Subject: Re: Ariba - open?
From: Brian Bartholomew <>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 04:15:50 -0500 (Kirrily 'Skud' Robert) writes:

> The problem there is having enough people and enough time for them
> to do it.  We have *so* many ideas, but we seem to spend all our
> time installing yet-another-bloody-linux-box for some wannabe ISP
> who hasn't realised they're 5 years too late, or yet-another-bloody-
> database-backend-perl-cgi-website for this week's unexciting
> e-commerce thing.

If the upside of the R&D-ish implementations are as lucrative as
claimed, then a business that funded experienced people to explore
ideas with less experienced people doing perl-cgi would be viable.
However, I suspect the things "we" want are not commercially viable.
Consider the market failures of most computer products that were real
improvements.  Therefore, most of the compensation would be in
standard-of-living improvements, not money, which is already the
situation today when "we" scratch itches.

Perhaps "we" are a large market enough market unto ourselves.  Here's
my favorite recent idea: a Linux CNC control for desktop machine
tools.  If the list can put together $15K of pre-purchases (suggested
buy-in $1K), I'll write it.  Then I'll resell it with the rights to:
run, read source, maintain source with third parties, and redistribute
derivatives to other purchasers.  I'll limit my profit to 10X of
development cost, and do the price-redistribution thing over e-gold
such that everybody is adjusted to have paid the same amount after I
clear my profit.  In 1-3 years I'll reassign copyright to the FSF,
when I think most of the potential user base has shared the cost.

I don't think this proposal is an offer to sell securities, but if it
is, I retract it.

A member of the League for Programming Freedom (LPF)
Brian Bartholomew - - - Working Version, Cambridge, MA