Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Mon, 04 Nov 2002 17:35:32 +0900

>>>>> "Tim" == Tim O'Reilly <> writes:

    Tim> I don't disagree with "contributing" as a key requirement of
    Tim> defining an FSB.  But let me ask you this, how do you define
    Tim> "contribute"?

If one thinks it's a contribution, then it's a contribution.  It's
only useful if accepted by the project/community, of course.  So I
think FSBs need to make "useful" contributions, but otherwise no need
to define.  (The "/community" is intended to ensure that, eg, XEmacs
is considered a contribution by Lucid, even though it was rejected by
the GNU Emacs project.)

    Tim> There are a lot of people who consider themselves
    Tim> "contributors" on an individual basis who simply supply bug
    Tim> fixes.  Does the contribution have to be of a scale
    Tim> commensurate with the size of the organization?  Does it mean
    Tim> that an organization has to contribute *every* fix and
    Tim> extension?

No, and no.  But contributing has to be essential to its strategic

I realize this looks like a contradiction to my "purist" position on
definition of "FSB", but I don't think it really is.  I've always been
perfectly happy with defining a "line of business" within a single
firm to be an FSB.  What I've been looking for is a way to make sure
that the definition requires a company to be committed to FS beyond
the effectiveness of a particular piece of software for the company.

    Tim> I have no problem with a company making a strategic decision
    Tim> to keep some of the fruits of its intellectual labor for its
    Tim> own advantage.  *I just want companies not to keep _all_ of
    Tim> those fruits.*

Even Microsoft is on the "right" side of "all", Tim!  ;-)

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.