Subject: Re: From a mere reader
From: Alessandro Rubini <>
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 13:48:20 +0200

> Then if the product is worthy, [...] perhaps they can convince their
> bosses that it'd be worth it to pay you to enhance the product, but
> continuing to keep it "free".

Hmm... this doesn't work. A good product doesn't need enhancements. If
their product is already available commercially and their users are
happy, then your suggestion doesn't apply at all.

If the product is free, administrators will run and enjoy it, and
their bosses will happily pay the authors for being ``officially
supported'' users (the same they are when buying proprietary
products). Sw downloaded from the net doesn't carry any guarantee,
express or implied. Proprietary software does, but so can free
software when supported by the authors (and you can well release the
*same* software on ftp and in the shiny cardboard box, that's how the
linux distributors work and partly Cygnus as well)

Another options (as long as you remain the only copyright holder) is
distributing the core functionality as a libre program and a
proprietary version with some additional features. The free version
spreads the word and the add-ons are well accepted by people who would
buy them.

I won't follow this path, personally, but it is common practice and an
acceptable mixture of freedom-for-the-users and income-for-the-author
(much better than gratis-but-non-free paths, IMHO).