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RE: [zzdev] Zigzag and Open Source

OK, I'll bite -- I don't believe that the issue of open
source vs. commercial is necessarily the important
distinction here.  It is not likely for the owner of
a software idea to deny the benefits of his software
to mankind by overpricing it.  Good ideas will make it
to market, whether they are for fee or for free.  It
is difficult for me to concieve a situation where
mankind was denied a significant software advance because
some underprivileged child was unable to get enough money
to buy a copy of Visual C++.

Without taking sides in that particular debate, I'll say
that ZigZag will make it's mark on the world regardless
of the licensing model.  Are you restraining yourself
from developing for it because you are afraid that Ted
will collect the profits?  Or, if you think that the software
should be free, why not just give your work to Ted and
let *him* charge for it?  If your work is good, a measly
$120 license won't stop it's spread, and why should you
care if *he* happens to make money residually?  Not that
ted would do that, but I think you shouldn't let the fact
that Ted own's the license stop you from contributing.

On the other hand, my own unsolicited opinion is that
the lack of financing and product focus on ZZ is what's
stopping it's adoption.  ZZ as it is is becoming a
grab-bag of every new and interesting concept that
ted can conceive about quantum space.  And development
hasn't stabilized on even one language or interface.
I think that if there were a standard API that could be
called by a majority of developers that would work
on most machines, then developers would feel more
confident about writing tools that use zigzag and you
would see it spread.  As long as you need to be a
robin hood, larry wall, linus torvalds kind of
coder to use zigzag, not many people will.  My obvious
bias would be to have zigzag focus on providing a
service, much like a database engine, but even if
they want to own the UI, I think that some focus on
picking an actual market and targetting it would help
immensely.  In my opinion, this lack of focus is a
shame, since there is so much potential for ZZ, and
as long as it is more focused ideas than real world
needs, it is going to be mostly interesting for its


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Benjamin Fallenstein [mailto:b.fallenstein@xxxxxx]
> Sent: Monday, November 01, 1999 7:26 PM
> To: zzdev@xxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [zzdev] Zigzag and Open Source
> Dear ZigZag developer team,
> I have a question of belief for you. When I first read about ZZ, I was
> intrigued by the possibilities of this piece of software. During my
> evaluation month, I experimented with it and it didn't take me long to
> get to the boundaries. But still I was fascinated, and could easily
> imagine the paradigm to be the future of computing.
> But after the evaluation month, I stopped using ZZ. Not because of the
> registration fee. Even for a 'poor' student like me, it's payable. No,
> my problem was a moral one.
> Beliefs about Open Source / Free Software are diverge. Beliefs about
> property rights are. If you believe it's your right to keep software
> closed, I can easily accept that. But should a system that we 
> hope to be
> as fundamental to the structure of computing as ZigZag stay closed? As
> things are, if ZigZag will be successful, XOC will be the new 
> Microsoft.
> And even if we don't accept the right of users to get the system
> software for their systems from a non-monopolist (or for 
> free), we have
> to accept that at some point, someone will program a free ZZ. 
> And users
> of the closed and the free ZZ won't have an easy time at exchanging
> data.
> The alternative I hope for you to take is what Eric Raymond 
> describes in
> his newest paper as 'free the software, sell the brand.' Free ZZ and
> allow everyone to distribute copies and program new implementations of
> the protocols. But retain the rights for the name ZigZag and 
> the symbol.
> Allow everyone to call their ZZ derivate 'unofficial ZigZag derivate,'
> but when someone wants a 'ZigZag compliant' symbol, they'll 
> have to pay
> you a fee to test their product. Assuming that ZZ will be a success,
> this probably will 'generate' a good amount of cash.
> How do you feel about this?
> I'm asking you this question because I consider to write a 
> free -- let's
> not call it a clone of ZigZag, because it goes beyond ZZ, be that for
> the good or for the bad, but a free something-like-ZZ. I 
> would be all to
> happy if you as the inventors of the quantum hyperspace could benefit
> from that, but I don't believe that what I hope for to make computers
> more accessible may stay closed.
> Please give me an answer.
> Thank you a lot,
> - Benjamin Fallenstein