IPL as a burden

Manfred Schmid mschmid at intradat.com
Mon Jan 15 23:32:36 UTC 2001

Hi Brian

> You seem to labor under a very strange idea. That idea is that open
> source developers are "not paid." Exactly where did this idea come from?
> Every open source developer i know is quite well compensated and
> generally gets paid a certain amount of their time to work exclusively
> on their open source projects of their choice. Any consulting group will
> set aside research and development costs to further their code base.
> This is one of the persistent myths that non open source companies have
> about the open source software movement ie the developers are largely
> college students who are not paid. All the open source developers I know
> are highly compensated professionals. Programming skills are rare and
> highly prized. I doubt very much that there are legions of unpaid
> starving programmers out there.

The Open Source Movement is getting more and more commercial and is has
to be to remain successful. Economics have their own dynamics. 

I do agree with you, that programmers do not starve in todays world but
a lot of Open Source work is done by "normal" people, who are not being
compensated by anybody for their contributions.

I do agree that all the star Open Source developers are being paid
pretty well by somebody. Economically, this "somebody" calculates
indirect profit by enhancing the knowledge base, building up credibility
or whatever. If this somebody wants to donate something, fine as well,
but you cannot build an industry on donations.

The current structure will not scale, since the ecoonomics are not
clear. Do you think, any consulting group or other commercial entity
would feel bad, if they had income from Open Source contributions?

> Actually what you are stating here is categorically false. Charging
> licence fees is not the only way to make money on your software. I know
> what I am talking about as I was the CEO of a open source software
> company for three years before my company's acquisition be VA. Our
> software was/is licensed under the GPL and we sold the software neatly
> packaged and also built a very lucratative consulting business around
> it. Our software is an e-commerce product and was/is sold at the highest
> levels of the enterprise. As everyone on this list knows you cannot
> require license fees and claim your product is open source. 

As of today, I do not know of Open Source Software, that asks for
License Fees. We are the first (to my knowledge) to do so and I think
that we will not be the only ones. Our customers did not mind to pay
fees for VShop 2.x (closed source) and I do not see any reason why they
should mind to pay fees for VShop3 since we are providing added value.

To me, the spirit of Open Source is the availablity of the source and a
set of freedoms and rights provided along with the source to guarantee
better software and solutions. When looking at
http://www.opensource.org/osd.html I do see no point stating "You must
not claim license fees for an Open Source product"

Manfred Schmid


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