Subject: Re: The future of Freeware
From: yci@NETCOM.COM (Yggdrasil Computing)
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1993 20:39:01 PDT

On Jul 12,  9:04am, Gavin Thomas Nicol wrote:
>If someone/some organisation
>were to produce a rough design for the future Freeware desktop (for
>example, just mapping out the major components needed), and then just
>had a kind of "project registry", it would be better than the current
>situation, and I think people would buy into the "Unified Freeware
>System" idea when they start developing.  
>
>I know the FSF has a registry and a task list, but I connot see the
>complete FSF system in my mind. All I see is a hodgepodge collection
>of stuff from the Internet, not a unified system.
>
>Anyone have any comments?

	My company, Yggdrasil Computing Inc., sells a plug-and-play
operating system which is comprised entirely of free software.  The
system is named LGX after its principal components: the Linux kernel,
the GNU software suite, and the X window system.  The current beta
CDROM release has sold 2400+ copies, not including the ~100
complimentary copies.

	By the way, if your business offers free software services
that are relevant to this distribution, you can have your business
listed for free in the LGX manual.  Also, if you are a Linux hacker
looking for work in the SF Bay area, please drop me a line.

	Yggdrasil is not alone in the free software distribution
business.  There are two other companies that make competing free
operating system distributions, although neither of them appears
to have the sort of distribution channels that I've set up with
Yggdrasil, at least not yet.  In addition, there are companies that make
freeware source code distributions on CDROM, adding value with that
critical bit of indexing and documentation that makes these encyclopedic
distributions navigable.  These companies include Prime Time Freeware
(408-433-9662), Walnut Creek CDROM (510-674-0783), and InfoMagic
(609-683-5501).

	Having talked about the infrastructure that has developed
to organize distributions of free software, let me say that Gavin's
remarks are still quite applicable.  There is a need for additional
organizational resources.  These days, I often hear about people posting
bug reports to comp.os.linux which nobody picked up, and I often see
large numbers of patches flying across different mailing lists, and I
wonder if all of those patches will be caught and integrated by
the appropriate software maintainers.  Jeff Kipmanis's Linux Software
Map project, and Jonathan Magid's Linux Address List help to ameliorate
these problems a little, but a little more organization yet is still
needed.  In about a month, I hope to have yggdrasil.com on the net with
some sort of tracking system (probably Cygnus's GNATS system with TkGnats)
for trouble reports and enhancement requests.  I also want to have a copy
of the latest Yggdrasil Linux/GNU/X source tree that people will be able
to check code into.  Of course, the funding for support services is more
likely to to come as a result of the demand by free software consumers
rather than demand by free software producers.  Fortunately, from what I
can tell, there seems to be considerable demand for support and at least
some willingness to pay for it among the LGX beta testers.

Adam J. Richter
Yggdrasil Computing, Incorporated