Subject: Re: Cygnus and proprietary software
From: Brian Bartholomew <bb@wv.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 16:20:23 -0500

> The very fact that there are a bunch of free software companies and
> that people have been making their livings from the for years proves
> your statement patently false.

My statement is testable.  Do you agree this mailing list contains a
good sample of those people who are most likely to make their entire
living writing free software?  So a negative result here convinces you
of the truth of the result at large?

Can we see a show of hands from people who make the entirety of their
living by writing free software?  Temporarily writing free software
with an eye towards migrating it towards proprietary once a set of
solvent users becomes dependent on it doesn't count.  Exploiting the
strict letter of the GPL to reduce distribution and increase
proproprietariness, such as not putting it up for ftp, doesn't count.
Selling versions of it as proprietary doesn't count.  Supporting free
software doesn't count.  Somebody has to write it and the question is
can that writer make a living just from that writing.  Writing
proprietary software, doing consulting, or doing other jobs to make
ends meet to support a free software hobby doesn't count.

To count, the software has to be freely available from the first line
of code, be developed while freely available, and stay freely
available once it becomes useful to lots of users and a strong profit
motive exists to make it proprietary.  In the meantime the writer has
had to extract enough money from this process to make a reasonable
living.  Let's say $50K gross for the Boston area.


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