Subject: Re: forking the list considered harmful (was Re: free software vs. open source)
From: "Bradley M. Kuhn" <>
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 12:26:09 -0500

Tim O'Reilly wrote:

> I'd hate to see it too.  But if everyone agrees, it would be nice to have
> a less partisan tone from the GPL side of the house.  Most of the chat is
> about licenses and ideology, and not much about business, and the
> university-style-license people mostly keep their heads down, even though
> many of them are quietly building businesses, often using a mix of free
> and proprietary software.

I would encourage these folks to speak up.  I am one who might be considered
the "GPL side of the house" by some, but if folks from say, sendmail, inc.,
(who may or may not be lurking here) wish to speak up about their methods of
business, I would be all for it, and would not want to flame them.

Tim, perhaps it might be useful to personally ask folks who you feel are
creating a "partisan" environment and talk about it with them off-line.

> I know of quite a few people with significant stature in the community,
> and who have made significant contributions, who are doing this, but who
> wouldn't want to raise their heads for fear of getting them shot off.

I hope we are all above that here.  Are you speculating, or have these folks
said to you they are afraid in this nature?

>  And yet these are the people who probably have the most interesting
> experiences to relate on the business side.  There are businesses like Red
> Hat and VA that are firmly committed to GPL, and we know a lot about their
> business models.

Well, Red Hat resells a number of proprietary software items, and Cygnus
(which is now part of Red Hat) has a number of proprietary products.  I
don't know if they are that different than the "mix" businesses you

> But how much do we know about the business models, successes and failures
> of companies like Sendmail, Sleepycat, C2Net, ActiveState, and many others
> who had (for various reasons) some mix of free and proprietary.

I would be happy to see participation from all these companies on this list.

> Until the partisans are willing to entertain the idea that we don't know
> everything already, and that all the rules aren't written, and all the
> principles defined,

Heck, I am a Hegelian (at least some of the time).  I certainly believe
this.  :)

> Your suggestion about subject lines certainly can help, but given that
> virtually any subject can be turned into a holier than thou discussion, it
> doesn't provide a safe haven.

Well, folks can change the subject line as the conversation degrades.  Most
people *don't* change a subject line within a thread even though great
topic-drift has happened.  If we can change this a bit, we might do ok.
>  Only open mindedness can do that.

My mind is open.  I think others are.  Start posting away!  :)

         -  -  Bradley M. Kuhn  -  -