Following up after a day in the shop
Posted Oct 1, 2004 1:40 UTC (Fri) by lm
In reply to: Following up after a day in the shop
Parent article: An Interview with Tom Lord of Arch (O'ReillyNet)
My pleasure, hopefully it's been helpful. It's definitely not an easy path that we've choosen, lots of people are very unhappy BK is used in the open source world at all, they view it as a failure of the open source model and a very visible failure at that. I can easily see that people would take the position that they should use the open source stuff and if it isn't good enough then they should fix it. Makes perfect sense, I'd argue the same thing in their shoes.
However, this particular product space is really difficult. Every engineer thinks they can do a better job in a few weeks with some scripts and CVS. Unfortunately, that's just not even close to being true. I've done this before and I knew how much work it was before I started again. And to tell the truth, I had a little of that "oh, this will be easy" feeling. BitMover was created to do Linux clusters, not source management. I told my people "we just have to hack out this little source management tool for Linus and then we'll get on the clusters, OK?" Yeah, right. It became clear in about of 6 months that this was a far bigger effort than I had anticipated and we had to have a business model or we'd never get to anything good.
If there had been any way I could have done this as a GPLed product I would have. I get it. I get it more than most of the people flaming me. But even if I were wealthy enough to do this for free (which I'm not) it wouldn't have worked. This job is a lot bigger than me, a lot bigger. I needed help and in order to attract that help I needed something more than my stellar personality and the possibility of helping the OSS world. People wanted to get paid, they wanted stock options, and they wanted those options to be potentially worth something. You just can't make that happen with an open source product. But what about Red Hat? Red Hat isn't an open source product, it is about 1000 open source products, and Red Hat wrote less than 1% of those products. Red Hat is a packaging company by and large. We aren't. We have one product and the support model doesn't work for us, the packaging model doesn't work for us, that was obvious. We needed an answer which generated enough revenue to pay us to make a better product for you. And for our commercial customers.
We had to have a commercial model that generated revenue. It sucks, all of us would rather be hacking away on GPLed source, that would be cool. But we have to eat, we have to support our families, and most importantly, we have to do a good job for you. We simply can't do that with an open source business model.
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