Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: Rich Bodo <rsb@ostel.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 08:55:44 -0800 (PST)


> > I agree on this point.  A company that relies on, but does not
> > contribute to open-source development should not be considered an FSB.
>
> What does it mean to "contribute to open-source
> development"?  Do good bug reports count?

Bug reports imply both testing and documentation, and are great
contributions.  The degree to which a company contributes to free
software is probably a good test of their FSB-ness.

> No cart/horse problem here.  A common characteristic of
> OSS business models seems to be that they are low-margin
> commodity businesses.  Such businesses can be stable and
> profitable - just look at your local supermarket - but
> do not offer the kind of rapid growth that venture
> capital salivates over.
>

<wince> I would hate to have to compete on price.  FSB's can compete
on service and features, and many do.  If you sell a OSS web server,
and it blows doors on it's competition, I say charge a hell of a lot
more.  Lowering your margins until you cannot invest in improvements
is a vicious cycle.  I think Larry's right that it's an engineer's
disease.

-Rich

Rich Bodo | rsb@ostel.com | 650-964-4678