Subject: Re: Cygnus and proprietary software
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 20 Dec 1997 22:26:55 -0000

Brian Bartholomew writes:
 > 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.

There was a time when I was making more than that from developing
packet drivers.  For the sake of truth, $36K of the amount above your
$50K was from proprietary software.  And, some of it is for support of
software that I have written, which I consider to be a long-term
payment for development.  For evidence that I am telling the truth,
you need merely look at:

While we have a mortgage on the new house, it's only for $140,000,
whereas by our computations, we paid $250,000 for the house, land,
well, and road.  So we're already a long ways toward owning the second
house in full.  Our net worth has increased substantially every year
of business (no thanks to my skill as a businessman).

In case anyone wishes to reproduce my success, it was mostly that I
was lucky enough to be smack dab in the confluence of two forces --
the increase in LAN installations (Novell), and the increase in WAN
installations (TCP/IP).  Since there was only one way to use both at
the same time, every manufacturer had to have a packet driver.

While the halcyon days of packet drivers are over, I'm still making a
living mostly off freed software.

-russ <>  | Freedom is the
Crynwr Software supports freed software | PGPok |   primary cause of peace.
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315 268 1925 voice | Obedient, Christian, statist:
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   |    you only get to pick two.