[REBOL] Re: Looking for help
From: robbo1mark:aol at: 5-Mar-2002 14:35
Hello Gabriele / Gregg
Do you reasonably expect to be able to make money
from the commercial use of your REBOL scripts?
If you do think so and there is an identifiable market
for your "product" that will pay your asking price
or demand driven price(s) - volume pricing & all that - then if you don't want to penalize
the non-commercial hobbyist then use a "free for non-commercial use" license and charge
"commercial" users the appropriate fee.
Alternatively if you want your scripts to be able to be used in a commercial products
as well as free software then the BSD style licenses allow for this without necessitating
all future works be "open source".
If you want to ensure that nobody can unfairly take your work and build it into their
own proprietary product and unfairly benefit from it then the GPL is your best bet as
it is quite strict regarding it's terms of usage and compliance requirements.
This is aside from the "ethical" issues of proprietary software.
If you just want your software to be USED as much as possible then explicitly make it
PUBLIC DOMAIN then anybody is free do whatever they will with it.
Whilst I personally agree with the goals and means of the GPL to protect and advance
"free software" within the current legislative climate my prefernce is for public domain
as this removes the need & cost of ensuring license compliance.
How do you really ensure absolute global compliance with the terms of whichever license
you choose to use without having to resort to severely restrictive methods which border
The answer is of course you can't, it is impossible!
Even more so with binary only proprietary software because in that instance it is even
harder to discover if somebody is unfairly stealing your work.
Without trusting the honesty of people to comply with your license and use the software
under your chosen terms you have to accept that there will always be people who will
disregard your terms at best or blatantly abuse and steal from you at worst, whichever
license & terms you decide upon.
Do you really want the hassles of litigation & all the costs of trying to enforce compliance
or prove non-compliance with your license terms? this costs time and / or money (lots!)
and / or placing restrictions and burdens on your users.
Also how do you define "free for non-commercial use"?
What about the small guy working from home who just happens to love REBOL and see's the
benefit of using it to help him along in his business, there are loads of potential ambiguities
Given the precarious nature of software patents, copyrights and other intellectual "property"
laws inherent within the software industry I can see why we have software licensesto
"protect" developers or to ensure the "freedoms" or "restrictons" upon users
but from my perspective for small developers / hobbyists if you release software whether
it be in binary or source form the easiest choice is just to make it PUBLIC DOMAIN.
This is the least cost, least hassle solution.
This doesn't answer of course how to make money selling REBOL scripts.
It's just my opinion but I think it is easier to make money from customers / business
enterprises & other organisations by incorporating REBOL as a technology which you use
to provide a SOLUTION or SERVICE offering rather than as "shrink wrapped in a box" software
product. I think RT Inc. make this mistake when they try to get people to buy / license
their non-free interpreters like /View/Pro & /Command etc.
Paul Graham at http://www.paulgraham.com talks about how his company used LISP, with
it's benefits in terms of lower development costs and the quicker development / testing
/ debugging cycle to produce high quality internet capable software as part of a SERVICE
/ SOLUTION offering for online shopping stores.
He found his market niche it is up to us / those who would wish to be able to make a
living using & developing in REBOL to find ours.
I certainly don't think anybody outside RT Inc. is going to be able to sell a REBOL "boxed"
software application except perhaps in certain specialist areas, definitely not across
the current spectrum of typical user applications there's just to much other competition
ranging from Microsoft to all the free software at places like freshmeat & tucows etc.
The best way for us advance the possibility to be able to earn a crust from REBOL is
by stressing it's benefits and getting it used inside enterprises and large and small
organisations so that there becomes a viable "job market" for REBOL programmers like
there currently is for JAVA & PERL.
One way to achieve this would be for REBOL Technologies Inc to remove some of the current
restrictions on the "commercial" use of REBOL Interpreters, we would then be free to
promote it's usage into our work places and enterprises.
Also more practical examples of the cross platform nature of REBOL and it's ability to
interface and manipulate LEGACY data as well as all the new whizz-bang XML / SOAP / WEB
data AND stressing REBOL's ability to do all this across the network / internet would
do no harm at all.
We need to encourage and develop more "success" stories of the practical applications
of REBOL in the real world of IT rather than fantasising about how great it's all going
to be in the REBOL/IOS & MS.NET X-INTERNET world of tomorrow. This rosy future is where
we all work and play via the web & internet is great / crap depending on your viewpoint
but it doesn't address the practical realities of today.
For REBOL to work we need to put it to practical use and publicise this loudly and show
the world how easy using REBOL can be and the benefits to bederived from this. More XML
/ TEXT / DATA / NUMERIC processing examples, more WEB-Agents & Email ROBOT's & SPIDERS,
more use of REBOL in science & schools & education and the not forgetting the lesser
developed economies in the world, not everybody can afford to pay western prices for
their computer upgrades and software.
We need more than just some pretty picture examples of REBOL/View.
PRACTICAL Real life examples and applications of REBOL as a technology to provide lower
cost or technically superior solutions to problems is what will SELL REBOL as a useful
technology to the outside world.
To become the "better means of expression" and "Universal Internet Messaging Language"
we need to use and promote REBOL more and RT can help us by restricting REBOL less. So
what if The Bank of America want to install REBOL on a hundred thousand desktops & servers,
let them go ahead and do it for "FREE".
Somebody has got to maintain & development software for them and most organisations are
willing to pay people for that. That creates a market and a demand for REBOL as a technology
and people with REBOL skills.
Trying to write some code and sell it only pitches you into the market with every other
commercial software developer out there and with all the same competition and pitfalls
of trying to compete against established industry giants who can kill you or your financial
revenues if they have to, to protect their position. Just think Netscape and browsers.
The lucky ones get bought out.
Programming is a skill which people will pay you for to either develop or maintain software
Programming languages can be used to create programs and services which are of "UTILITY"
to people and should help provide solutions for their needs.
Programs and programming languages are NOT an end in themselves except in an intellectual
way for developers / academics / hobbyists, they are only one tool in part of a greater
toolset that people need and use to get REAL work or activites achieved in their REAL
Trying to sell or license software solely as a product is problematic, and the smaller
the developer the greater and harder the challenges are and that's why,
to get back to my original point, it's probably best that once you release it you accept
it's in the public domain and treat it as such.
Trying to promote your software toolkit and services as part of a bigger or overall more
comprehensive solutions package is an easier way of trying to make a living than betting
on the revenues from software products or "reblets". Micropayments and a futurist fantasy
for just now anyway.
Sorry for my long ramblings.
In a message dated Tue, 5 Mar 2002 11:13:59 AM Eastern Standard Time, "Gregg Irwin" <[greggirwin--mindspring--com]>