Subject: Re: the Free Software Movement in Industry
From: Seth Gordon <sethg@ropine.com>
Date: 22 Aug 2001 21:19:51 -0000


   In other words: let's rebuild our software infrastructure from scratch
   -- this time under the GPL.  That's not one project: it's many.  There
   isn't a single obvious solution: there's a need to experiment with a
   variety of strategies.

   Overall, that's a large project.  It's a call for MASSIVE R&D
   investment in Free Software.  That investment would cause immediate
   industry growth, advance the state of human knowledge, advance the
   state of computing infrastructures everywhere, drive companies to
   learn to cooperate more fully on GPLed projects, and permit a graceful
   deprecation of proprietary software and business practices based on
   proprietary licensing.  It would stand a very good chance of sparking
   a technology and business renaissance for the software-oriented
   segments of the computing industry.

I don't see where you address the "free-rider problem" -- a company's
investment in producing GPLed software will also benefit the competitors
who did not invest anything in that software's development.

For example, my previous employer sold billing software for telecom
companies; the cost of the program was in the seven figures, and there
were several other companies that compete fiercely for each contract.
If they rewrite their cash cow and release it under the GPL, how will
it benefit them?

-- 
"Rav would never cross a bridge when an idolator was on it; he said, 'Maybe he
will be judged and I will be taken with him.'  Shmuel would only cross a
bridge when an idolator was on it; he said, 'Satan cannot rule two nations [at
once].'  Rabbi Yannai would examine [the bridge] and cross."  --Shabbat 32a
== Seth Gordon == sethg@ropine.com == http://ropine.com/ == std. disclaimer ==