Subject: Re: Revenue and business models
From: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 08:38:52 -0700

simo wrote:
> On Wed, 2006-06-14 at 08:00 -0700, Thomas Lord wrote:
>
>   
>> Yes, well, Red Hat seems to do its level best to approximate option
>> 3a: "You pay us $Y per copy and we can come in and audit to see how
>> many copies you've made."   I'm shocked -- shocked I say! -- that they
>> get away with that.   
>
> There's nothing to be shocked about, they sell you a service (support,
> updates, etc) not the software. You can make copies of it and give them
> away without any problem, the software comes with the GPL attached
> (except for proprietary packages you would have to rip the off the CDs).
>
>   

That's the party line, sure.

> But it is correct that they ask you to use the service you paid for, and
> if you don't they must have a away to verify that and shut the service
> if you don't want to comply with the service agreement.
> Note they will shut the service and only the service. I am sure they
> would never had any chance to make you stop using your 1000 RHES boxes
> you installed with just one license, you will just loose any option to
> call their support and to get updates directly from RH.
>
>   

One issue is calling their support line.   If 1000 users
can generate support requests that get forwarded to RH
then, yes, of course,  1000x (or with whatever discount)
is a reasonable price for support.

Updates are a different matter.   If I'm propagating
those 1000 updates from a single machine subscription
then, my understanding is, I'm violating my agreement
with RH even if I never make a single support request.
They can come in and audit, count the copies of the
updates, and tell me I owe them more money.

If my reading of their contracts is accurate (and that
is open to debate although nobody seems to bother),
I don't see any conclusion other than that they are
violating both the GPL and the spirit of the free
software movement.

-t