Subject: Re: Open Source shareware?
From: Adam Turoff <ziggy@panix.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 18:08:52 -0400

On Mon, Sep 16, 2002 at 01:18:49PM -0700, Rich Morin wrote:
> I actually have quite a bit of sympathy for that position; I'd love to be
> supported so that I could simply work on my research interests.  

Who wouldn't?

That's an idealized model though, available to a select few
individuals in this world -- people like Steven Wolfram and perhaps
the brilliant folks at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies,
PARC, or whatever AT&T Bell Labs is called this week.  Most
"researchers" need to both (1) keep their research relevant, and
(2) spend a lot of time looking for funding.

> I even
> think it would be a good investment for the community.  I don't see this
> happening, however, so I'm trying to develop a workable business model.

Bucky Fuller and John Brunner had some interesting ideas in the 1970's 
about paying people to "just think": one person in a thousand is likely
to come up a really killer idea that would easily carry the other 999.
Two or three brilliant people per thousand would not be out of the
question.

That's a nice model on paper, but I've never seen it close to being
workable in this world.  

All examples of people working full-time on open source that I can
think of involve (1) someone of significant means that doesn't need
to worry about income, (2) an organization large enough to devote
a significant amount of money on R&D, or (3) a business that's
created to address a specific need in the tech sector through a
dual-pronged open source strategy (some free code + fee-based
services; Zope, Sleepycat, MySQL, Aladdin, and Easy Software (CUPS)
come to mind).

Z.