[License-discuss] Open Source Eventually License Development

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Thu Aug 15 13:54:38 UTC 2013

It is difficult to sustain a major release cycle of 6 months and have any significantly new capabilities at each release cycle.  Easier at the beginning as you're ramping up but once you have a mature product it strikes me as incremental.  The low hanging fruit has been built, new capabilities will require more baking.  Your time expectations seem out of whack.  Id's 5 year cycle seems much more representative.

In any case, unless the cost is trivial I'd likely just wait 9 months and stay one rev back for free which is Mr Moglen's point.  And you better be giving me a stable version X.0.1 with bug fixes for free whatever else you do.

You make the sale to me because you have a time release and your close competitors don't. All else being more or less equal I'll buy your product because I like the concept. Not because I'm going to sign up to pay for what your competitors give me for free.  I bought pixelmator a while back for $40 back on rev 1.4 or something.  They're at rev 2.2 four years later and I still get free updates via the app store.  That's what I expect from a software product these days.

With regards to a FOSS drug database the software itself strikes me as mostly straightforward.  It's the data that is of great value.  You could easily open source the software and sell a subscription to database updates.

From: fred trotter <fred.trotter at gmail.com<mailto:fred.trotter at gmail.com>>
Reply-To: License Discuss <license-discuss at opensource.org<mailto:license-discuss at opensource.org>>
Date: Thursday, August 15, 2013 3:52 AM
To: Eben Moglen <moglen at softwarefreedom.org<mailto:moglen at softwarefreedom.org>>, License Discuss <license-discuss at opensource.org<mailto:license-discuss at opensource.org>>
Subject: Re: [License-discuss] Open Source Eventually License Development

This clearing price is too small to be profitable except at very high
volumes or in other extraordinary circumstances.

These extraordinary circumstances are fairly easy to contrive.
For instance, the current natural rhythm of software development is something like

1. Release stable version X.0
2. Create new version X.1 with lots of new untested and unstable features
3. Test, Release, Repeat as needed, incrementing minor versions
4. Stable version incremented. X+1.0 is released

Most users hop from stable version to stable version, which which keeps switching costs very low, and making your economic assessment correct. But under a time delay model you might shift to a development cycle like so.

1. Release version X for sale under a 9 month timer
2. Release version X.1 under a FLOSS license, totally unstable but presently Libre
3. Test, Release, Repeat as needed incrementing minor versions for 6 months
4. Release version X+1 for sale under a 9 month timer. There is no stable version available under FLOSS, but there are two stable versions under a timer.
5. Users must choose between a purchasing a stable version that will be Libre in 3 months or paying the same thing for an improved version that will be Libre in 9 months.

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