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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Free software jobs

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Free software jobs
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 07:42:00 +0000

"Jon Grant" <address@hidden> wrote:
> On 11/01/2008, MJ Ray <address@hidden> wrote: [...]
> > Other than that, it's a case of working for yourself and building a
> > free software business in competition with existing proprietary
> > suppliers, which is what I'm doing as part of a cooperative.
> Do you find this quite a successful venture?

Quite.  Not successful enough for my liking yet (we still need more
revenue to do everything that we want to do with the business), but
that's not anything to do with the copyright licensing.  Mostly it's
due to real life events impacting on a small business - and the odd
mistake^Wunexpected learning experience. ;-)

> I myself work with GNU+Linux, but typically clients wish to keep
> software developed closed.. although if a product containing GPL
> software is only rented or leased to consumers by a client, do they
> have to offer them source code anyway? They may only have the product
> for a few weeks/months.

Yes, I think so.

Most of our software ships as source anyway (Scheme, Perl, PHP, SQL,
XSL, XML and so on) and our clients are happy to keep the software
they pay us to develop open, for a range of practical, ethical,
political and even sometimes religious reasons.  Usually, this
includes agreeing to either send it upstream, or one of us publish it
soon.  One problem I've found is that it's harder to track and
document contributions than I thought.  I think git and DOAP will
help, but I've still work to do and it's an overhead.

But if clients aren't sharers, it may be harder to work with them
cooperatively.  This is a business problem, but it's wider than free
software.  It's disappointed me that some organisations are scared to
let others know what they are using - I think it's fear of criticism
that might reach budget managers' ears, but I could be wrong.

Hope that helps,
MJ Ray http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html tel:+44-844-4437-237 -
Webmaster-developer, statistician, sysadmin, online shop builder,
consumer and workers co-operative member http://www.ttllp.co.uk/ -
Writing on koha, debian, sat TV, Kewstoke http://mjr.towers.org.uk/

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