Subject: Re: Can open source cost money?
From: "Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona" <jesusg@cs.cornell.edu>
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 16:05:53 +0000 (/etc/localtime)

Brian Behlendorf writes:
 > At 01:05 PM 8/25/98 +0000, Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona wrote:
 > >In
 > >fact, if you look at it from a certain distance, charging per copy is
 > >not the most "natural" way of making money. It is the most used just
 > >because current copyright law makes it possible.
 > 
 > Why not?  Why should my company's revenues from product X not be
 > proportional to the total amount of value that product generates for my
 > customers?  If you want to think "natural", think physics - there is a
 > value exchange happening here, and even if (more likely, *especially if*)
 > someone doesn't buy support or upgrades from me, they are getting value
 > from my product, and I think I have a moral right as an author to ask for
 > compensation for providing that value.  Of course if I do that I should
 > expect to reverse the flow as well - offering to pay people who provide me
 > with patches or new features for my product.

	If you think physics, you think atoms. But software authors
are not dealing with atoms. As rms says, if you give away a piece of
bread, you no longer have it. If you give away a piece of software,
you still can have (and use, a give away) your own copy... Users or
programmers are not pressed by any "physical" problem when they give
away software, as they are when they give away atoms.

	But per copy charges are only possible because this kind of
"giving away" can be forbidden, and that forbidding is enforced by
(current) law. That's what I meant by "non natural".

	BTW, when you are charging per copy, you are not linking
your revenues to the value that your product generates for your
customers. You are linking your revenues to how many copies you manage 
to sell. If we were able of measuring the added value that a software
product generates to its users, that could be a reasonable link for
revenues, I guess... However, this is already too much off-topic...

 > 
 > >	However, I find that BSD-like licenses make a difference (from a
 > >profiting point of view) to companies which try to make a proprietary
 > >product out of a free one. If you are going to be stick to free
 > >software (or open source), using GPL or BSD-like doesn't make much
 > >difference, in most cases...
 > 
 > It does in ours.  C2's product Stronghold could not be built if Apache
 > source was GPL'd, because of the GPL's viral attitude towards bundling and
 > linking, even if we published every line of source code (which because of
 > RSA's licensing of their patents for SSL, we can not do).

	Right. Or you can look it the other way around. Because of
the viral attitude of software patents and RSA's licensing...

		Jesus.

PS: Anyway, I'm not proposing any particular way of earning profits as 
"the only one and the rest is evil". I'm just trying to find new
paths...

-- 
Jesus M. Gonzalez Barahona             | Grupo de Sistemas y Comunicaciones
tel +3491 624 9458, fax +3491 624 9430 | Departamento de Informatica
jgb@gsyc.inf.uc3m.es, jgb@computer.org | Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
http://www.gsyc.inf.uc3m.es/~jgb       | c/ Butarque, 15, 28911 Leganes, Spain