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Money Talks --Open Source Walks

P.S. The article omits to mention that the new venture has
purchased Emacspeak for an undisclosed amount 
to man their switchboards and provide 24X7 spoken customer support.
Money talks -- Open source walks              
Plans for new LinuxSoft venture map           
new business model for "free" software. SALON 
STAFF REPORT | In a move sure to send shock   
waves through the free software/open-source   
community, Linus Torvalds, creator of the     
Linux operating system, announced today that  
he is founding LinuxSoft, a new company that  
will specialize in selling "enhanced"         
proprietary versions of Linux. LinuxSoft will 
be a joint venture between leading Linux      
vendors Red Hat, VA Research and              
LinuxCare. Torvalds announced it has already  
obtained venture capital funding from Silicon 
Valley's premier VC firm, Kleiner Perkins     
Caufield & Byers. "The free software model has
served its purpose," said the Finnish coder,  
considered by many geeks to be the greatest   
programmer in the world, "but now I've got to 
think about putting my daughters through      
college." LinuxSoft, according to Torvalds,   
will experiment with a variety of business    
models -- including an innovative             
advertiser-supported approach, in which       
sponsors will pay to insert their messages    
directly into the program code. "We know that 
that's where they'll get the maximum eyeballs 
and best bang for their buck," he             
said. LinuxSoft expects to file for an IPO    
within 36 hours, Torvalds added. Torvalds'    
announcement was followed by a rash of similar
breakthrough developments in the open-source  
world, prompting one longtime observer to say 
via e-mail "the dam has broken -- the open    
sourcers have finally realized that TANSTAAFL:
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."   
Eric Raymond, the oft-quoted hacker advocate  
and open-source propagandist, released a paper
on his personal Web site titled "The          
Cathedral, the Bazaar and the Bottom Line."   
Raymond said that he was launching a new      
venture called "Open Bourse" -- an online     
marketplace in which free-software programmers
could auction off their code to the highest   
bidder. "Open Bourse" is a joint venture with 
eBay. Slashdot, the popular "news for nerds"  
Web site that has served as a focal point for 
open-source devotees, unveiled a redesigned   
and renamed site, Slashdot Investor. Beginning
immediately, Slashdot Investor will only be   
available to site visitors who have purchased 
subscriptions. Premium content will include a 
"Stock Tip of the Day" from journalist Jon    
Katz -- a 6,500-word essay on a particular    
company's cultural context, along with a      
buy/sell recommendation. Brian Behlendorf of  
the Apache Project issued a press release     
detailing a new plan to levy a micropayment   
tax on every Web page delivered by the widely 
deployed Apache Web server. "This great       
software has been doing its job on millions of
computers without ever asking for anything in 
return," Behlendorf said. "The free ride is   
over -- it's time to pay the piper." In       
Redmond, Microsoft announced that Free        
Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman  
had accepted the new position of Senior Vice  
President for Ideology. Initial reaction to   
the news was mild, to the dismay of trolling  
journalists. A brief flame war broke out on   
comp.os.linux.advocacy, where a few die-hard  
open-source devotees tangled with the         
movement's leaders. But complaints like "Have 
our whole community's ideals gone to          
/dev/null?" were quickly met with responses   
like "Get real, pal." Some posters on Usenet  
suggested that the news was an instance of    
"Microsoft FUD": "There has not been such a   
massive disinformation campaign since the days
of Cointelpro." A few even claimed that the   
moves were an obvious April Fools' prank, but 
Torvalds himself posted a strong denial: "We  
are still intent on world domination. But now 
we plan to rake in some dough, too."          
SALON | April 1, 1999                         

Best Regards,

      Adobe Systems                 Tel: 1 408 536 3945   (W14-128)
      Advanced Technology Group     Fax: 1 408 537 4042 
      W14-128 345 Park Avenue     Email: raman@adobe.com 
      San Jose , CA 95110 -2704     Email:  raman@cs.cornell.edu
      http://labrador.corp.adobe.com/~raman/        (Adobe Intranet)
      http://cs.cornell.edu/home/raman/    (Cornell)
    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are my own and in no way should be taken
as representative of my employer, Adobe Systems Inc.

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