On working with free software
agger at modspil.dk
agger at modspil.dk
Wed Jan 25 16:06:00 UTC 2017
Thanks for your response?
>> ... may only deliver software under an OSI-approved
>> license, practically speaking either GPL or LGPL version 3 or Mozilla
>> Public License version 2.
> I'm wondering about your long-term monetization . I presume that
> you're charging fee for your software.
We're not charging fees for our software, i.e. not as such. A customer
will approach us and want us to develop some product - which could range
from a complex GUI-based custom application to a simple web site in
Plone and Drupal, and we'll make them an offer and charge them by the
hour. A typical offer might, from our perspective, be "450 hours' work".
In that sense, the software is gratis, but our work is not.
If other customers want the same application, once we made it for the
first one, we would make them an offer for installation + customizations
to fit their own processes, and that might be e.g. 80 hours or even
less, since the first customer already paid for the bulk of
This does not disadvantage the original customer in any way, since the
new project is likely to lead to new features as well as bug fixes which
they can get as part of their support contract.
> Let's say that you deliver
> under MPL 2.0. Are you not concerned/afraid that your competitor might
> lap it up, use it in their own product and put you out-of-business?
> Since it is MPL 2, your competitor needn't disclose their source code.
First of all, MPL 2.0 is copyleft on a per-file basis. I.e., changes to
our source files would have to be shared with the customer. In any case,
even if the software was GPL, the competitor would never be required to
share the source code *with us* - the requirement only applies to
whoever they deliver their software to.
Secondly, many of our products are complex and require considerable
domain knowledge, which makes it an expensive proposition; indeed, if
another vendor would like to continue work on one of our products, the
most logical thing for them would be to ask us about the how and why of
various settings and choices. For that, of course, we would (happily)
charge them by the hour.
Thirdly, if one of our competitors were to continue work on one of our
products, they'd likely have to fix bugs and stress test it in various
ways, and that would normally be an advantage for us. And their product
would in all likelihood also be free software, and in that case they'd
improve the quantity of software available for our customers, hereby
also improving our reputation and our chances of selling *new* systems.
So no, even though I can see where you come from, it's never been a
problem. Also note that our software is normally specialized and thus
not "commodity" software. But I don't know if that actually makes a huge
difference. We'd gladly develop and support a commodity program if
someone were to pay us for doing that.
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