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Free Software Philosophy (was RE: Time to make a stand. (Was: Re: IBM 390))

I don't know if this is the right place to discuss this, but the discussion
started here so it might as well continue here.

Marcus Brinkman said amongst other things:

> I think in the long run, software compaines need to reorganize.
> They have to
> move from development to support. They have to move from software to
> hardware development ((this is why I am scared about winmodems etc, those
> compaines will loose)). They need to ortganize in international standard
> commitees. This will be cheaper for everyone, too. It needs more social
> competence and energy, though.
> However, companies will be disappointed by Open Source when they realize
> that Open Source buys them nothing, if they don't show the necessary mind
> share. Getting money of it should be secondary.


I disagree that getting money should be secondary. I think that it must be
an integral part of the deal.


I can only talk about myself here, but I develop software, I have started up
my own company with a friend, so we have full mind share in what we do, and
the satisfaction is boundless.

Now we eat, pay the rent, etc by SELLING what we do. We always hand over the
source code on what we do, with the proviso that any mods to the customers
copy invalidates any warranty, because we know that it would take more time
and money for the customer to understand our code and change it than to hire
us to do it for them. I think this is what open source is all about, not
PUBLIC DOMAIN. I would love to get my teeth into some Debian enhancements,
not just customer driven requirements, but at the moment I am running as
fast as I can just to keep up with my customers!!!!!!

If we start looking at the wider (wilder?) world of something the size of
Linux, then it must be a multiperson endeavour, coding, testing, debugging,
and, very importantly, using. Mind share must be given to all involved, but
if you're like me then you need some recompense to come as well (I need to
eat at least once every week or so!!!). I think in the long run software
development should embrace the Open Source ethic, but still be lucrative.
For example, I have tendered for a couple of Intranet projects where I have
QUOTED a Debian 2.1 server configured for web, mail, dns, diald, samba, etc.
I have informed the customers that I am using software that is freely
downloadable from the net, and that I am not charging them for that, but I
AM charging them for knowing how to do it, and actually doing it as well. I
also charged an additional item, "Donation to Debian", to support the Debian
group (not opional as far as I am concerned).

So as you see, I am developing software, selling software, and earning
money. I have an easy concience as I feel that I am complying with the
rules, but my prime objective is making money, I give money to the butcher
for meat, he gives money to the farmer for livestock, the farmer gives money
to the fertilizer company, the fertilizer company gives me money for the
software I write. We all win (eventually). As my grandmother used to say,
"money was made round to go round"

In conclusion, I don't think that getting money should be secondary. I think
that most people really want to make money, but I think the ethic has to
change, mind share has to be given, people have to feel satisfied, we have
to help each other, it's all swings and roundabouts at the end of the day.

| Simon Martin      | "By definition, all software is faulty. |
| Project Manager   |  It is just a mere coincidence if it    |
| Isys              |  ever seems to work" ;-)                |
mailto: smartin@isys.cl

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