Subject: Re: Thoughts on GPL
From: Stan Shebs <>
Date: 03 Mar 1998 11:32:35 -0800 (Keith Bostic) writes:

> I said that you can't recover your engineering costs.  In this
> example, Cygnus' engineering costs are minimal,

*choke* Uh, no.  I think if you count up the "" addresses
in ChangeLogs of released software, extrapolate the likely length of
employment, and apply market rates (we do pay competitively), you'll
see that the costs are hardly "minimal"!

> and scale with
> their customer base.  If they'd had to develop gcc from scratch
> to sell it, do you believe they could they have started the
> company on $20K?

Yes, we *did* develop everything incrementally.  But to me that's a
smart approach for big software, and I think it was one of the bright
ideas of the founders.  I don't think they anticipated at the time how
far the idea could go - we're now getting multi-million dollar deals
for doing "enhancements", and the deals are getting steadily larger...

> This whole discussion started with the statement by someone that
> you couldn't recover initial software development costs if you
> GPL'd the result.  We've wandered around a lot, but does anyone
> fundamentally disagree with that statement?

For a Microsoft-Word-like application developed under a conventional
financing and engineering model, I'll agree with you.