Subject: Re: Cygnus and proprietary software
From: Brian Bartholomew <bb@wv.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 15:41:59 -0500

> I think that proprietary software from the same sized company tends
> to face stiffer resistance to adoption.

Adoption by who?  Home hobbiests?  Or large software companies?  In
the beginning, tools must be free to sneak in the back door of large
shops.  Now that Cygnus has a market, they can lock customers in by
weaving proprietary programs into their mix in a manner that the free
programs are strongly degraded or dysfunctional without them.

> Let me also speculate a bit in favor of Cygnus with regard to free
> software.  Cygnus is hosting the egcs project and there are a lot of
> Cygnus people invovled with it (see http://www.cygnus.com/egcs).
> That is a major release of free software as recently as 15 days ago.
> I also see recent snapshots or official releases of
> Cygnus-originated free software, such as dejagnu, gnats and
> automake.  Perhaps an outright majority of all of the mail that I
> get back when I send in patches or bug reports to the appropriate
> gnu mailing lists are from Cygnus people.  These are not the actions
> of a company that has abandoned free software.

Perhaps, but I don't trust them anymore.  Programs of the sort that
attract free labor from the net and require lots of R&D may be free,
but the attractive, marketable, useful bits will be proprietary.  The
really successful programs, the ones that are good enough to pay money
for, will be denied to me.  The free software community can have all
the rejects, false starts, propellerhead projects, and free staff
training it wants, while volunteering all the back-office basic
research.  If Cygnus were truly a free software company, the cream
would be free, too.  I feel Cygnus used to release the cream for free,
but they don't any longer.


Another member of the League for Programming Freedom (LPF) www.lpf.org
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Brian Bartholomew - bb@wv.com - www.wv.com - Working Version, Cambridge, MA