Subject: Re: BSD, GPL and macroeconomics
From: Bjorn Reese <>
Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 15:10:41 +0000

"Jonathan S. Shapiro" wrote:

> allow the investment of the American public to be squandered. GPL is not a
> significant impediment to a successful business. There are lots and lots of
> ways to combine proprietary and GPL value creatively if a business is
> inclined to do so, and RedHat and others have amply demonstrated that *pure*
> open strategies can be used to build successful companies.

Certainly Red Hat has demonstrated that business can be based upon GPL. By
"others" who are you thinking of?

However, but there is more than ample evidence of failures as well. Eazel
and Great Bridge springs to mind, but we also witness an increasing number
of companies attempting to create extra revenue streams through proprietary
solutions, e.g. Ximian, VA Software, and Caldera.

I believe that the key question is not whether business can be based upon
GPL, but rather, given GPL's uncooperative nature, whether such business can
sustain an entire software industry, and if not, whether it at least can
maintain a sustainable equilibrium with the rest of the industry.

Foreseeing the, often subtle, cause-effect relationships that are significant
to this question is difficult, so we must also consider whether GPL allow
businesses sufficient manoeuvrabiliity to succeed.