Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 15:21:00 -0700

I really like this formulation of a central goal for free software/open
source:  "full access to the laboratory."

On 9/24/02 2:02 PM, "Rich Morin" <> wrote:

> 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.

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472