Subject: Re: Nessus 3.0's failed community
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 30 Nov 2005 16:04:34 -0800

susan wu <> writes:

> >>> Not to put too fine a point on it, but my presumption is that a F/OSS
> >>> vendor will have lower per-customer margins.
> >>
> >> Where does that presumption come from?  It may be true, but why should
> >> it be true?  I really would like to know.
> Are we assuming that the F/OSS vendor's model is built around
> services/support or proprietary extensions of the base platform/code?

I'm not inclined to assume either.  One of Red Hat's business lines,
for example, is to simply sell GNU/Linux (they call it Red Hat
Enterprise Linux; $179/year for the basic edition workstation).  They
sell it with testing, with support, with branding, but in essence they
are simply selling the software, just like any proprietary vendor.

I will readily agree with the argument that an F/OSS vendor will have
fewer customers--because there is some non-zero number of
organizations which will choose to use the free version although they
would have paid if they had to.  I just don't see any reason why their
margins will be any lower for the customers which they do have.