Subject: Re: Who holds the copyright?
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 22 Nov 1999 12:26:02 -0500

   From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
   Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 17:31:38 +0900 (JST)

   Cygnus does have a PR problem.

Oh, I agree.  Cygnus has never had a particularly good advertising,
although at least their press releases have gotten better recently.

And it's true that Code Fusion and Source Navigator are proprietary,
though that wasn't was Brian was talking about.

It will be interesting to see whether the Red Hat acquisition changes
any of this.

   I think that any organization truly motivated by the free or open
   source software spirits should have such a link for each product.

I agree.

Cygnus's web site was designed to sell to Cygnus customers.  During my
time at Cygnus it was clear that most Cygnus customers really don't
care about the license at all.  Some customers were swayed by the fact
that they could continue to use gcc.  Most simply did not care at all;
they just wanted working tools.  This might be changing these days,
with the increasing awareness of free software.

Nevertheless, I do now think Cygnus should push free software harder.
I don't think the omission is malicious.  I think it is, now, a
mistake.  Remember that Cygnus was around and selling long before free
software became a topic of business articles.  When I was at Cygnus, I
never thought there was anything particularly wrong with the web site
(except that it was rather uninspired after they removed Jason's
initial crayon drawing).

To put it another way, I think it turns out that Cygnus made a
tactical error by not pushing harder on the free software angle.
Other companies took much of the marketing credit for free software,
although Cygnus was in the trenches doing the technical work for far
longer.

However, this is 20/20 hindsight.  If there is a lesson, it is that
marketing is important.  But that's hardly specific to FSBs.

   There are a couple of exceptions.  eCos isn't there; I'm not lawyer
   enough to know if its license is "free", but it sure looks like a good 
   try to me.  I don't know what, if anything, you pay for a license to
   eCos.

eCos is open source software.  You can download the sources from the
net, and modify them, use them, and distribute them without paying
anything to Cygnus.


Personal disclaimer: I worked at Cygnus for six years, but I left in
1998.  I have no current affiliation beyond being a stockholder (soon
to become a Red Hat stockholder, I assume (actually, I'm already a Red
Hat stockholder)).

Ian