Subject: Re: Value returned from free(d) software
From: "Brian J. Fox" <>
Date: 3 Dec 1997 19:15:31 -0000

   Date: Wed, 3 Dec 97 10:59 PST
   From: "L. Peter Deutsch" <>

   > The return for this investment can be much larger than the traditional
   > model -- use Cygnus as an example.

   Cygnus is pretty much the *only* example.  As I've asked before: if the
   free(d) software model is such a great way of making money, why is there
   only one sizable business that seems to be able to do it?

Maybe the key to making money in a free software business isn't the
software, it is the business.  Cygnus has made great business
decisions, including such decisions as knowing how to position what
they are selling, when to hire a new CEO, etc.

Software creators tend to believe that the software they have created
is so bitchin' that that is enough reason for someone to give them
money for it.  In reality, people often buy software (or cars, for
that matter) based on a whole different set of issues, such as:

	* price and availability of support
	* belief that the supplier will be around in a year
	* belief that the supplier is dedicated to understanding the
	  customer's needs and business

Many programmers lack these qualities, and this point is not lost on
the world of business people.


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