Subject: Re: Cygnus and proprietary software
From: Brian Bartholomew <bb@wv.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 13:36:52 -0500

> Put on your business hat and explain what you want to achieve as a
> business model, rather than your user hat under which you offer
> concepts that you personally would like to have in software that you
> use.

Great idea!  I am pushing a social agenda.  If I wasn't pushing a
social agenda I would just write proprietary software that ships in
binary and be done with it.  That is a profitable, solved problem that
wouldn't benefit from discussion on fsb.

My social agenda is:

	Computer automation of design and nanotech/biotech duplication
	of material objects brings end of scarcity (insert your
	favorite _Wired_ article here).  Proof: The stampede towards
	digitization is well established today.  People bypass copy
	protection when they can.  Extrapolate.

	No artificial scarcity of things that may be cheaply
	duplicated with digital copies.

	Encourage digital copies to raise society's standard of living.

	Increase user control over software and destiny.

My business agenda is:

	In the future, more things will be copyable and copied, so I
	will have to learn how to make a living in that environment
	anyway.  Better to start now.

	Encourage propagation of digital copies, to lower per-copy
	price by spreading development costs over more users.

	Ensure purchase price of software is strongly related to cost
	to develop.  No more boom/bust profit margins.

	Promote the above and make a decent living writing software.


My social agenda conflicts with short-term business values, but I
believe long-term business values will be forced to conform to my
social agenda.  I want a compromise for the near term that works
towards all my goals.  You may consider my motivation to be the desire
to participate in the next great leap in productivity after the
industrial revolution.

As for the libre-doesn't-imply-FSF-agenda point, I think using the GPL
for non-FSF motives is misleading and will eventually backfire.  A lot
of people who see the GPL assume FSF motives, and will become very
tweaked off and feel exploited if they learn otherwise.  My own
attitude towards Cygnus has changed radically in the past two weeks,
and now I view them as just another proprietary software company.  A
great deal of goodwill has been lost.


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