Subject: Re: Cygnus and proprietary software
From: "Joel N. Weber II" <>
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 04:18:45 -0500 (EST)

   The proprietary approach simply makes more money.  As a company grows
   and gains new stakeholders from the market, the new stakeholders'
   priorities are not about preaching a philosophy, but about making a
   return on investment.  I feel a lapse into proprietariness is
   inevitable for any free software company.  This will remain true until
   making free software is as profitable as making proprietary software.

I suppose that might change if making software free were cheaper.  In
theory at least, Cygnus has saved money on gcc because Cygnus could start
with a compiler that worked that they didn't have to pay for, rather than
start from scratch.

Someone in the BSD community claimed that a device driver is more likely to
be shared between the BSD community and the Linux community if it originates
in the BSD community, because the Linux community will gpl their drivers
in most cases, and the bsd community wants to allow proprietary derivatives.

I've often wondered whether most of the money cygnus has for free software
ultimately comes from the sale of proprietary software.  I bet a lot of
the people who buy support from cygnus use gcc to produce proprietary

and this would suggest that perhaps the best way to make money for writing
free software is indeed proprietary software.  if i spend 10% of my time
writing proprietary software, and 90% writing free software, there will
be more free software than if I spend most of my time doing some minimum
wage job, and what little is left writing free software.