Subject: Re: the Free Software Movement in Industry
From: Tom Lord <lord@regexps.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 21:02:25 -0700 (PDT)



       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?

It sounds like your previous employer's customers have effectively
implemented a competition.  They have some criterea for picking the
best billing system, inform the players of the contest, and then wait
for bids.  The winning team gets a wind-fall, perhaps spread over time
and correlated to the growth of the telco's needs: that's the "prize".

In what way is that incompatible with the GPL?

-t