Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: Rich Morin <>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 14:08:13 -0700

At 4:25 PM -0400 9/19/02, Adam Turoff wrote:
>>    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[*].

First, let's broaden the discussion to include firms which have an active
Open Source component to their business.  IBM, for instance, has so many
irons in the fire that NO single activity defines the company.

If free software is strategically important (e.g., OpenOffice for Sun),
enables critical products (eg, Darwin for Apple) or forms the basis for a
set of services (e.g., Linux for IBM), the company can be considered to be
a "player" in the FSB arena.

>>    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.).

What is the essential difference between Tim's publishing a Linux book
that includes a Linux CD and RedHat publishing a Linux CD distribution
that includes a Linux book?  When Tim runs a conference (possibly at a
loss), is this less a part of the community than a USENIX event would be?

If we get too picky with our definitions, we may find that the only
businesses that make real money off Free Software aren't actually FSBs!

email:; phone: +1 650-873-7841    - my home page, resume, etc.   - The FreeBSD Browser, Meta Project, etc. - Prime Time Freeware's DOSSIER series     - Prime Time Freeware's Darwin Collection