Subject: Re: My customers
From: John Gilmore <gnu@cygnus.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 1994 00:51:28 -0700

> >How can you price your services so that this type of business (which
> >I would think would be very intermittent and low-volume)
> 
> About the intermittent and low-volume part.  Let's just say that
> Cygnus has seen the low volume and intermittent jobs, and they take
> quite a bit in resources, take a lot of time (measures in years), and
> we get more than $100 for a port.

As a small business, it's easier to find, negotiate, sign, and deliver
five $100K deals in a year, than it is to do 100 $5K deals.  There's
clearly a market on the other end too, where you deliver 50,000 $10
products; Qualcomm seems to have done that one best among FSB's,
though they actually sell and support a proprietary program that
differs from their freely available program.

> >contracting it out to some third party who will work for less than
> >you (in India, say...

I agree with Mike Stump that it would be great if low-cost contract
programmers in India got turned on to free software.  Given the amount
of money that companies are making using free software (to build their
products, e.g. with gcc; or to sell hardware, e.g. with packet drivers),
lower priced programming would bring more improvements to the software,
benefiting all users of the software.  [Again assuming that a strong
central maintainer keeps the updates orderly and reliable for any given
program.]

There's never been any shortage of good ideas for programs; only a
shortage of human labor to put into them.  If some people can stop
doing labor intensive hand-farming (a job that machines are good at
automating), put their labor into improving free software, and still
feed their families, great!

	John Gilmore
	Cygnus Support