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[DotGNU]DotGNU and business

From: Norbert Bollow
Subject: [DotGNU]DotGNU and business
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 17:22:32 +0200

Timothy Rue <address@hidden> wrote:

> To streamline the patent issue, or more correctly the anti-patent issue,
> doesn't take the kind of money needed in the patent filing loop. In fact
> all it takes is a matter of publishing with intent to prevent a patent on
> what is published, to prevent such a patent.
> It's called Prior Art. :)

Things are not as easy as this.  Prior Art is definately a very
good and valuable thing.  However in practice, the existence of
prior art does not always prevent patent claims from being
accepted.  And if then a company with deep pockets sues you, you
may still have a serious problem even when from theory we would
say that it should be easy to prove the patent to be invalid.

> going to the I find a link to
> but upon further inspection it appears that effort has also gotten bogged
> down almost to a halt

This is my impression also.

> Seems dotgnu is related, but really a project of it's own.

Well, the three founders of the DotGNU project intially met on a
mailing list of FreeDevelopers.  At a later time there were
ideas to turn the DotGNU project into a business project, and
FreeDevelopers played a large role in those ideas, but these
ideas are dead now.  Right now it seems that the only
practically relevant relationship between FreeDevelopers and the
DotGNU project is that Inc. is still domain
name holder for the and domain
names, (i.e. FreeDeveloper is responsible for paying domain name
renewal fees) and also FreeDevelopers may hold a trademark on
DotGNU (I don't know anything specific about that, only that
there were intentions to register such a trademark.)

> I suppose that is to be expected when you try and mix politics with
> commercial business plans for a Free Software base.

I'm now convinced that it's better not to mix them up.

However, the events that caused most of the "core group" of
FreeDevelopers to become totally and permanently frustrated
with the person who made all the decisions in FreeDevelopers,
that kind of thing can happen in any kind of organisation.
More than anything else, that was a "people" problem.

> But then business is the point of dotgnu, right?

The point of DotGNU is freedom.

The _strategy_ of DotGNU is to compete with a certain proprietary
software company in a certain area.

> Personally I think trying to clone the "enemy" is inherently flawed at the
> very core or conception level.

It has never been the intention to _clone_ .NET

However for strategic reasons we consider it important that .NET
programs will run on the DotGNU platform.

> I guess the point is to understand the motive, the incentive
> of Microsoft to "invent" ".net" to begin with.

Some degree of speculation about this may help to predict
possible future actions of our competitor.

But the main thing to understand is what motivates
decision-makers everywhere to choose .NET, and how we can
motivate them to choose DotGNU instead.

> What's the goal?

Here are the three main goals of the DotGNU project:

The main goal is to prevent .NET, and the webservices wave in
general, from destroying the essentially-free-as-in-freedom
nature of the internet that we value so much today.

Secondary to this is the goal to create useful software that
the contributors to the DotGNU project consider to be valuable.

Thirdly it is a goal to find ways in which DotGNU project
contributors can earn good money through contributing to DotGNU.

So, for the DotGNU project, freedom is more important than
features and both are more important than business interests, but
all three are considered important.  (This in contrast to the
GNU project and FreeDevelopers, which have both stated that they
do not care whether developers get paid.  Actually, when I
agreed to DotGNU becoming "a project of FreeDevelopers", I was
under the impression that the whole point of FreeDevelopers is
to work towards the goal that developers can get paid for
working on Free Software.  I have plans for starting an
organisation which can replace FreeDevelopers in this respect.)

> I honestly believe, based on research, that the only way to
> really achieve this is thru FreeSoftware and GPL method. But
> I'm concerned that trying to clone the "enemy" is perhaps
> putting a very big inherently biased dampener on correctly
> achieving the goal.

I think that your goal, while different from the core goals of
DotGNU, is not in conflict with the goals of DotGNU.  So I
suggest that you design a software project (or several) which 
you believe will achieve your goal.  Then, as a second step, we
can discuss how those ideas could perhaps be made to fit into
the DotGNU framework.

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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