Subject: Re: ransom
From: Adam Theo <adamtheo@theoretic.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 08:18:50 -0400

Adam Theo <adamtheo@theoretic.com> wrote:
>>The biggest drawback to free software to most proprietary
>>programmers, I think, is that they need to get paid.

Norbert Bollow wrote:
> I'd like to add that the "need to get paid" exists not only
> for proprietary programmers.
> 
> I think that the vast majority of Free Software programmers
> (by this I mean people who would like to spend their time on
> writing Free Software, and who think that Freedom is more
> important than getting paid) also have the need to get paid.


Yes, I completely agree. I simply didn't mention the free software 
developer because my focus was on how Ransom (including/especially your 
excellent "copyleft ransomware" model) could be used to attract 
proprietary developers over to free source. Once this enables them to be 
fairly paid, the largest barrier to them becoming a free developer is 
eliminated, IMO.


>>Some form of a steady paycheck is needed, even if it's 
>>a "freelance" type pay instead of salary. Employment at a Free/Open 
>>Source company is an option, but there are only so many of those jobs to 
>>go around.
>>
> 
> This can be changed by inventing a licensing+business model
> which results in the creation of Free Software, while still
> being attractive to investors, e.g. venture capitalists.
> 
> I think that the copyleft ransomware license that I have
> proposed may possibly be a solution to this problem, at the very
> least I believe that this concept is worth some serious
> experimentation.


Exactly. I believe the greatest good can be done using Ransom by using 
it in a business model. Specifically with small "ground-up" software 
development companies like FreeDevelopers.net. Your Copyleft Ransomware 
is an excellent solution to these business models, and the first Ransom 
License I think that needs to be created and promoted.


>>The vast bulk of free programmers won't ever work for 
>>software development companies, they'll be on their own.
> 
> I don't like this perspective for the future; I'd like to change
> it.  The Free Software movement will be much more powerful if we
> succeed in inventing a way in which it can be profitably created
> by development companies.
> 
> FreeDevelopers (see http://freedevelopers.net ) is one way in
> which it may be possible to achieve this.  The copyleft
> ransomware approach is another idea worth pursuing.


I think both could (and should) be used together. I've been planning to 
"spin off" the software development projects at my website 
<http://www.theoretic.com> into their own website and business, plus 
have a number of other Jabber <http://www.jabber.org> projects join in. 
This new company is going to be a ground-up structure, run by the 
programmer members. This is similar to FreeDevelopers, I believe? This 
would be instead of being employed by a company to do what the boss 
wants you to work on, and be paid a set salary.

The benefit of using Copyleft Ransomware with a FreeDevelopers.net model 
is it would enable more focus on the individual programmer's wants and 
needs without loosing any overall structure or focus in the greater company.


>>Tom Lord wrote:
>>>Also: By all external appearences, MS manages to pay for a lot of code
>>>that is never released becaused it isn't any good.  The freedom to
>>>*select* from an oversupply of engineering effort would seem to be a
>>>key factor in MSFT's success.  Solving the "FSB question" would seem
>>>to require finding a way to pay for a similar oversupply.
>>>
> 
> This can be achieved through the copyleft ransomware model.  The
> ransom amount which is set in the "statement of financial
> expactation" (meaning that the code becomes totally Free when
> this amount of revenue has been achieved from the project) will
> typically have to be several times higher that the pure
> development costs.  (Ten or twelve times the development costs
> may be reasonable.)  This will allow the development company to
> finance those projects which never really take off through those
> which become a huge success.


Yes, very true. I would see this as very feasible for alot of 
institutions to fund free software R&D. Wasn't there a thread here a 
week ago about how to fund free software R&D? Norbert's Copyleft 
Ransomware is looking like an excellent solution.


-- 
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