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Re: [Gnumed-devel] making money from GNUmed

From: Tim Churches
Subject: Re: [Gnumed-devel] making money from GNUmed
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2005 20:09:49 +1100
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 (Windows/20041206)

Sebastian Hilbert wrote:
> Hi all,
> I know I will be beaten up for the following lines by the exact people who
> volunteered to do (nothing) what I am about to discuss.
> I am going to dicsuss this now to see what the feelings are.
> Here is what I have in mind. Today I am asking as founder of a German
> company who tries to make money off GNUmed. Today I am *not* Mr. release
> guy. The GNUmed FOSS project in no way gave me permission to do anything nor
> is this to be viewed as official GNUmed FOSS work.
> Ok since I have not received any offers to build installers I will maybe
> build one for Windows. I will make the XML file to build these available
> under the GPL. I don't have to but I will.
> What I will sell maybe is binary packages made from this script. What are
> your opinions on that ? I am not selling licenses for GNUmed which cannot be
> done. I am selling the service of providing prepackaged binaries which
> contains code that is freely available. I will charge for providing these
> packages on CD as well as for the CD it self. I am not claiming to be
> authorized by the FOSS project GNUmed but do this on my own account. 
> I would appreciate any input. Before you start to rage. I am not keeping
> anything from anyone. Everything you need to do what I do is available from
> the Internet.
> People who know me can imagine that any money made from this will help fund
> GNUmed. It is my goal to employ a programmer sooner or later. 

I think your proposal is fine, and is not against the spirit nor the
letter of the GPL.

However, I do think you should think about the potential market for your
binary distributions of GNUmed. When GNUmed is feature-complete,
finished and well-tested, there is likely to be a big demand for it,
especially in the form of easy-to-install binary packages, and for other
services related to it, such as integration with other packages,
customisation etc etc.

However, as it stands, I think the task is to encourage people to try
it, to "kick its tyres" and to see its potential. Charging for
easy-to-install binaries is unlikely to encourage people to try it out,
and until people try it out, I do not think there will be much demand.
You have to create the market by stimulating interest in GNUmed from
potential users, then you can sell services and products to that market.
Anyway, that's my take. It is certainly not too soon to start setting up
support and service comapnies as you are doing, but it may be too soon
to anticipate any sort of revenue generation from these activities.
However, the existence of self-sustaining service and support companies
associated with GNUmed is absolutely vital to its future success -
without such organisations provding ongoing support and services on a
commercial basis, GNUmed will remain a system for keen hobbists. So what
you are doing is vital and important for the long-term health of teh
project. But build your market first, then make some money from it.

Of course, this advice is from a person who has never made any money
from any sort of business in his life...

Tim C

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