Subject: Re: My ears are red (was Re: the walls have ears)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 15:53:29 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Paul" == Paul Rohr <> writes:

    >> Today's market is different in that there is a clearly
    >> established standard (MS Word) and some highly competitive
    >> alternatives (WP, AmiPro (? Still around ?), vim,...)

    Paul> Do you really see them as highly competitive?

Yes.  A big Microsoft feature screwup or a big feature win for one of
the competitors, and the market could tip again; MSFT could probably
reverse it by force, but that would hurt in reputation (including with 
the Justice Dept), and be very expensive.

    >> Think Ghostscript/Ghostview.  Idea is to initially fund
    >> development of a high-ticket or high-value item as proprietary,
    >> closed software.

    Paul> I understand the model, but I still don't like what it would
    Paul> do to our brand positioning.  It's very easy to explain to
    Paul> people that we're 100% GPL, so they can trust us.  People
    Paul> like and respect us for the purity of that stance.

I agree with this (but I'm not a player, so FWIW).  I think the % of
users who are paying customers is less important.  Non-paying users
are good advertising, but their ratio to the paying customers doesn't
much matter as such.  It's the number of the latter.

This is not to deny that enforcing IP rights is not sometime effective 
at increasing the number of paying customers (gotta love the Disney
anecdotes in _Information Rules_ :-), but if that's what you're
talking about, you need to make it explicit.  It's expensive, both in
money and reputation, and those costs need to be projected at the
same time you project the revenues.

    Paul> To put it another way, I think I understand why that model
    Paul> works for Peter Deutsch, but I don't see how to make it work
    Paul> for me.

Agreed.  Especially since he has the "this is intended to cover
embedded systems which are a philosophical problem with the GPL"
argument; you don't.

University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences       Tel/fax: +81 (298) 53-5091
What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."