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Re: [ba-ohs-talk] Bootstrap and Licensing

Another interesting article about open source concerning Red Hat:    (01)

Open Source: [Red Hat] the Next Dot Com Bubble Burst?
< http://www.embedded.com/story/OEG20020429S0060 >    (02)

"Look at the numbers. Red Hat has reported only a single year of
profitability, in 1996 when the company made a half million dollars.
Since then its losses have increased every year. In 2001 the company
lost $87m on $81m in sales. The 2002 fiscal year was much worse,
resulting in a loss of $140m on $79m in sales. The stock reached a high
of $150/share in 2000 but lately hovers around $6." ...    (03)

... "The open-source business model is really fascinating. Lest one
think it's an idealistic notion consider this quote from Red Hat's web
site: "While it is true that Open Source software code is free, taking
advantage of its benefits requires a significant investment." That
sounds like a good business proposition, a nice way to make money from a
free product.    (04)

But the numbers, at least for the biggest of open source companies,
suggest otherwise." ...    (05)

Reader Feedback
... "In an alternative case of open source, there is Jean LaBrosse's
uCOS operating system, which I have used successfully. I presume that
LaBrosse is realizing a respectable profit from uCOS, although it comes
from his classes, writings, and book sales, rather than from sale of the
code itself. Embedded Linux vendors who manage to emulate LaBrosse's
operations model, not just the open source business model, may be
successful." ...    (06)

Author's Comment
"Can't wait to see the fanatical responses from the religous zealots
grasping their sixties' "free-love" philosophies!!! Peace man! Groovy.
Like, why doesn't socialism work man? Can you dig it?"    (07)

Eric Armstrong wrote:    (08)

> James Michael DuPont wrote:
> > ...Look at mp3.com
> > that uses linux/php/apache to run a non-free service.
> Interestingly, the issue of funding the folks who develop
> the OHS tool set is still open. Here's why:
> * Foks who do for-profit fundiing won't be interested in
>    funding the software that prospective competition can
>    use to get into the business.
> * The outfit that uses the OHS, therefore, will depend for
>    competetive advantage on the amount of data they have
>    amassed, and the "snowball effect" derived from having
>    a lot of users on board before any competition shows up.
> * That outfit's expenses will therefore need to be heavily
>    devoted to amassing data, attracting users, and
>    providing whatever services or facilities it needs to
>    provide to keep them interested.
> Mp3.com may be good example of a funded, profitable
> company that uses open software. But I wonder:
>   * How much time and effort they spend on improving
>      the open source.
>   * How profitable they are.
>   * How much funding they were able to attract.
> (I ask these questions in all ignorance. The answers will
> help to determine how realistic a model this may be.
> However, even with the *best* answers, I think they
> would have found it impossible to attract any funding
> whatever, had their goal been to develop linux or apache
> in order to establish their business.)
> As we have observed in the past, open source tends to
> do well when it consists of incremental modifications to
> an existing system, but not for developing new systems.
> I expect that is entirely do, once again, to the chicken and
> egg problem: We don't have the online collaboration tools
> we need to collaborate remotely on the design of an
> online remote collaboration system!
> Existing messaging systems support high level thinking and
> strategizing like this, but they quickly bog down when we
> attempt to sort out the details.    (09)