Subject: Free Software and the Fortune 250
From: kmself@ix.netcom.com
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 01:05:11 -0700
Thu, 6 Jul 2000 01:05:11 -0700
This is hypothetically related to a sales prospect, a large, fairly
conservative, but also technologically savvy, firm in the Fortune 500.

The sticker is licensing, specifically the GNU GPL -- pushback we're
getting is that the prospect doesn't accept licenses whose terms it
can't modify.  My first reaction is incredulity that the prospect has
only just now, July 2000, heard of and read the GNU GPL.  A quick web
scan indicates they're only kidding, though they may have some internal
issues to resolve and/or corporate values decisions to make.

Second reaction is -- we're not selling the software.  Take it and deal
with it.  What we're about is building services and support around it,
licensed under proprietary terms if you insist (understand that we think
this is against you best interests), though we'll have to architect
appropriately to be in compliance with the GPL.  What happens if we take
the software licensing off the table and deal with the remaining terms
(indications are that these are less of a general issues).

From the situation as I understand, redistribution isn't so much an
issue as is simply acceptance of the GPL.  Use is likely to be largely
internal, possibly limited distribution among subsidiaries, though I'm
not clear of the details.  I'd suspect subsidiary distribution could be
made under a gentleman's agreement that further redistribution isn't
encouraged.

Wondering who else out there has dealt with selling free software (the
concept) outside the choir, so to speak.  What's proven effective, tips,
suggestions, signs that all is lost?  I've got the books (Bob's and
Eric's).

In this case, it appears the prospect may be happier to accept software
licensed under other free software licenses, in particular BSD/MIT style
licenses.  Anyone else see this pattern?

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>     http://www.netcom.com/~kmself
 Evangelist, Opensales, Inc.                    http://www.opensales.org
  What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?   Debian GNU/Linux rocks!
   http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/    K5: http://www.kuro5hin.org
GPG fingerprint: F932 8B25 5FDD 2528 D595 DC61 3847 889F 55F2 B9B0


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