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Re: FSF : lackeys of their corporate masters

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: FSF : lackeys of their corporate masters
Date: Thu, 6 May 2004 18:20:32 +0200

On 06 May 2004 17:18:02 +0200
David Kastrup <> wrote:

> Stefaan A Eeckels <> writes:
> > Before it can be re-produced, it has to be produced :-).
> Same thing.

But notice the deftness of expression (and the smiley :-)

> > But the original production requires an investment, and the investor
> > needs to be reasonably confident that the investment can be recouped
> > (or have independent means of subsistence, but that's another
> > debate).  Either the investment can be recouped by the sale of the
> > original item, or it needs to be spread over the sale of a number of
> > copies. In the latter case, if not enough revenue can be derived
> > from the sale of copies (because someone else makes and sells them),
> > then it might not be economically possible to produce the original.
> But somebody else can't make and sell what has not been produced in
> the first place.  If you think that enough interest in the market
> exists, set up a subscription model.  Blender 3D was GPLed after
> something like 100000EUR were pooled for that.

That's true. Counterfeiting wouldn't exist without the originals.
Then again, the creators of the original were motivated by the
possibility to recoup their investment and make a profit. 

Let's be realistic. If I have to devote substantial
resources to producing a piece of software, I need
a measure of confidence in my ability to recoup my
investment if the software turns out to be a success.
Ideally, not only do I want to recoup my investment,
I'd also like to make a profit, so that I can invest
it into producing more software, and absorb the cost of
products that are flops. The Blender subscription
worked because it was a genuinely useful product with
a loyal user base, and it served to compensate the original
developers for their efforts (NaN folded because even though
enjoying a measure of success, Blender didn't generate the
revenue needed to sustain their business). They would not
have been able to finance the original production through
a subscription (remember how Opera struggled to convince
people to part with cash for vapourware ports of their

Somewhere, sometime, somebody needs to be able to produce
the originals that will be reproduced. During the production
process they will need to sustain themselves and their
families, and failing that, they will not produce the 
originals. If they _know_ that their investment cannot be
recouped, the time and resources they can devote to the
project will be limited. If a composer has to play the
fiddle to survive, he will not be able to compose whilst
he's fiddling, meaning that he will compose less than 
if he could live by selling copies of his compositions.
It's as simple as that.

> According to your logic, companies like RedHat should be dead,
> because they produce only reproducible stuff.

First, this isn't true. I don't know RedHat, but I do know
SuSE and they add non-GPLed stuff such as YaST to their 
distribution, so that the cheapskates from CheapBytes cannot
reproduce the complete package. In addition, the booklets,
sleeves and other material _are_ copyrighted, and cannot be
reproduced. If some entrepreneurial type in a cheap-wage
country would counterfeit the complete package, SuSE might
well be driven into insolvency, and because the counterfeiter
doesn't have the wherewithal to continue the development of
the distribution, it would disappear. 

"What is stated clearly conceives easily."  -- Inspired sales droid

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