A free company for all
...how to pay free developers, what kind of free institution is appropriate for free developers, and how to defeat proprietary ?
An email discussion over 22 days between Richard Stallman and Tony Stanco on the formation of a business entity by free developers, of free developers, for a free world.
The series talks about how to pay free developers, what kind of free institution is appropriate for free developers, and how to defeat proprietary.
Day 1 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Subj: Is developer compensation consistent with free software? Date: 4/6/00 From: tony stanco To: RMS [Stanco]: Can you tell me whether you are for or against free/open source developers being paid directly for their work? I've communicated with lots of free/open source developers and some think you're for it and some say you're against. Your web site is ambiguous (intentionally or not) on the question. The whole "free" terminology lends itself to the confusion, notwithstanding your attempts to clarify. I think that free/open source needs a solid revenue model to succeed long-term. Given the independent, world-wide organization of free software development, I thought per-line-of-code royalties were the most feasible way to compensate developers. I've also attached my first article on open source for Boardwatch [now on the web at http://www.boardwatch.com/mag/2000/may/bwm86.html], where you are given an honorable mention, that gives my reasons why the capitalistic game must go on until we enter the Post Economic age, including for software. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Subj: Is developer compensation consistent with free software? Date: 4/6/00 From: RMS To: tony stanco [Stanco]: > Can you tell me whether you are for or against free/open source > developers being paid directly for their work? [Stallman]: I think it is good when people are paid to develop free programs. I used to accept contracts to develop free software myself, back in the 80s. Nowadays many contractors and free software companies operate this way. I would do it too, if I had the time and if speaking did not bring me enough money. [Stanco]: > I thought per-line-of-code royalties were the > most feasible way to compensate developers. With all respect, there must be a fundamental misunderstanding here, because this idea is self-contradictory. There is no way to collect royalties on a program which is free software. If people have to pay for permission to do something, they are not free to do it. The Open Source Movement, which I do not belong to, focuses above all on questions of "business model". Your search for a way to collect royalties would seem to fit in with their idea of priorities (although I think that they would reject this proposal). In the Free Software Movement, we put the social and political issues first. We reject proprietary software because it does not respect our freedom. Business considerations are secondary; we think it is good to find more ways for business to develop free software, but we won't compromise on freedom to help business. [Stanco]: > I've also attached my first article on open source for Boardwatch, > where you are given an honorable mention [Stallman]: If you think I should be mentioned, please mention that what I do is free software, not "open source". Please don't give people the idea that I am associated with the Open Source Movement; that is not only inaccurate, it is also quite unfair to the Free Software Movement because it gives the credit for our work to the rival movement. See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html for more explanation of how the movements differ. Also, I live cheaply but I am not poor; it is inaccurate to speak of my "poverty" [in the Boardwatch article].