Subject: Re: Here's a-what I'm a-gonna do.
From: nelson@crynwr.com
Date: 9 Jun 1996 04:14:40 -0000

Mike Stump writes:
 > Yes, things yet a little sticky when you try and vend small pieces,
 > and/or front the work yourself (before you take in your dev expenses
 > and lots of profit).  If one wants to do GPLed code, it is much easier
 > if one gets the money up front.

Yes, much -- that's how all of my packet driver development works.
But I don't like the idea that making software freely copyable stands
in the way of incremental hardware profits.

 > Having said that, you might try making it non-free to recover costs,
 > charging as much as you can as you go.  After you make enough money on
 > it, then can move it over to GPL.

Yes, I have considered doing that, but I think it violates the very
*idea* that software should be freely copyable.  There's no way to
restore one's virginity.

 > Maybe you can strike a deal with them, that says, if you can move X
 > units of hardware in a given time period, then they will give you Y
 > dollars.

Well, that's how a reseller program works [you probably know that, but
I'll bet that some other readers don't].  If I sell the hardware, I
get a percentage of the profits.  The problem with freely copyable
software comes when they get my software, buy the hardware from
someone else, and never tell them that they're using my driver.

If it weren't for their almost palpable unwillingness to lift a finger
for any Linux support/sales, I might be able to convince them to pay
me a royalty on the customer's purchasing because of the Linux driver.
The problem is that most users aren't going to tell them which driver
they're using.

I certainly DON'T like setting the precedent of a non-GPL'ed kernel
module for LInux.  There is another alternative to a proprietary
driver.  What I might do is hope that the advertising value of having
the driver and source be freely copyable will override the possibility
that a customer might use my driver on hardware purchased elsewhere.
If I had more doubts than just that, I might knock $5 off my price on
the hardware.  I could write it off to lower advertising costs, and $5
is enough that most people would seek me out for the hardware.

Can anyone think of more reasons why the free software driver would be
better than the proprietary one?

-russ <nelson@crynwr.com>    http://www.crynwr.com/~nelson
Crynwr Software   | Crynwr Software sells packet driver support | PGP ok
11 Grant St.      | +1 315 268 1925 voice | It's no mistake to err on
Potsdam, NY 13676 | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   | the side of freedom.