Subject: Re: RFC on this situation
From: david d `zoo' zuhn <zoo@cygnus.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 93 23:48:39 PST

   (Unless I am badly mistaken, the software Cygnus sells is usually not 
   looked upon as the prime resource/income generator, but rather, 
   a public asset that needs maintenance.)

Not *badly* mistaken, but I don't get the feeling around here that the
above statement reflects how most people here feel about it.  There is a
lot of development that happens here, and I get the feeling that we sell
the software almost as much as we're selling the support.  It depends a lot
on the customer, and how they feel about free software.  Some people want
GCC on its technical merits, and they don't care about source code.  Others
only half care.  It's a mixed bag.  Free software has to compete on a
technical basis, or else it won't survive.  It doesn't have to be superior
in every way (or even in any single way), but it has to be close.  That's
the point where source availability starts to be a sell.  The more ways in
which the software is superior to the counterparts, the easier the sell is.

   Personally, I feel that the niche for companies like Cygnus will
   continue growing.

I hope so.  :) I'd like to be rich someday, and to do it via free software.
And even if I don't get fabulously wealthy, it's great talking to the folks
at the AT&T booth at trade shows who absolutely claim that you *CANNOT*
make any sort of money unless your code is tightly protected by patents,
trade secret agreements, and copyrights.