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Re: [DotGNU]paying for free software (was Re: `freeing' proprietary soft

From: Norbert Bollow
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]paying for free software (was Re: `freeing' proprietary software)
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2002 04:29:08 +0200

S11001001 <address@hidden> wrote:

> Angel "Java" Lopez wrote:
> > But, in the Open Source, who pays the bill??
> Anyone who has an interest in the continued production of Free
> Software.

Yes... and this is happening, but it's not happening nearly
enough yet.

In the text below, you will find an idea that may help to
address this situation.  As soon as this organization is at the
stage where being a member gives significant business
advantages, it should charge a significant membership fee
(depending on the size of the company), and the resulting
revenue should be used for covering reasonable expenses of
running the organisation, and the rest donated to the Free
Software Foundation to support the further development of
the GNU system. 

Here is an idea for a new Free Software organization, to be
called "Bang!, the Business Alliance Near GNU", or just "Bang!"
for short.

Bang! is being created as a business network of its member companies.
All kinds of companies, including part-time businesses, are accepted
as members of Bang!, subject to five requirements:

(a) A commitment to use the GNU system

While we recognize that there are several good Free Software operating
systems, Bang! is specifically an alliance of companies which use the
GNU system, or a variant such as GNU/Linux, at least on the majority
of their computers.

(b) A commitment to never create proprietary software

Every company which joins Bang! must make a commitment to use, for any
and all software development projects, a license which is recognized
by the Free Software Foundation as a Free Software license.  (Note
that Bang! is not limited to software companies.  All kinds of
companies can join Bang!.)

(c) A commitment to building goodwill and trust among member companies

Every company which joins Bang! must make a commitment to
contibute to building goodwill and trust among member companies,
and to use every opportunity to make a contribution to at least
some other member companies.

(d) Category availability

Bang! is an alliance of non-competing businesses.  It is against the
policies of "Bang!" to have multiple member companies that are
competitors of each other.  So for example, Bang! cannot have several
member companies which all define their business as "selling GNU/Linux
distributions worldwide".  It is acceptable however to have one member
company which markets GNU/Linux specifically to home users and another
member company which markets GNU/Linux specifically to businesses.

(e) Approval by the Membership Committee

Bang!'s Membership Committee will verify that conditions (a),
(b), (c) and (d) are met, and in addition comments from all
current member companies on the prospective new member company
are sought and considered.  Membership applications where one of
the requirements is not met, will always be rejected.  The
Membership Committee may also choose to reject membership
applications where the written requirements are met but there
does not seem to be good harmony between the prospective member
and current members.

The Membership Committee will periodically review the activities
of each member company to verify that requirements (a), (b),
(c) and (d) remain satisfied.  For example, the membership of
any company which does not make a significant positive
contribution at every opportunity will be terminated.  The
respective category is thereby openend, so that a competitor of
the previous member can then join Bang!

Goals of the Bang! Business Alliance

1. The member companies help each other with winning new customers
   and with advice, practical assistance, etc.

2. The member companies work together to uphold the ethical principles
   of the Free Software movement.

Principles of the Bang! Business Alliance

1. The Bang! Business Alliance considers moral issues of Free
   Software ethics to be important for all business activities
   that have something to do with software, and will communicate
   on how Free Software ethics apply to business matters.

2. The Bang! Business Alliance avoids taking any steps that would
   in some way prevent it from being forked by a member.  ("Forking"
   an organization means to create a new organization with similar
   goals and then to invite all members of the old organization to
   join the new organization if they so choose.  However the new
   organization is in no way legally related to the old organization.
   It does not is any way share in its contractual relationships,
   assets or liabilities.)

   In particular, this means that Free Documentation licenses
   will be used for all informational documents produced by Bang!,
   all software produced in Bang!'s software development projects will
   be Free Software with GPL-compatible licensing, and Bang! will not
   enter any non-disclosure agreements of any kind.

3. The members of the Bang! are mutually non-competing businesses that
   have made commitments as described under (a), (b), (c) and
   (d) above.

Major Policies

The focus of Bang! is on business networking which happens through
a mailing list and weekly telephone conference calls.

On the address@hidden mailing list, each Bang! member posts a
monthly report on what support has been given to other Bang! members
(for example referrals of new customers, practical assistance, etc),
what has been received from other Bang! members, and requests for the
next month. Information on the member company, including unashamed
self-promotion, can be appended to the report.

The telephone conference calls are always on Tuesdays and the duration
is limited to 55 minutes.  Each of these calls will focus on one
member company, and all participants on the call work together with
the goal of moving this company forward.  The member companies take
turns being this "company of the week" on which the call will focus,
and the representative of the "company of the week" can decide the
exact time of the call.

Membership in Bang! is gratis initially, but it is possible that at
some time membership fees will be introduced.

Bang! will have a democratically elected leader, the "Sunji".

Bang! is organized by the company Inc., which has full
authority to decide Bang!'s policies and to appoint the Membership
Committee.  (The membership committee is appointed for a term of six
months). Inc. will listen to the advice of the Sunji
before making such decisions.  Members who feel that things are going
in a wrong direction will always have the freedom to fork Bang! if

Directors or employees of Inc. cannot be elected as
"Sunji".  Every other representatative of a member company of Bang!
can be elected as "Sunji".

Greetings, Norbert.

A founder of the project and Steering Committee member
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet   (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59         Fax +41 1 972 20 69
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