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Linux and Main: Guest Essay: Running a Corporation in an Open Source World

Mar 18, 2002, 14:30 (61 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Shawn Gordon)

"I had RMS come to me on this product to make sure we weren't violating the GPL, and he admitted that we were not, but in the course of the conversation he proceeded to project onto the KDE project aspects of theKompany in a totally inappropriate fashion and was very negative about KDE in this regard. Now, to my mind there is far more corporate involvement and control over GNOME than KDE, but RMS chose to see things the way he wanted to see them in this instance and say that it was too bad the KDE didn't stand for freedom. Again, this had nothing to do with KDE, this had to do with just one of our banner products and the way we chose to implement and license it.

"What is the net result of this? We won't use the GPL for anything anymore. It is far too frustrating to deal with; it is ambigiously worded in places that make it just too risky for a company like us. I've heard the arguments about selling services, but for what we are doing it just really doesn't work. Look at it this way. I can send 1,000 copies to a distributor who will put it on store shelves around the world. People will walk in, pick it up and buy it. Now let's say that the software was free (as in cost) and I just sell services. Well, now I can't put it on a store shelf and for every customer; I have to go and hunt them down somehow and persuade them to use our free software and then pay us for support -- but they should only really need support if our software is hard to use or poorly designed, which isn't the case or our objective..."

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