Subject: Re: Cygnus and proprietary software
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen)
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 14:47:16 -0500 (EST)

On Tue, 23 Dec 1997, Brian Bartholomew wrote:
> 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.

If I understand correctly, fsb -- and cygnus -- were founded in hopes that
non-proprietary software was viable in a non-social-agenda-driven setting,
and that people who just wanted to make money by writing software could do
it as efficiently with freed software as with proprietary software.

I'm not convinced that this hope is lost, but I'm biased.  You seem to
think so.

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

On this subject, you might be interested in the (non-libre) Project Magic,
at http://www.operasoftware.com/alt_os.html.

Also, you might look at
http://gentle.dyn.ml.org/contribution-auction.html, which has a sort of a
toy implementation in http://gentle.dyn.ml.org/contribution-auction.cgi.

> 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.

You cite Cygnus as an example.  However, Perl is also available under the
GPL, but Larry Wall certainly does not subscribe to the FSF Motive of
wiping out all proprietary software by writing free software to replace it
and then encouraging everyone to use it; the same is certainly true of
Linux -- which is, unlike Perl, available *only* under the GPL.  Do you
think a lot of people are tweaked off at Larry Wall and Linus Torvalds
because of this?

Kragen