Subject: Re: open source definition
From: peterd@Bunyip.Com (Peter Deutsch)
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 18:39:50 -0400

Hi all,

[ Eric Raymond wrote: ]

.  .  .
> In the evangelism I am doing now (for example, in the recent Science Friday
> segment on NPR) I am being very careful to emphasize that one need *not* have
> any position hostile to IPR to believe that the open-source model is a good
> thing.  The open-source model justifies itself by its downstream results in
> better software and increased profits for savvy producers.

I smell rough consensus in the air!

I've had to hold off participating in this thread for a
variety of reasons, including sheer overwork, NDA or
contractual constraints and the fact that I have an
investment closing next week, but I'd like to say a couple
of things.

1) Bunyip has in the past given away code on a freeware,
   or even public domain basis, where we thought it in our
   interests to do so. In addition, we've invested heavily
   in such activities as participation in the IETF. I think
   there might be a little too much emphasis on the source
   code issue. There are other ways people can cooperate
   for long term mutual gain and some of them are more
   acceptable to some traditional business people. Funding
   someone to write an RFC is perhaps as important giving
   away source.

2) Bunyip has now secured an investment with a business
   plan that includes, in part, the development of some
   software under the free software model. There's the
   existance proof someone asked for a few days ago. It
   can be done. Some may want to disqualifie us because we
   don't promise to give away *everything* we produce, but
   the point is that we've closed the deal and our
   investors accept that it is sometimes in their interest
   for us to write freeware. Using the funding models we
   propose, we've convinced them that their investment can
   be protected and the company will be better off if we
   do it.

3) Bunyip has studied what Netscape has done with Mozilla
   and we like what we see so far. Like Netscape, we're
   not going to give away everything we write (at least
   right away), but believe that sometimes, writing code is
   not a development cost, it's a marketing cost, and
   sometimes our value-added is not in the code, but
   elsewhere. In such cases we can justify giving source
   away and will do so.  We're seriously thinking about
   using the Mozilla Public License for our own releases,
   and currently are planning several extensions to Mozilla
   that we need and will probably MPL them, although we
   haven't made the final decision yet and are still
   studying this issue.

4) For me, I want to give away source sometimes, but not
   others. I believe this should be my decision.

5) We believe that the free software model offer
   definitely possibilities for helping us address the
   continual shortage of skilled development staff,
   (especially those willing to come endure Montreal's
   winters!) because if we're willing to commission
   certain components and leverage freeware we can both
   speed development and limit bottlenecks.
   Consequently, Bunyip will shortly be commisioning
   software modules or stand-alone programs as work for
   hire, and plan that a number of them will subsequently
   be released under some form of freeware license. Again,
   not all, but a significant number of them. 

6) We believe can do this and make money. I'm not able or
   willing to go into great detail on all aspects of our
   business plan on this, but wanted to add my voice to
   this thread. I think this is an important trend and
   I hope we can do some significant things with it over
   the next couple of years. What the purists should accept
   is that not everyone will give away everything, but
   that shouldn't disqualify collaboration with us.

				- peterd

     Peter Deutsch,                                   (514) 875-8611  (phone)
  Bunyip Information Systems Inc.                     (514) 875-8134  (fax)

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