valinux goes propietary?

Alex Hudson home at
Mon Aug 27 10:06:37 UTC 2001

On Mon, Aug 27, 2001 at 10:21:40AM +0200, joack at wrote:
> Is it really so worrying, VA's going proprietary?

I think so!! Foreseeable or not!

> VA as all the other Linux- Companies was an OpenSource business and while
> it worked it worked.

I'm not sure that all 'linux-companies' would be grateful being branded as
Open Source business. Although, I'm not really that sure it matters: I don't
see a huge difference between the business models of Open Source and Free
Software companies, and if it doesn't work for VA, then there will be others
it doesn't work for.

I see a big parallel between VA and Eazel. VA have now got out of the
hardware market, which is incredibly cut-throat, and also do some
consultancy, but apart from that, the two companies appear to have a
business model which pins hope on one major software product. With Eazel it
was Nautilus; with VA it's SourceForge. We know what happened to Eazel. Is
SourceForge really that good? Will people flock to it? I personally think
not. SourceForge, as a development tool/project management system, I think
is pretty poor. I don't see people leaving behind their Visual Studio with
SourceSafe integration to move over to CVS and some funky website. I just
don't see it. It's cool for OS/FS projects, where community people are able
to contribute with a low entry level, but commercial developers are people
who pay out thousands$$$ for tools like StarTeam, and SourceForge just
doesn't compare.

I think the idea of commercial Free software is the biggest problem Free
software faces in terms of corporate acceptance. It is possible to make
money from Free software, there are many examples. But, it is not possible
(IMO) to support the current software industry with Free software business
models, or anything close to the size of the current industry. I don't think
there will ever be a Free Software Microsoft, no matter what RedHat
detractors think. And that's what confuses people.

> promoting fs-ideals among programmers. And maybe now it's also 
> time to look at proper fs-companies like Alessandro Rubini's in Italy 
> (see
> commercial.viability.html).
            ^ should be - I think ;)

> I think we should see the positive side of this. fs was never about 
> business in the first place; OS is.

Exactly. And I think we should celebrate that fact.

I have to say, at the moment I almost hope VA go to the wall. Except, I'm
sure somehow ESR would be able to turn it around against Free Software....



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