Subject: Re: Thoughts on GPL
From: Keith Bostic <bostic@bsdi.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 15:58:22 -0500 (EST)

> From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
>
> You're describing the standard model of software development: invest a
> bunch of money to bring a product to market.  It might be that some
> one of us is going/able to devise a different model.

Yes, and let me be clear on this point: I wish someone would.

I believe that the odds are against a new model.

First, we haven't found it yet, and a lot of bright people have
been looking.  (The current model of invest money and bring the
product to market has been around for much longer than the
software industry.)  Second, I believe a new model would require
that software be declared to be somehow fundamentally different
from other products that we buy and sell.  But if someone's not
sharing an epiphany they had last week out of shyness, I urge
them to come forward... :-)

>> I would prefer another solution: lagging the software costs the
>> free community because we don't get the latest-greatest software,
>> and it costs him because he doesn't get the support of the free
>> community for his software.
>
> Any suggestions on what this other solution might be?

I've seen a number of other solutions, and I'm happy to talk
about them if folks are interested.  I don't think that any of
them are possible in the current climate.

I believe that there is value to the "free software" movement
in software that is not completely free.  By that, I mean that
it's better for us to have the source code and the ability to
review, hack and improve, even if we cannot re-package and
resell the software ourselves.

Many people in the free software movement disagree strongly with
this point-of-view, and, I hasten to add, they disagree for
valid reasons -- their goals are not the same as mine.  As I'm
less interested in fundamental social change than I am in the
more practical rewards of free software, I'm open to a different
set of solutions.

I will predict, however, that the free software movement will
not include software vendors until this problem is addressed in
some way, which slows our growth.

--keith