Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: Adam Turoff <>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 16:25:55 -0400

On Thu, Sep 19, 2002 at 12:40:11PM -0700, Rich Morin wrote:
> At 9:10 AM -0400 9/19/02, Adam Turoff wrote:
> >My short list of FSBs (incomplete):
> >	Aladdin
> >	...
> Although you're welcome to make your own classification scheme, it
> seems peculiar to leave out firms who are contributing directly to
> the success of the Open Source community:

I said the list was incomplete.  ;-)

>   ActiveState (Perl for Windoze, etc.)

I agree with Brian that ActiveState doesn't really fit the FSB
model, even though we haven't defined what it is.

ActiveState is a tool vendor who happens to focus on open source
programming languages.  In a sense, ActiveState is about as open
source as Borland or Metrowerks were when they sold tools for C
and C++ development.  At one point, ActiveState was deeply involved
with Perl core development, but that was years ago.  ActiveState
has a liberal licensing policy where many of their products are
available free-of-charge, sometimes with source code, but they
always come with encumbered licenses that fail to meet the OSI

Can theKompany be considered an FSB?  Some of their projects are
open source, some are proprietary, and at least one (Kivio) is a
hybrid: open source core, with proprietary add-ons.

>   Apple (Darwin, FreeBSD spin-offs)
>   IBM (Linux distribution and support)

Apple, IBM and Sun seem to fit the Disney model to some degree; although
they may sponsor open source projects, very few people are retained on
those projects, and the vast majority of income comes from non-software
or non-open source related activities.

To call Apple, Sun, etc. FSBs seems to imply that free/open source
software is a form of Ice-9[*].

>   O'Reilly (books, conferences, etc.)

I'll defer to Tim on this, but my gut feeling is that O'Reilly
isn't an FSB, but has a long standing free/open source bent on its
many offerings (print/online publication, conferences, etc.).


*: Ice-9: a fictional material described by Kurt Vonnegut in
   (I forget which novel, they all run together) that is a
   high-temperature crystaline form of water.  Introducing a small
   crystal of Ice-9 into a container/body of water instantly turns
   all of the water in the container/body into Ice-9.