While it is not done in practise yet, (we are still arranging to make
it possible) Compiler Resources, Inc. does intend to "sell" open
source software (and at some level the FSF does so today or at least
did in the past).

We have a currently closed source product, Yacc++, that we intend to
release an open source version of.  Truly open source, under the GPL,
and other developers may fork, resell, or do whatever the GPL allows
them to do with it.  We will also sell that exact same version (at a
reduced price from other closed source versions).  We hope that some
distributions of open source software may in fact begin incorporating
the open source version into their distributions and that copies of
the open source software gets given away for free.

Now, as noted, we will also be selling closed source versions (and
support for the open source version).  This is where we intend to
continue making the majority of our profits.  However, there will be
some clients who wish to buy the open source version from us, perhaps
because they will then get it in combination with a proprietary
version or to get support or just to get the latest open source copy
we have released in a timely fashion.  Thus, we will be *selling* the
open source version.

As I mentioned, (at least at one time) the FSF did the same.  One
could buy a distribution tape of Emacs from them (for about $150).
As I recall, we, in fact, did so.  Not because, we were particularly
enamoured with giving the FSF money, but because we wanted a reliable
copy, and we were no more enamoured with giving someone else the
money.  There was at least the hope that the money we gave to the FSF
would be plowed back into supporting further development of Emacs.

As to the pricing model, we intend to sell the open source version for
about a quarter what we sell our flagship closed source version for,
which is also the price we sell upgrades to our best customers
for.  Matching the upgrade price is the key reason we picked that
price point--the open source version will help support customers who
do not want more current versions, but want more freedom in modifying
the software and supporting themselves.  We have a fairly extensive
client base who would like to self-support and are using older
versions that they do not wish to upgrade, but do need sources for to
handle incompatibilities in the underlying OS that have crept in over
the years (e.g. we have Windows 3.x users that need an XP version, of
the same old copy of our software, and we want to make their life
easier).  Note, the price point we have selected is about half the
price of comparable competing closed source products.

As to the development model, we intend to accept contributions
(provide that the authors are willing to assign copyright owernship
for us, so we can dual license and incorporate into our closed source
versions) and will offer such enahncement authors some form of
compensation for their contibutions (advance copies of the next free
release are one likely candidate and attribution credit if desired).
Is it possible that some authors will fork a competing version and
sell or give that away, yes?  However, we expect to mitigate that
threat by providing only a subset of the flagship products
functionality--a substantial subset, so that the open source version
is not a toy or "demo" version, but in fact a valuable product in
itself (just not quite as good as our flagship product)--with the
further promise that other features from our flagship product will get
incorporated into the open source version over time.  That means any
fork will either have to track our open source releases or will become
less functional.

Note, no where in our plans are attempts to keep others from selling
the same open source software (nor from giving it away).  In fact, we
hope that some distributions do in fact give the open source version
away, as loss leaders for our closed source version.  At the same
time, we do expect to sell the open source version, just not as "the"
primary revenue stream.  As far as I can tell, precluding others from
selling or giving away your open source software, violates what most
people mean by "open" source.  At time same time, just because we
allow others to give it away, does not mean that we have to give it
away--that's a separate decision.  It is possible to segment the
market and still sell open source software.

Hope this helps,

Chris Clark                    Internet   :  [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Compiler Resources, Inc.       Web Site   :  http://world.std.com/~compres  
23 Bailey Rd                   voice      :  (508) 435-5016
Berlin, MA  01503  USA         fax        :  (978) 838-0263  (24 hours)

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