Subject: Re: Definition of an FSB
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 21:37:39 -0800

I like this a lot. 

O'Reilly is clearly in the FSB Cooperative category.  We rely on free
software for some of our revenue, we espouse the value of f/oss ideology
(though not exclusively), and we are very closely connected with the f/oss
community, with many of our employees being contributors to various
projects, and with the company actually having formally sponsored one or
more open source projects (a bunch of perl development, docbook, various
open source books, etc.)

I'm not sure I agree with the implied sequencing of the wording below the
categories.  I'd think that "strategic" was more committed than "revenue" in
the Reliance category, while Espouses/Disregards/Hostile is clearly a
declining scale.  And I think that part of/cooperates are hard to
distinguish.  But this is a matter of wording. The concept of a matrix is
clearly very useful, at least to my point, that f/oss advocates would
benefit from identifying the companies that depend on f/oss and getting them
on board more formally as supporters, as well as using them as models for
understanding business options.

On 10/30/02 12:30 AM, "Rich Bodo" <> wrote:

> I made a list of characteristics that Tim could have used to
> categorize FSB's:
> *Reliance* on Free Software:
>   Revenue
>   Strategic
>   None
> Connection with Free Software *ideology*:
>   Espouses
>   Disregards
>   Hostile
> Connection with Free Software *community*:
>   Part
>   Cooperates
>   None
> I think any combination of these could be used to define a useful
> category.  Tim already defined a bunch of them.  The three categories
> I am most interested I would call:
> 1) FSB Reliant
> Reliance: Revenue or Strategic
> Ideology: Any
> Community: Any
> 2) FSB Cooperative
> Reliance: Revenue
> Ideology: Espouses or Disregards
> Community: Part or Cooperates
> 3) FSB Representative
> Reliance: Revenue
> Ideology: Espouses
> Community: Part
> A business that is FSB-Representative is also therefore also FSB
> Cooperative and FSB-Reliant.  Google is FSB Reliant.  RedHat is FSB
> Representative.
> IMHO, the most important characteristic, and the hardest to nail down,
> is reliance.  I would say that any true FSB is reliant in some way on
> Free or Open Source Software.
> FSB: A commercial enterprise which depends on the use of free or open
> source software for substantial monetary or strategic gain.
> OSB: See FSB.
> -Rich
> Rich Bodo | | 650-964-4678

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472