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Re: Free code versus costs to make it

+++ Tarmo Pikaro [2011-07-10 11:42 -0700]:
> However - me, as a developer / contributor, cannot work for free to make some
> package for debian.

You can. It cannot usually be your only work, but in fact many people do this. 

> Alternatives to solve this problem is to make some product based on debian
> and sell it, and some parts of that work distribute back to debian itself.
> (Whole work cannot be distributed, since company will loose it's competitivness
> and loose market to another company).

Not necessarily. Competitiveness is not only achieved by proprietary
control of software. And the network effects of wide adoption may be
much more effective in terms of getting developers paid (not just you,
but many developers).

> But I was wondering how you're working on debian - on some evening time ?

yes, primarily on software which interests me but is not directly
related to work, but sometimes work-related stuff as well. 

> or do you receive some money for improving debian and placing it into open
> source community ?

Yes, currently for Linaro on behalf of ARM, but previously for other
companies (Toby Churchill, Aleph One)

> I had also some ideas about using intermixture approach - like
> I'm writing closed source code and set it's price. (How much I think it costs
> and how much I've put hours into that work).
> Anyone can make same source code as I did by themselves, or buy my own source
> code "license" from me. In case if they buy source code from me - it reduces 
> my investment into source code, and eventually makes my source code open again 
> for public eyes.
> "Almost free" idea refers of starting with closed/propriatory code till it
> becomes open due to people are investing money to make it open source code.
> Now I'm also wondering whether I have reinvented some wheel which was invented
> already...

I'm not aware of anyone using exactly this model, probably largely
because it's almost equivalent to selling the service of writing
software, so usually people just do that. Your way allows you to keep
control of the licencing, so that you can open it up when you 'break
even', but it also gives you all the risk of not succeeding. Most
software authors find it easier to let someone else worry about the
risks and licencing. Some reasonable (and I suspect increasing)
fraction of them get to work on free code too. 

Principal hats:  Linaro, Emdebian, Wookware, Balloonboard, ARM

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