Subject: Re: People only buy support for bad software ?!?
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 3 Jun 1999 01:54:57 -0400

   Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 01:07:52 -0400
   From: Brian Bartholomew <>

   > This is particularly the case since you have made comments about
   > Cygnus which I know to be false under a reasonable interpretation
   > (I'm referring specifically to your suggestion that the Cygnus
   > marketing department vigorously discourages gratis copies of the
   > Cygnus sources).

   I'm sure they have some strategy to prevent or reduce revenue loss
   from customer prospects downloading gratis copies.  I didn't attend
   their marketing meetings, I don't know exactly what their plan is.
   *If I had attended those meetings, I would be legally prevented from
   disclosing their plan.* "Vigorously" may be subtle in practice.  If
   they took a lot of positive actions they might stir things up more
   than if they just discouraged customers that broke ranks with FUD.  I
   concluded it was vigorous because of how important it seemed to be
   financially, and how well it seems to have worked.

Brian, I was there.  I worked at Cygnus for six years.  I knew much of
what was going on at the company.  It is not a company given to

The Cygnus marketing department did not vigorously discourage gratis
copies of the Cygnus software.

I'm not saying ``no comment,'' or ``I can't legally talk about it.''
I'm saying it didn't happen.

I'm not an apologist for Cygnus.  There are plenty of things they do
wrong.  But they are not guilty of this particular accusation.

Did the Cygnus marketing department think about gratis copies?  Yes,
they did.  Did they take any steps to actively prevent customers from
making gratis copies?  No, they did not.

If any Cygnus customers started widely distributing Cygnus code, would
the Cygnus marketing department think about ways to stop them?  I
simply don't know.  They might.  They might not.

Since no Cygnus customers did widely distribute Cygnus code, the
Cygnus marketing department didn't need to do anything.  They didn't
need to take vigorous action.  They didn't need to take subtle action.
They didn't need to discourage customers that broke ranks.  They
didn't need to employ FUD.

Why didn't any Cygnus customers distribute Cygnus code?  Why should
they?  Cygnus customers paid plenty of money to get the Cygnus code.
They are not themselves in the software distribution business.  What
interest of theirs would they serve by distributing the code?  It's
all on the net anyhow, albeit at some other time and in some more
complex format.

Have you ever heard the saying ``never attribute to malice what can be
adequately explained by stupidity?''

   Speculation?  Yes.  Informed speculation?  Yes.  Think of it as
   business plan reverse engineering.

Speculation?  Yes.  Informed speculation?  No.  What information are
you using?  I've asked you before, and you haven't produced any.  You
can't be making informed speculation if you don't have any

   > I feel that your arguments are based on innuendo and conspiracy
   > theory

   I prefer to say that while some of the bread crumbs are missing, I can
   still follow the trail.

I can make up plausible stories too, but I try pretty hard not to
present them as fact.  I understand the difference between something I
make up and something that I have some actual evidence for.

For example, it's common sense that somebody who makes certain types
of accusations tends to be guilty of the very things he or she accuses
other people of.  After all, most people don't think of what other
people might do wrong.  It's the people who consider doing wrong
themselves that think that other people might do it.  Now, Working
Version claims to distribute a version-control filesystem, but the
link on the web page goes to a file dated over a year ago.  I think
it's safe to conclude that you are actually withholding sources from
the net.  After all, it could be worth money to you, and I haven't
seen any other copies of WVfs anywhere.

Speculation?  Yes.  Informed speculation?  No.  I understand the