?

So narrowing the discussion to simply the PC platform (where we make 
most of our revenue), given Microsoft's control of that market the 
problems that have been discussed with the GPL do not concern us.  To 
put it simply if we are going to compete with a supplier who holds a 
monopoly position, our only chance of success is to change the rules 
under which that supplier built their monopoly position.  Kind of 
like the inter-state highway system breaking the old railroad 
monopolies.  The GPL, and the cooperative development model it 
represents, has enabled us to do this, admittedly in a -very- small 
way, to Microsoft.

But I'm not arguing that the GPL is the "right" solution.  In 
fact I'm subscribed to this list because I don't have a clue as 
to what the "right" way to best change the model on Microsoft is.

> Here's the easy win: give me an example of a product where the
> vendor is giving away the source code under the GPL or similar
> license, and selling the same software, intending to profit from
> nothing other than sales of that software.

So I'd like to change this question and challenge the readers of this 
list to come up with other -new models- that might enable Cygnus, Red 
Hat, or yourself to effectively compete with Microsoft in the PC 
market.

(and getting aunt Janet to fight your battles for you is cheating.  
After all, any success she has will benefit Scott and Jim more than 
any of us. ;-)

Bob.


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