Subject: Re: (Was Car Repair) Debian GNU/Linux project's model a good startingpoint for free software business models.
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 18:33:06 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Brock" == R Brock Lynn <brock@cyberdude.com> writes:

    Brock> Brian Behlendorf wrote:
    >> Again, I'm not sure if this would fall into your definition of
    >> "planned obsolescence".

    Brock> No, that'd be a design issue... or something like
    Brock> that... Planned obsolescence would be more like putting out
    Brock> a poor quality software system knowingly and then down the
    Brock> road people would want the bugs fixed, you'd then ask more
    Brock> money for the fixes... of course this is all proprietary
    Brock> business model based. I think Free Software systems tend to
    Brock> reduce planned obsolescence,

I think you just don't have a coherent definition of "planned
obsolescence."  First, "obsolete" implies that a better replacement is
_on hand_, which your "definition" doesn't deal with at all.

Second, as Brian Bartholomew keeps harping, FSBs that actually produce
free software _can_ intentionally make it bad so that they can sell
service.  They will be limited by the fact that other people can read
the code ... maybe; have you read _Obfuscated C_ recently?  There's
nothing[1] in the GPL that says you're not allowed to do something like

	  cat local.sh | sed -e 's/#.*$//' | distributed.sh

This would give them a great leg up on the competition.

I see no evidence that anyone I know of is doing such a thing
intentionally (contra the cynical Mr. B.), but clearly people do
release packages before their time without appropriate documentation,
etc., all with the best of intentions.  I don't see how you can
distinguish that case from the evil of "planned obsolescence."


Footnotes: 
[1]  Well, aside from that fact that compared to distributed.sh,
local.sh is clearly the "Preferred Form" for making Modifications to
the Work.

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