Subject: Re: GPL and trademarks and brandnames...
From: Bob Young <>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 13:35:27 -0500

> Brian Bartholomew writes:
>  > > Should a vendor of free software be compelled to state the
>  > > equivalent of "I'm selling this software on CD for $50, but be aware
>  > > you can buy it from our competitor Acme for $2, and by the way
>  > > here's their URL and phone number"?
>  > 
>  > That's my question -- can a legitimate libre software vendor depend
>  > on, and be incented to increase, informational friction?
> I think you're missing the source of the value that Redhat creates.
> They let people know that Redhat products exist, by advertising as
> much.  Cheapbytes doesn't provide that same value, doesn't have the
> same costs, and doesn't charge the same price.
> Nevermind the fact that the product is the same -- the value isn't.

That's right. 

Another fallacy widely repeated is that there is a "Linux market".  
There isn't.  An OS is as horizontal a product as you get, which means 
that there are several hundred distinct markets, each of which require 
different channels, packaging, and sales pitches.  This applies to 
most products which may not have as many markets as an OS does, but 
nonetheless have more than one.

For example, I regular meet students who complain about the $50 price 
for the Official Red Hat box.  In their case they only have $50 in 
their jeans pocket and they were hoping to buy pizza  with it.  I 
always recommend that they spend $2 on the Cheapbytes version and 
they can still eat.

Meantime we also regularly get the opposite reaction from the 
corporate users who insist that they can't get their MIS director to 
allow them to use an OS that only costs $50 when there is a 
"real" OS available for $700.

Cheers,    Bob.

Red Hat Software, Inc.-----------------------------------------
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