Subject: Re: Model for FOSS financing by consortium
From: Rich Bodo <rsb@ostel.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2004 14:28:06 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 5 Apr 2004, Tim O'Reilly wrote:

> Take a look at avalanche.org.  This is an IT OSS consortium.

Sounds very interesting, but I get the American Avalanche Association
from that link.  

-Rich

> 
> On Apr 5, 2004, at 1:56 PM, Forrest J. Cavalier III wrote:
> 
> > This has a few paragraphs of introduction that FSBers
> > do not need.  But what do you think of the idea?
> >
> > Of course this is not a cure-all, but do you think it will
> > be useful?
> >
> > If the contract price is high enough to cover development,
> > consortiums or cooperating individuals can join together
> > to share the cost.  They only get one copy (there is only
> > one contract, after all), but they can redistribute.
> >
> > Cooperating individuals must organize themselves, so that
> > only one entity enters the contract.  The distributor does
> > not try to organize them.  Do you think the FSF and other
> > non-profits or governments would find these arrangements
> > attractive?
> >
> > Commercial customers who make purchases may decide they do
> > not want to redistribute.  They may have reasons which
> > include avoiding risk/liability or even "don't help the
> > competitors."  Will this allow certain developers in
> > certain markets to set the contract price much lower than
> > the development cost, in order to increase demand?
> >
> > Has anyone tried or written about this kind of model before?
> >
> > What kinds of changes should be made to this?
> >
> > -----------------------------
> >
> > Intro....
> >
> > Copyright law and proprietary software licensing enable
> > software development to be effectively financed by splitting
> > the cost among many customers. Each customer pays only a little,
> > but hundreds, thousands, or millions each paying a little can
> > fund costly projects.
> >
> > Open source software licensing is greatly challenged to provide
> > similar magnitudes of financing. By definition, it is not
> > possible to require each licensee to pay anything.
> >
> > Others have conceived of "closed source until freed" models for
> > funding open-source software.  This isn't exactly open-source
> > software development.  Another characteristic discouraging the
> > success of this method is that it can be rational to wait, letting
> > competitors spend money for something you get at no cost just a
> > little bit delayed.
> >
> > The idea....
> > ------------
> >
> > I propose the following arrangements. The first recipient
> > receive an open-source copy. Cost-sharing is rational.
> >
> >  1. Distributor agrees to provide a copy of the software only
> >     under contract.  For example, the distributor provides no
> >     public FTP or WWW repository.
> >
> >  2. The contract covers the acts necessary to transfer a copy of
> >     the software and assent to the terms of the license(s) and
> >     disclaimer(s) of warranty.
> >
> >  3. The contract does not alter any rights and obligations provided
> >     by the applicable software licenses.  For example, the contract
> >     does not restrict owners of legitimate copies from redistributing
> >     the software, nor influence fees for that.
> >
> >  4. If the distributor knowingly offers or transfers substantially
> >     the same item or superset thereof to a third party within 12
> >     months, the distributor owes the customer a refund equal
> >     to the difference between the payment tendered and the
> >     third-party's net cost if it is "substantially lower."
> >     "Substantially lower" means discounted in excess of the greater
> >     of 4% a month or $15 a month.
> >
> >
> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
> -----------
> Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly Media, Inc.
> 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472
> 707-827-7000
> http://www.oreilly.com (company), http://tim.oreilly.com (personal)
> 
> 
> 

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