Subject: Re: My ears are red (was Re: the walls have ears)
From: Paul Rohr <>
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 1999 20:45:49 -0700

At 07:16 AM 6/3/99 +0000, Karsten M. Self wrote:
>Welcome aboard, Paul.  I met a few of you (most memorably Eric) at
>LinuxWorld Expo and the O'Reilly Open Source Developer's Day last fall
>-- great shirts <g>.

Thanks.  It took two shows, but an fsb member by the name of Bob Young 
finally convinced us to stop giving them away and start selling them.  Tell 
all your friends and neighbors to buy them, so we don't prove him wrong.  

>Thinking about your business plan, another thought would be to align
>yourself with a group or groups for whom an office suite would be icing,
>gloss, or an avenue for further business opportunities of their own. 
>These might include HW vendors (Compaq, Dell, Gateway, VA Research,
>Penguin Computing), service companies (IBM, Oracle, SAS, EDS), or user
>groups (say, a business alliance).  The arrangement could involve a bit
>of enlightened self interest on the part of the sponsor, or might be
>based on more tightly coupled arrangements ($XXX,XXX,XXX for X,XXX
>delivered service contracts, say).

Closing those kinds of deals works the best when we've already made great 
inroads on developing our own products, brand, and user base.  Getting them 
to divert some of their cashflow to us any earlier isn't easy.  

If you know of any ways to do so, send me mail privately.  ;-)

>Yet another tie could be marketing proprietary tie-ins to the base
>product -- say in the same way that Avery lables essentially has a
>franchise with some MS Office products.  I'd have to think about where
>this is going, but essentially you'd be allowing modular extensions to
>the base app, and managing to take a cut of what's received for these
>extensions (licensing arrangement?) or securing funding for providing
>the base.  Talk to your money men about it.

I don't think I understand this suggestion, particularly the notion of 
proprietary modular extensions.  We're a GPL product.  Are you asking us to 
try to outsmart Richard?  That's always an expensive decision, PR-wise, for 
any Open Source company.  Insofar as a decent portion of our brand image, 
like Red Hat's, is that the software we sell *is* GPL, it seems foolish.

If you're talking about a cobranding deal with Avery -- where they fund the 
addition of GPL code to support all their label sizes to our GUI, and we 
thus implicitly or explicitly endorse their brand of labels over their 
competitors -- then sure.  Again, it's the size of our audience which makes 
the deal appealing to them, but I'll be glad to take their money.