Subject: Re: the Free Software Movement in Industry
From: Tom Lord <>
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 18:52:47 -0700 (PDT)

       You still haven't addressed the free-rider problem.

Ok, but you did:

    My previous employer reinvested plenty in its engineering process
    (until it was bought out by Lucent :-).  The software was
    constantly under revision, significant changes were made to
    satisfy big-ticket customers, and the contracts for the software
    had a consulting component.

Though you offer a caveat:

       Still, if they had released each version under the GPL and then
       depended entirely on consulting and contract-work improvements
       for their revenue, they would have had a much riskier business,
       for reasons discussed earlier.

They would have had a differently risky business, which is not the
same as a riskier business.  The new risk would be offset by other
factors, such as greater degrees of freedom for encorporating GPL code
from third parties, the distributed cost benefits of Open Source
processes, and happier customers (whose risks have been reduced).

But now this thread is trailing off into old-hat boiler-plate.