Subject: Re: Open Source shareware?
From: Adam Turoff <ziggy@panix.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 20:24:28 -0400

On Tue, Sep 17, 2002 at 12:11:20AM +0100, Simon Cozens wrote:
> Adam Turoff:
> > 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).
> 
> Amusing. Adam, you of all people should be aware of the work that
> Larry's doing, which doesn't fit into any of these categories, unless
> you class donations from users as being in category 2. 

I do.  The "organization large enough to devote a significant amount 
of money" in this case is the Perl community, casually estimated at
1,000,00 people worldwide.

> And if you think
> O'Reilly's doing too much of category 2, then Damian Conway's year off
> was entirely funded by community donations. (if you take away the
> substantial amount raised from private tuition and consulting) 

In the boom times, O'Reilly was big enough to give Larry a job to
just do what's best for Perl.  After all, what was good for Perl was
good for O'Reilly (and might still be for all I know).

As for Damian, rms or the FSF, there were enough Perl/GNU software
users on the planet (including corporations) to fund these small
groups of people before.  Perhaps that trend will continue and
might even grow slightly.  (Prospects look dim in this era of
burst bubbles...)  But the number of people that can be "freed to
work on their own pet projects" in this manner is dwarfed by the
number of companies that have found a sustainable market for a
two-pronged open source/value added business strategy (to name but
one demonstrably viable open source business model).

Z.