GNU Business Network Definition comments

Shane M. Coughlan shane at
Mon Jun 19 22:03:04 UTC 2006

Hash: SHA256

Georg C. F. Greve wrote:
>  smc> A company will want to know about Free Software development
>  smc> models (being those models used by Free Software development
>  smc> projects) so that they can access the practical value of
>  smc> adoption (be it partially or otherwise).
> Here I think you are again thinking too much along the lines of
> development. Not only is there no "Free Software development model"
> per se, as different development models work for proprietary and Free
> Software alike. I also think we are well-advised to not be overly
> distracted by the development of software.

On consideration I believe you are right.  I have been focusing too much
on development.

I agree with your comment that "it is the business model that later
drives development, not the other way round."  We should not limit the
discussion to development methodology.  It is therefore correct that
business models are a better area of consideration and discussion than
development models.

>  smc> In other words, freedom is the issue but we have to 'sell'
>  smc> freedom to companies.  They need to gets facts, figures and
>  smc> practical advice about how Free Software can help their
>  smc> development and deployment models today.  Inevitably this
>  smc> translates into questions about systems rather than ideas.  If
>  smc> we can provide the systems and inject the ideas we have won on
>  smc> both fronts; practical adoption and a greater awareness by the
>  smc> adopter of why freedom is important.
> I generally agree with this assessment.
> And yes, ideally the GNU Business Network will help to build Free
> Software business models, and translate proprietary models into Free
> Software based models.
> But I think it can only do this sustainably if we make sure that it
> generates an advantage for companies that are more oriented towards
> freedom already. Othwerwise the network may seem more attractive at
> first, and spread quicker, but will ultimately end up repeating the
> same mistake that was made with other attempts to promote Free
> Software in the business world -- which currently make life harder for
> genuine Free Software companies.

This is a valid point.

The GNU Business Network needs to encourage Free Software excellence.
While pro-actively encouraging interaction and participation it should
hold its members as examples of Free Software at its best.

There is certainly a fine line between inclusion and dilution.  Finding
a balance between attracting participation and maintaining principles is
not something to be undertaken hastily.  I believe the decision to take
the network slowly is wise.  We have seen Free (and Open Source)
initiatives appears in the past and fail due to lack of coherency and

A point was made earlier in this thread that the GBN should encourage
members to strive for Free Software best practice.  Perhaps this is the
area we should turn our collective intelligence to, and thereby make
additional headway in considering how engagement can foster
understanding and participation.


- --
Shane Martin Coughlan
e: shane at
m: +447773180107 (UK) +353862262570 (Ire)
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