Subject: R&D Fundraising Business Models
From: Tom Lord <lord@regexps.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 19:40:47 -0700 (PDT)



Here's an update about arch and the regexps.com [regexps.com]
fundraising effort.

A few days ago, I released a GPL'ed package (the monkey directory
editor for Emacs) as a fundraiser: rather than post the source or put
up a tar bundle or repository, I've been charging people money to send
them the source.

To my surprise, that actually worked a little bit. Some people bought
copies. Great!

Today I'm trying a new variation: I've mailed out (to the
gnu-emacs-sources mailing list) the source for the previous version of
monkey, and now I'm offering to sell (still GPL) distributions that
have some new features. We'll see.

If all of this works out, one idea I'm considering is to make all of
my source available in the usual way (tar bundles, revision control
repositories), but to rate-limit traffic from ".com" domains and sell
FTP accounts. I think this model can be adopted by many projects, if
it works, and that it won't cause any serious problems for hackers
sharing code with one another (they just might want to use a
non-".com" address for anonymous transfers).

This "service differential for source code" model isn't perfect by
some standards. It doesn't force users to pay and it doesn't force
customers to spend their money wisely. On the other hand, this model
reminds users to pay and implements a well-defined service that they
can pay for.

If you like the idea of this model -- that's another reason to support
the current fundraiser! Perhaps we can bootstrap a whole new kind of
Free Software Business Model.

-t