Subject: Re: open source definition
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 22 Apr 1998 18:56:32 -0000

[ reminder: free is still a four-letter word on this mailing list.
  Coincidentally neither libre, gratis, nor for that matter, freed, 
  have four letters.  Hehe.  -russ ]

Keith Bostic writes:
 > When this argument was floating a month or so ago, I challenged anyone to
 > name a company that was writing software and then giving it away -- a
 > company that sold software for a living, that is, not a company that sells
 > support and packaging.  Nobody answered that challenge.  To my knowledge,
 > there is not one single software company that plays the free software game.

Nonexistance is not disproof, of course.  Just because someone hasn't
had the courage or ability to attempt something doesn't mean that it
can't be done.  If there's a road on the front of the mountain, why
climb up the back of it, particularly when the goal is just to get to
the top?

 > At one time, the only thing that made the scheme work was that people had
 > created the product for RedHat and Cygnus to package/support.  Once they
 > start providing that packaging/support, yes, it's possible to redirect
 > money into the development chain.  So, I think you are both partially
 > correct.  Regardless, the initial development can't be funded using a free
 > software model.

Say "Hasn't been" or "is harder with", and I'll agree.  Predictions of
impossibility (if man was meant to fly....) are as reliable as
predictions of the death of the net (.gifs at 11).

Don Lancaster had an interesting observation in his Nuts & Volts
column a few months ago.  That is, that entrepreneurs exist to
ameliorate risk.  The more risk you reduce, the more money you stand
to make.  FSB's have sprung up to work with freed software once it has 
been created -- once the risk has been reduced.  What is different
about freed software is that the creator feels that his/her whole
effort has been repaid by the act of creation and distribution.

-russ <>
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