Subject: Re: [ppc-mobo] Re: GPL-like hardware design license?
From: "Brian J. Fox" <bfox@ua.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1999 08:56:01 -0700


   Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 20:56:00 -0700
   From: "John Metzger" <john_metzger@worldnet.att.net>
   CC: giles@raj.phys.sfu.ca
	   , ppc-mobo@raj.phys.sfu.ca
	   , braddock@gaffney-kroese.com
	   , rms@gnu.org
	   , fsb@crynwr.com
   X-Priority: 3
   Content-type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"

   ...

   > I find this fascinating.
   > 
   > RedHat employs programmers -- this represents some portion of their
   > monthly nut.  RedHat also gives away the results of this R & D.  And,
   > of course, RedHat uses software that they didn't create which runs on
   > RedHat systems.
   >
   > RedHat makes money on customer relationships, based on faith and
   > trust (in much the same way that IBM does).  The actual product is in
   > reality a commodity.
   >
   > Now, let's say I design a motherboard which has distinct advantages
   > over what is out there already.
   >
   > If my business model says that I have to make money selling
   > motherboards, and motherboards alone, giving my design away simply
   > creates competition in my space.  But, if I am a forward-thinking
   > company, then I actually have some other space in mind into which I
   > will be selling my products, for example, entire system packages for a
   > specific market segment.

   So if you have some proprietary accounting software or vertical market
   software you can bundle that with all this Open hardware and GPLed Linux
   stuff and make a killing (large profit with your private/proprietary/closed
   software).

No, No, NO!

Let's say I sell firewalls.  Or passive "E-Commerce Accelerators" (a
network appliance that converts HTTPS connections to HTTP
connections).

Each and every component of my firewall is free software.  What am I
selling?  The complete, packaged solution, already configured.

How do I make money?  Just ask the people out there selling load
balancers based on FreeBSD (upto 40k per box), or SSL accelerators
based on BSDI (could have been FreeBSD) and an off-the-shelf PCI card
(13k per box!).

This isn't about proprietary code, this is about packaging, marketing,
and market focus.

Brian