Subject: Re: Paying for development on a services model?
From: Zimran Ahmed <>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 13:48:02 -0700 (PDT)

--- Tom Lord <> wrote:
> As a self-appointed Free Software ethicist on
> fsb@cynwr:

that might be the problem. When customers decide to
purchase goods from FSBs their decision is not driven
by ethics. When investors think about putting their
money in FSBs, their decisions aren't driven by
ethical concerns either. FSBs, if they want to stay in
business, shouldn't drive their M&A investments
through the ethics of free software. 

It just so happens that free software is good for
software in particular ways, and good for customers in
many ways. So long as companies don't have to deal
with ammortizing development expense, free software is
the best opportunity for business to build systems
they *actually* need without getting trapped in
upgrade cycles or draconian licensing schemes.

>    Michael ponders:
>    ensure that we achieve some level of first-mover
> advantage, etc),
>    are we still a legitimate FSB, or not?
> Given just those facts and making favorable
> presumptions about them:
> "Still legitimate," in my view.  Time is that thing

this may make me (even more) unpopular on this list,
but again, FSBs that want to stay in business might
want to think less about their legitimacy and more
about customer needs. I understand that maintaining
good relations with the OS development community is
critically important, but hopefully there's room to do
this within a mixed source company that behaves
ethically, supports interop, and treats customers and
developers well.

> Is the system you buy *really* worth the money
> compared to what you 
> might assemble using pure open source tactics?  By

like what? ask people to do it for free and hope for
the best? pay people to do it and then worry about how
to ammortize that expense you've incurred while having
the code out there for free (as beer and speech).

It's possible the OS solution might be better, but I
wonder how often it would work out that way in

> Is that *really* the fastest/cheapest/best way to
> bring that
> particular system into an open source state?  What
> other options exist?

will the market allow that to be the driving
consideration for FSBs?

> questions -- your legitimacy as an FSB starts look
> more problematic.

Concerns for legimitimacy over sound economics starts
to look problematic from a business solvency

> the importance and viability of pure FSB models).

what's wrong with pure FSB models being muddied?
Hopefully, people now understand that pure proprietary
models are muddy.

> Another analogy might be the large mixed-mode
> companies.  I think they

how about small mixed-mode companies. Why can't they
also be considered legitimate FSBs?

- zimran 

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