Subject: Re: Free Software Business Models
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 14 Sep 1998 04:09:23 -0000

D. V. Henkel-Wallace writes:
 > What happens if/as RH becomes _very_ successful?  All of a sudden
 > there's incentive for people to undercut the "official" distributions
 > perhaps by adding small, even proprietary pieces at the margins.  Yes,
 > they will continue to be small time players themselves, but the
 > question is, will syphoning off that revenue also limit RH to a
 > significant degree?  Could that act as a deterrent to investment?

Well, is illicit copying of proprietary software a deterrent to
investment?  Seemingly not.  Is patent-jumping (use of patents soon
before they expire) (which happened a lot to the early telephone
industry) a deterrent?  Seemingly not.  Look at PGP, Inc., and RSA.

 > Interestingly much of the popular opposition (such as there is) to 
 > Microsoft appears to be due to jealousy of their financial
 > success[*].

I don't think so.  Nobody seemed to be opposed to Microsoft before the 
evidence about their rigging of the market appeared.  Remember when
Undocumented Windows first pointed out the code which prevented
Windows from running on DR-DOS?  I don't recall any widespread
opposition to Microsoft before that.

 > Note that I'm presupposing that branding is the only way to
 > address this issue.  That could be wrong.

A lot of problems are only solvable through branding.  Consider UL.
Consider Sears.

-russ nelson <>
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