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Re: [LUG] Closed to Open Source. was: Unix file system folder limits
I am a firm believer in open source but there is a fundemental misunderstanding
when discussing developing larger scale software.
The product we are developing is a much larger project than Zimmian or netscape.
Our last product Mobius (see ylem.com for scope of product) stands in excess
of 6 million
Everyone who works on our products records time spent and the tasks worked
on during that period. We have data collected over 25 years so the figures
I quote are accurate. Being a smaller developer our costs are much lower
than Navision or SAP.
Cutting code is approx 10 - 15% of the cost of producing the product.
Approx 25% takes place in design and specification this cost has to be incurred
before anyone else could start to work on a large scale system. This figure
would increase if we were to outsource the other tasks. We know this because
we looked at offshore development and ruled it out on overhead costs of management.
I would think that there would be a bigger increase if we were to go open
The balance is in testing and documentation all of which would need completion
before we could ask for support.
Plus Mobius today has no known faults so customers say why pay for support
if it doesnt go wrong and our experience over the years is that customers
do not need a support contract. (Ask Rick at Supertramp they use it).
So we either have to charge for the product or build faults in so that customers
need support. Given these choices we choose to charge for the product and
produce good quality software.
Currently to go somway towards open source we are offering Mobius free of
Ylem licence fees and charge for installation training and support if the
customer wants support. I have serious concerns over publishing 6 million
pounds worth of code if its ripped off I cant afford to sue a large company.
Microsoft are now a competitor with Great Plains and Navision so we have
an uphill struggle with marketing against the big guns.
This is a dilema we all have to solve if we want the majority of software
to be open source.
Thanks for the input and keep the ideas coming in I am not closed to any
suggestions as to how we can all solve this issue.
Neil Williams wrote:
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On Wednesday 19 Mar 2003 5:32 pm, Bill Wilson wrote:
We would love to make our product open source and suggested that LUG
members help us write the code for free. Unfortunately nobody was
We are a small group at DCLUG really so I think it's unlikely that you'd find
enough members with both the right skills and the requisite time available.
Perhaps opening the request to a wider audience (like SourceForge) would reap
rewards. Open Source (as I see it) utilises a large number of developers and
therefore projects need a wide audience - most people with the skills you
need would begin by looking at SourceForge.
interested. If you can tell me how to recover hundreds of thousands in
development costs by giving it away I would be interested.
The costs are only there because it began and is currently a closed source
project. (The program itself cost almost nothing in terms of hardware usage,
utility costs - it's the salary payments that comprise the bulk?) You could
charge for support (like distro suppliers) but that won't recoup your
closed-source costs because support will become available free during Open
Source development. Once released under GPL, the program isn't yours anymore,
you can't control all aspects of direction or support. I'd say the best route
to Open Source is from the beginning - that way certain costs aren't incurred
in the first place. Netscape4 couldn't be made into an open source project,
work started from a new base.
Wouldn't that be feasible? I know that every project I've encountered or coded
has changed direction more than once during development, especially once the
first stable release is available. More
often than not, code designed for one
purpose has to be re-aligned to take on a new aspect or feature. The base
code isn't often changed. Starting from a new base can rid the code of all
manner of workarounds and diversions - that was the original inspiration
It's a brave decision and one that is likely to cause a significant lag in the
next development phase. But then once released, it'll take on a life of it's
own - you could conceivably continue providing the current version until the
open source project is more advanced.
We are a commercial software house so licence fees apply but we would be
prepared to put an attractive proposition together for a reference site.
Not making it Open Source then?
I'm not particularly advanced in terms of binary programming (currently much
more time is spent on scripting languages than C++) and my Bsc isn't in any
computer related field, so I may have missed the point in some areas of the
above. I'm sure others on the list will clarify!
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