Subject: Re: Tim's paradigm shift
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 2004 13:57:21 +0900

>>>>> "Brian" == Brian Behlendorf <brian@collab.net> writes:

    Brian>    Update (March 2001): Gracenote (which is the new name of
    Brian> CDDB) has now banned all unlicensed applications from
    Brian> accessing their database. New licenses for CDDB1 are not
    Brian> available anymore, as they obviously want to force
    Brian> programmers to switch to CDDB2.

    Brian> A totally valid position for Escient/Gracenote to take, if
    Brian> evaluated from the perspective of a business.  This was
    Brian> costing real money to run these servers, and bandwidth, and
    Brian> hey we've got a business here, how are we going to monetize
    Brian> this except by somehow charging for use?

"Somehow charging" != monopoly.  Monopoly is bad PR.  Even Shapiro and
Varian have a hard time hiding their distaste for Disney's hardball
way of protecting Mickey Mouse, and they argue that it's counter-
productive as well.

Legal and ethical?  Yes.  Good business?  Maybe, but some smart people
who generally have no objection to entreprenuers getting rich think
otherwise.

    Brian> Let me posit that any business whose operational struts are
    Brian> single-sourced at critical points runs with significant
    Brian> business risk, and is not a business any of us would invest
    Brian> in or run.

There's always the 3M model: assume that the profits are only going to
last 2-4 years, and prepare to sell out to someone in the business of
"wringing profits out of huge quantities with paper-thin margins" well
in advance.

But funding the "open service" alternative developer seems more
attractive to me in this situation.

    Brian> Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Agreed.  (Peter Townsend as the Official Bard of Open Source!  :-)

But ... we're back to the origin again.  We got this here software and
data which provides a service, there are network externalities to it
being open, how do we fund it as much as it should be if most of the
externalities are going to free riders, and not generating revenue?


-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.