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02 March 2007


Kevin Dean

Customers care that they're buying "open source" and "free (Libre!) software" or that your product is "disruptive to the incumbent" as much as they care about how many patents you filed, the language you wrote the software in, or your accounting practices.

I speak only as myself, someone who considers himself a member of the Free Software movement...

I do care that I'm buying software libre. I care that the hardware I buy works with software libre. I send driver discs back to the manufacturer and let them know that the only reason I use their products is because of the Free drivers for them. I also let them know that should their competitor release their drivers as Free Software, they'll lose me as a customer.

For someone pushing business, you make a dangerous assumption about customers. I've never heard of a single person who said "That video card has one of those 'Open Source' drivers, I'm not buying that!"

But I've turned down great deals on the latest and greatest cards that didn't have libre drivers.

Andy Astor

Bravo, Stephen. An elegant and articulate view on the whole shebang. We share several perspectives here. In particular, the project vs. product (my post was code vs. company), and the users vs. contributors (our term is users vs. joiners). In sum, once you cross into commercial territory, the issue is customer value, and one's open-source-ness begins to border on the irrelevant.

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