Subject: My customers
From: nelson@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Date: Sun, 28 Aug 94 21:40 EDT

[ BTW, the fsb archives are now working again.  I'd screwed up the
configuration so that it wouldn't mail to files.  Everything between
20 April and 25 August was lost.  That's probably only about a dozen
postings, as the list was pretty quiet. -russ ]

In response to some of what's been posted lately, I was going to say
that the current state of free software is mostly directed at
programmers.  But that's not really true for my software.

Packet drivers (to remind: MS-DOS drivers for mostly Ethernet adapters
that use the GPL) are *used* by ordinary computer users, in the sense
that if anything goes wrong, they'll be the ones to see it first.  And
it's ordinary users needs that drive my market, although indirectly.
I give my software away, in a manner attractive to programmers and end
users[1]  They use the software and become dependent upon it, to the
point that it's worth money to them.

People being people, they try to get someone else to pay for its
development.  The best leverage point is the Ethernet board
manufacturer.  When an end user goes out to purchase such a board, he
can choose from a very large number of manufacturers.  And some of
these end users require a packet driver of the manufacturer
(e.g. Rutgers University).

A single large order of adapters can pay for development of a packet
driver.  And from the manufacturer's point of view, they might not
make any money on that deal, but they've got the repeat business from
that customer, and they're all set for the next packet driver
customer.

The key seems to be that "I give away my software to create a market
for my services", which was first articulated in a packet driver
seminar by Robert Cotellessa (to give credit where credit is due).

That would seem to be the first principle for anyone who wants to
start a free software business.

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[1] Benefits of the Crynwr Packet Drivers over competing drivers:
  o One stop shopping.  Collection includes drivers for most popular cards.
  o Small memory footprint.
  o Supported by many commercial and freely-copyable packages.
  o Source for all drivers is always available.
  o Support is available for a fee.
  o Programming specification is included.
  o Sample client source code is included.

-russ <nelson@crynwr.com>    http://www.crynwr.com/crynwr/nelson.html
Crynwr Software   | Crynwr Software sells packet driver support | ask4 PGP key
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