Subject: Re: FreeDevelopers
From: Seth Gordon <>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 11:03:14 -0500

[Anil Kumar:]
>> There needs to be a predominant marketing company for GPL software
>> to compete with proprietary software ...

Let me expand a little on Tom Hull's response.

Suppose I write a GPL program to be used by doctors' offices, and you write
a GPL program to be used by banks.  Why should my program and your program
have the same organization doing marketing work?  A person who would be
very effective in selling to doctors' offices would be someone who is very
familiar with how doctors do business, what their needs are, how to impress
them, etc., etc. -- and such a person would not be nearly as effective in
marketing to banks.  For similar reasons, someone who excels at *running* a
marketing organization for medical software would not be so good at running
a marketing organization for financial software.

So if you set up one uber-marketing company that is prepared to market any
GPL software by any FreeDevelopers employee, it seems like a recipe for
mediocrity.  I would rather have my medical-software services sold by a
company that specialized in medical software, even if it also sold some
proprietary medical software as well, than by a company whose focus was the

> Proprietary has a huge advantage because it buys its supporters
> (developers, lawyers, politicians, etc.). Free software has a hard time
> even finding support among itself, because people want more to quibble
> with friends than fight the foe. While we split hairs, proprietary
> relentlessly marches on to enslave the world (e.g., HailStorm). Let's
> concentrate on defeating proprietary.

"Proprietary", singular, does no such thing.  Vendors, plural, of
proprietary software can buy support, but (a) they have expenses that many
free-software developers don't have to worry about[*]; (b) they also
compete against each other, which inhibits any one company's ability to
march on to enslave the world; (c) their goal is not to enslave the world
(well, I might make an exception for Microsoft :-), but to make money.

I'm generally unmoved by complaints about how [fill in the name of a
community here] suffers from a lack of unity, because the person who makes
the complaint usually follows up by saying "...and therefore, you all
should unite around me."  In this case it's "...and therefore, you all
should unite around the organization I belong to", but my response is the
same: yawn.

[*]Have I ever posted my theory of free-vs.-proprietary software
competition to this list?

"The big dig might come in handy ... for a few project managers
 whom I think would make great landfill."  --Elaine Ashton
== seth gordon == == standard disclaimer ==
== documentation group, kenan systems corp., cambridge, ma ==