Subject: Re: terms
From: Brian Bartholomew <bb@wv.com>
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 1997 21:37:14 -0500

I judge from the responses that some people perceive my statements as
very threatening to institutions they cherish.  Nevertheless, strong
emotional reactions don't help us find an economic model for freed
software development that's based upon a positive cash flow, rather
than a volunteer social movement.

> Consider that a significant amount of the FSF's income comes from
> selling $5000 Deluxe Distributions.  Do you think that cutting off
> this revenue would advance free software?

What a can of worms you open.  I'm going to sidestep the question of
justifying the FSF's existence as a political entity.  Rather, I'd
like to examine ways to bring the FSF and other freed software writers
onto a more secure financial footing.  I do notice that most charities
have to undertake regular fundraising activities or close their doors.

> (When the FSF sells a deluxe distribution, they hire someone to
> compile all the software for your particular platform, and they give
> you the FSF's CDROMs and manuals.  Occasionally they get lucky and
> someone orders a deluxe distribution for something that they
> recently did a build for...)

Sounds like $5,000 worth of consulting, and worth the price to a
company who doesn't want to spend months fooling with this stuff.  Of
course, if a company could just 'make World' and a Debian would pop
out the next day, then maybe it wouldn't justify that much consulting.
Is there a disincentive to improve release engineering here?

> If rms decided to quit programming and play his recorder in France
> while dancing to Renaissance music, there is a good chance that your
> Junkware distribution would be the only venue for your changes to
> ls. ... Would that make your work available conveniently and for a
> low price?

The cheap availability is provided by the FSF ftp site, not any
particular programmer's skills.  And you seem to be omitting the
cdrom.com and sunsite's of the world.  I would hope the FSF ftp server
is maintained by a student, so the expert programmers can apply their
skills to more strategic tasks.

> The license that you propose is much more likely to cause hoarding
> than to decrease it.

Now *that* I would like to talk about.  Is this statement disprovable?


Another member of the League for Programming Freedom (LPF) www.lpf.org
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Brian Bartholomew - bb@wv.com - www.wv.com - Working Version, Cambridge, MA