Subject: Re: Here's a-what I'm a-gonna do.
From: Magnus Redin <redin@signum.se>
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 96 12:13:40 MET DST

Hi!

John:
> It sometimes takes an essential goodness-of-spirit to work on free
> software; a belief that the world is at root a good place and that if
> we all cooperate it will get even better.  When you see an apparent
> conflict between that and survival fears, my recommendation is to
> stretch your understanding of the nature of the world, and the nature
> of survival, if you can, rather than to become meaner (stingier) in
> spirit.  I just nursed another friend through an attack of
> mean-spiritedness, and we found a much better path than by chucking
> the free software nature of their product.

Chris:
> That's beautiful, John.  But it's hardly a rational economic argument.

Yes it is beautiful. It kind of sorta works since it is a major
ammount of work to get a company going and selling support and 
products that one realy believes in has helped to keep me going.

The free part has only given say 1/5:th of our companies direct
incomes so far but it has given us PR. We have not had it as easy as
Cygnus and US based companies since this business idea is more mature
in US and it is probably easier to find customers who dosent cringe on
the idea that something free can be good. But it is going in the right
direction, especially Linux and Internet services are spreading the
recognition of free software. The "unfree" are spending major bucks on
advertising and trying to capture the market so it sure is intresting
to follow. 

Free software is also more fun, I hope that can help us some in the
future with getting good people since competent people are going to
get scarse. We are only nine employees yet, so far it has been easy to
find good people.

What has worked best for us so far is Linux support and our internet
server Readynet. We have developed a graphical administration tool in
Tcl/Tk that takes care of system setup, user adding and removal, DNS,
email, news, www, ftp, gopher, proxy services and modem pool setup
with fixed and dynamic IP numbers.  It runs both on Linux and Sun
Solaris. We have a decent number of installations that we support via
the net and it is easy enough for people not knowledged in Unix to use
and unskilled people can use the email and user adding/removal
functions.  Unfortunately you have not heard much about it since the
user dialogue so far is in Swedish since all our paying support
customers are Swedish schools, cities and companies. Having this
Readynet product has helped our consulting sales and we have also used
parts of it in our consulting works like when we recently set up web
services for a bank. 

We are thinking a lot about how to sell this support product abroad.
In Sweden we have started to cooperate with resellers that sells our
product, hopefully with added value for the customer in the form of
email and web clients, trains the personell, fixes their pysical
network and so on. They get a good commission(right word?) on the
price and we deliver all the support. We are better technicians then
salespeople and it is easier for us to find and value the skill of
technicians then salespeople.

We got a "demo" of readynet on http://www.signum.se/readynet and the
source can be fetched on ftp.signum.se 

Regards,

--Free software--I  Magnus Redin        I  WWW   http://www.signum.se/
Ibland får man   I  Signum Support AB   I  email redin@signum.se  
mer än vad man   I  Teknikringen 8      I  fax   +46 (0)13 214700 
betalar för.     I  S-583 30 LINKOPING  I  tel   +46 (0)13 214600