Subject: Re: The Pledge model -- K5 generates 6 mos income in three days
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: 27 Jun 2002 12:21:23 +0900

>>>>> "John" == John Morhous <Morhous> writes:

    John> But from a BUSINESS perspective, I have yet to see a good
    John> open source model that justifies a solid reason for giving
    John> away software for nothing.

You picked up Emacs from ftp.ai.mit.edu and built Energize around it?
Giving away your Emacs improvements Isn't Just A Good Idea, It's The
Law.  ;-)

The Stallman Insight, quickly recognize by *BSD, is that
reimplementation is (relatively to new development) very easy.  

If you add the quantifier, so your statement reads "_all_ your
software", you are probably right.  And _some_ software (RSA comes to
mind) is sufficiently hard to reimplement from the spec (Diffie-
Hellman IIRC) that making it proprietary always makes business sense.

But in many cases it makes sense to abandon the idea that "we can do
everything better", contribute the easily reimplementable software to
open source, and focus on your "core competence", ie software that is
either itself hard to reimplement, or requires substantial collateral
services that you have comparative advantage in providing.  Use
copyleft (or perhaps, a non-free license like APSL) to grab access to
commercially viable improvements.

Most people on this list won't admit such a business as an anointed
FSB, of course.  But (the relevant portion of) the product is still
just as free as if it came directly from the Holy GNU.

-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
 My nostalgia for Icon makes me forget about any of the bad things.  I don't
have much nostalgia for Perl, so its faults I remember.  Scott Gilbert c.l.py