Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: "Forrest J. Cavalier III" <>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 10:32:47 -0400 (EDT)

Tim O'Reilly wrote, in part:
> By your definition.  I consider the fact that Yahoo!, Amazon, google, and a
> host of ISPs DON'T consider themselves FSBs to be a MAJOR failure of the
> free software and open source movement.  Because they don't think of

Webster's has a number of definitions at "business." One I like
(Leave it to Beaver, anyone?) is:
   "a damaging assault, or a hard time"

Certainly publishing and distributing free software as a means
to generate revenue is a hard time.   :-)

Attempts at humor aside, there probably would be fewer calls for
disqualified FSB examples if this list were "fsba@crynwr" for
"free software business activities."

But it turns out that "business activity" IS one of the Webster
definitions of "business" and clearly does not mean an entire
"enterprise."  (Webster's needed to use "enterprise" in a
separate clause defining the meaning of business.)  We don't
have to change the name of the list.

Any definition is going to exclude some and include others.
This is good, if you are trying to benchmark yourself and
find good examples to follow.  I don't know the audience
for the original poster's article.  A definition of FSB
is appropriate for them, and the article should be written
with that in mind.

We don't have to settle on definitions for this list. 

If the list admits an inclusive definition (even including consumers like
ISPs) I don't think we will be overwhelmed.  For example, plain
consumers of software may have good business models, but they are not
interesting enough in the context of this list to dominate any
discussion here (unless it is to the extent that Free software is
a "good thing" which enables such businesses.)