Subject: Re: Meeting the MS challenge
From: "Brian J. Fox" <>
Date: 3 Dec 1997 18:10:31 -0000

   Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 12:43:05 -0500 (EST)

   In fsb (L. Peter Deutsch) writes:

   >Are there other people reading this list who have put >1000 hours into free
   >software development (1000 hours = 6 months full-time)?  How do you feel
   >about the value you've gotten back in freed software that you use?

   I have put in much more time than that working on free software.  I
   don't do it for a return in the sense that you are speaking of, so
   I've never really considered the issue.

   Even thinking about it now, I'm not sure how to answer the question.
   The value I put into free software is not value I expect to get back,
   so any value I do get from free software is a bonus.  I suppose that
   one way to look at it is to observe that I haven't paid money for
   software for at least seven years (except for one copy of Myst).  So
   in that sense every program I work on on my own time is a result of
   free software.

   (My employer, Cygnus, does pay for non-free operating systems which I
   use at work.  Cygnus obviously uses a great deal of free software,
   much of it written in-house, but much of it from others.  My person
   estimation, not based on any actual data, is that Cygnus produces more
   free software than it gets from others.)

This cannot be true, unless you are the type of guy who sees the 10
items or less line at the supermarket, looks in his full-to-the-brim
shopping cart, and says: "Bacon and eggs, that's one item, turykey,
bologna, ham, cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, bread, pickles and chips,
that's another item . . ."

If Cygnus is delivering support for free software on 10 operating
systems, then they are using ten complete and proprietery operating
systems in the course of this work (which, btw, I think is more than

An operating system is not a single piece of 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