Subject: A few thoughts.
From: David Welton <>
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 21:11:47 -0700

Hi, I was thinking the other evening, and, I think I may have hit on
something that has been nagging at me as far as the idea of businesses
based on free software.

A lot of people focus on the fact that businesses will need software
regardless of whether it is free or not, and this is good, I agree.
The thing I was able to put my finger on is this - what happens to
people who really are innovators in this free software world?  It
seems to me that if I had something truly new, that hiding it, and
being the only source of it for a certain period of time (untill
someone made a free version), is going to be my best bet as far as
profits are concerned.  After a certain point, it loses value, because
of immitations, and I could free the source.  This is sort of what
netscape has done.

Now, that's an ok model, and *most* software would be free, but the
cutting edge would not.  Free software would be for those who copied,
emulated, and maintained the code of others.  Not that this would be
bad, but...  I'm just starting out my career as a programmer, and
naturally, I aspire to be the best that I can - on the 'cutting edge'
if I'm good enough.  So, working my way up, I do free software, and
then, at the pinnacle of success, hide what I create?

I appologize if this is not totally clear, but it really leaves a
nagging doubt, if the *best* is not free, it says that that which is
free is probably not the best (it could be, but not very logically, in
an economic sense). 

Hrmm, I'm not sure if I have effectively communicated what I think,
but I find myself somewhat confused.

Thankyou for any thoughts that might lead my investigations in new
directions, or even clarify some of these ideas:-)

Thankyou for your time,
David Welton                 

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