Subject: Re: Ransom in practice
From: Norbert Bollow <>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 17:01:03 +0200

> If Ransomware is a successful model, why didn't that become
> all of cosource's listings?  If I recall, of the 10 or
> so projects which did get funded at cosource over two years,
> none were ransomware, even though that model was supported.

Perhaps the particular ransomware model that cosource proposed
was not appealing to them?

I'm more interested in studying examples of projects which have
invested significant effort and time into marketing a ransomware
project.  If no such examples are available, then I think that
some experiments should be made.

> I do not understand the business justification for
> Ransomware.  The ESR argument for open source runs along the
> lines of "free it now, and you get the benefits that come with
> extra eyeballs."   Since ransomware isn't Free at the
> beginning, you must provide some other justification. 

The whole point of my "copyleft ransomware" proposal is to make
it free enough right from the beginning that you get the extra
eyeballs... just not completely free to avoid the risk of
someone immediately forking your code and then outmarketing you.

> If the motivation for Ransomware is not charity, then
>    - there must be business justification to free the code
>      at the end
> AND 
>    - there must be a business justification for telling
>      people you will free it at the end (otherwise you
>      could just free it at the end without telling people
>      ahead of time.)
> Are you betting that buyers will be influenced by your
> promise to free it at the end?

No, I'm betting that because of this promise, and because of my
giving a out lot of freedom rights right from the beginning, I
will get the community support for debugging the code that makes
Free Software so strong.

> If a buyer's motivation is not charity either, then
> what business justification do they have for liking this
> model over any other?

At the moment of the buying decision, most buyers look at
the benefits of the product and at the price, without much
consideration about whether the seller's business model is
appealing or not.  Many people hate Microsoft (the company)
but still buy Microsoft's products.

Greetings, Norbert.

A member of FreeDevelopers and the DotGNU Steering Committee:
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet   (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59       Fax +41 1 972 20 69
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