Subject: Re: A company's appeal to the community
From: Brian Bartholomew <bb@wv.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 12:33:28 -0500

> This sounds like TiVo.  Is it?

Yes.

> Can you point to the actual text of the license you're referring to?

I'll ask my friend to type it in.

> what's the point of free software. [...] It depends on whom you ask.

Since "free software" is such an overloaded term, perhaps we should
ask vendors to explain what effects they're trying to achieve in their
sales pitch to us: "We're doing widget frosting because we think it
will make our products more attractive."  "We're donating
InfrastructureCode and setting it up as a volunteer project, to make
it easier to sell ApplicationCode, which we have more of a
differentiation for."  "We think a commitment to 'no gratuitous
incompatibility or planned obsolescence' will gain us significant
customer loyalty."

> Which is why, if evidence of long-term alignment is an important
> issue, that looking to committments which are themselves long-term
> in nature may be important.  Committing a code base to an
> OSD-certified free software license is itself a pretty significant
> step, IMO.

I'd rather they ship source to buyers now, and commit to freeing it in
two and a half years.  I think that's more likely to produce what I
want with fewer ugly side effects (like "brand name aspirin").


A member of the League for Programming Freedom (LPF) http://lpf.ai.mit.edu
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Brian Bartholomew - bb@wv.com - www.wv.com - Working Version, Cambridge, MA