Subject: Re: Hypothetical Business Plan
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2005 01:56:24 +0900

>>>>> "Joe" == Joe Corneli <jcorneli@math.utexas.edu> writes:

    >>    I'm not sure that's allowed under a lot of open source
    >> licenses, but it is for my "personal" use, even if it's hosted
    >> on a web server that everyone can access.

    Joe> Yes, it is allowed.

Under the GPL, yes.  There are OSI-certified licenses that restrict
internal "deployment" in some way, however, such as some versions of
Apple's license.

                                 ****

I have to say that I can't get up much enthusiasm for a business plan
that depends on keeping the implementation of user-visible features
obscure.  Eg, consider Amazon's "one-click shopping".  They protected
_that_ with a patent, and they had to---any half-decent web designer
could implement that once the importance of the idea was clear.  Ditto
RSA.

On the other hand, Karmarkar gave the same solutions that all the
other LP solvers did---just a factor of 100 times faster.  Didn't need
a patent for that, although he eventually did get one---for an
algorithm variant he wasn't actually using in the consulting business!
(According to a colleague who might very well know, but she had had a
lot of wine....)

This doesn't mean that a collection of user-visible features can't
give you an advantage, but it's a matter of getting a head start in
the Red Queen's Race.

-- 
School of Systems and Information Engineering 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.