Subject: Re: New FSB branding model
From: Tom Lord <lord@regexps.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002 16:44:02 -0700 (PDT)


	Forrest:

	Big holes to this branding strategy anyone?  Anyone ever try
	something like this before?

For a while, I was selling "Open Source License affirmation documents"
and "Open Source Differential Licesences" for software whose copyright
I hold, which is quite similar to your model.

The biggest difference is the "differential" part -- I would sell
someone a copy under (essentially) BSD terms that I only distributed 
publicly under (L)GPL.  So it wasn't purely "affirmation".

Yes, I made a little bit of money at that -- but not enough.  Partly
that was because the software in question is obscure enough not to be
noticed by many people who could use it.  Partly it was because
corporations are not mature enough to be attentive to such models.

Suppose that corporations were behaviorally "mature".  Then
affirmations and differentials would be unnecessary -- corps would pay
simply because it is valuable to them to provide positive feedback of
an economic nature.  They would "make friends", partly by giving
monetary gifts.  I could release all my code to the public domain and
still get paid handsomely.

Oddly enough, I think we're starting to reach that level of corporate
maturity.  It happens in special cases (e.g. Mark Mitchell's recent
"GCC maintainer" contract with HP).  Hopefully it will soon be a
regular part of the beaurocracy.  Personally, I like a world in which
senior engineers at big corps have low-limit credit cards which they
are expected to use to make monthly gifts to Free Software creators,
and executive engineering types have larger checking accounts for the
same purpose.

Now, is there still some value in a technical mechanism to track and
affirm the copyright status of free software?  Surely there is,
especially if the third party issuing the affirmations takes only an
agent's cut, using the rest to reward creators (and thus "promoting
progress of the arts and sciences").  Three parties in such a
transaction and it's "win, win, and win".

-t

	Tom Lord
	lord@regexps.com, lord@emf.net
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