Kelly Murray kem@Franz.COM
Thu, 08 May 1997 13:49:49 -0700

> So, rather than encumber an enormous body of software (which presupposes that
> the software exists) you can think of it as the encumberances brought about
> an enormous body of software.

I've debated people on this issue quite extensively, and don't wish 
to do so again, so I'll say one more thing and bite my tongue if the topic
is pursued further.

I find it fascinated that anyone who would write software and give it
away for others to use at no charge, would decide not to write it
because some subset of those people who find it useful might use it
for their business.  That is like saying I won't build a highway
which connects two cities because it could be used by drug dealers
to smuggle drugs between the cities.
It simply isn't possible to take freely available software, and turn
around and sell it.  It might work in the short term, but because of
free market competition, the profits in such an enterprise will be
very short lived, since someone else can sell the same thing for less,
until the price is so low it reflects close to the actual amount it
costs, which was zero.

For a company to survive and prosper, they must provide valuable
products that are competitive in the market.
I don't want to hear about the exceptions, but the majority.
Most college students, and certainly computer science students,
don't understand how business and the free market really works,
and simply buy into the GPL philosophy without much thought.

Finally, let me take the most "evil" company in the world,
which is commonly believed to be Microsoft in tech circles,
and ask a simple question.

Consider we built this LispOS thing and Microsoft saw how great it was,
and so they took it, gave up on WindowsXX and sold it for $99 as their
new and improved operating system.
Would you consider our efforts failed or successful?

-Kelly Edward Murray