Subject: Re: Cygnus and proprietary software
From: "Brian J. Fox" <>
Date: 29 Dec 1997 15:42:00 -0000

   Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 00:38:18 -0500
   From: Brian Bartholomew <>

   > Hey, without trying to be mean, why don't you write one?

   That's not a mean question at all.  If I wrote one, I would want to be
   paid for my time.  My understanding is the only way I can get paid for
   my time is to make the software proprietary.  I don't like that

Getting paid for your time is a lot easier when you have a
demonstrable skill.  No one wants to pay you up front for something
that might be good, or might not.  You don't have a brand name, so it
would behoove you to get one, perhaps by writing a widely used piece
of software.

Now, if you write a killer small business application that is freely
redistributable, you can bet that you will be paid for it in one of
many ways.  Perhaps a Linux CD seller will make a Small Business CD",
and give you a percentage of the sales in return for maintenance.  If
you did a good job at that, sales would increase, and that seller (or
another party) would be interested in funding the development of the
next suite of applications that you would write.

   Instead, I want to find some new economic model that no one's used yet
   in freely-redistributable software.  A model that lets me get paid for
   my time AND freely redistribute the software.

More power to you.  But you might liken the creation of free software
to the creation of music.  Nobody pays unknown musicians or writers in
advance for the creation of a bit of music -- musicians and writers
create first, and sell the product afterwards.  Only those people who
have already proven themselves get the chance to be paid first, and
create later.

   Exploring business models that produce freely-redistributable software
   is what I thought fsb was about.  Perhaps I'm wrong.

I don't think that you are wrong.  But I do think that your approach
is non-viable, since it relies on the funder trusting the fundee's
ability to create great software -- something that hasn't been proven
yet in this case.

   Can you point me towards a list charter?

Don't be silly.  How about taking the following approach:  Given a
freed software package of some perceived value, how may the author be
remunerated for the work?

Answering this question will have the effect of giving confidence to
interested software authors that they will be able to make a living
doing what they like -- writing software.

     Brian J. Fox                           
      "What's all this stuff about `websites' anyway?  Does this
       mean that I have to dust more often?"  -- Martha Davis, 1996