OSI enforcement?

Donovan Hawkins hawkins at cephira.com
Wed Jan 9 15:40:04 UTC 2008

On Wed, 9 Jan 2008, Rick Moen wrote:

> Quoting John Cowan (cowan at ccil.org):
> [gcc binary RPM in RHEL5 Update 1 Server Edition:]
>> I haven't actually verified this, but I strongly suspect that the
>> self-same bucket of bits is available at centos.org.
> That would be a rather similar pile of bits (and functionally equivalent
> for practical purposes), but compiled independently on a slightly
> different build system.

The original question is whether you can make money selling it, and having 
an independently compiled version available freely makes that difficult if 
not impossible. Red Hat is selling subscriptions to their support system 
and confidence in their reputation. The distinction is that their pricing 
has to be based on what is competitive for tech support from a company of 
their prestige, independent of the cost/value of the underlying software. 
Offer no tech support or value-adds and your pricing has to be 
competitive with free.

At that point you are relying on the kindness of people willing to pay you 
anyways or the stupidity of people who can't find a free version. As you 
point out the legality is different for shareware, so I'll modify my 
earlier statement: that's *worse* than the shareware model, since there's 
not even a legal requirement to pay.

Donovan Hawkins, PhD                 "The study of physics will always be
Software Engineer                     safer than biology, for while the
hawkins at cephira.com                   hazards of physics drop off as 1/r^2,
http://www.cephira.com                biological ones grow exponentially."

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