[Ilugc] Employee Agreement of a FOSS company

Rahul Sundaram sundaram at fedoraproject.org
Sat Dec 6 15:59:45 IST 2008


Kapil Hari Paranjape wrote:
> Hello,
> 
> On Sat, 06 Dec 2008, Rahul Sundaram wrote:
>> A lot of the code that goes into upstream projects these  
>> days (esp the prominent components of the stack which really matter) is  
>> driven by vendors who do it on behalf of the customers which includes  
>> new features and bug fixes. As long as customers get what they want,  
>> they don't really care about the fact that others can get it as well.  
>> The fact that it is free and open source code, makes no real difference  
>> from that perspective.
> 
> For example, the following business model[*] could work in some situations.
> 
> A hardware vendor contracts a FOSS company to make GNU/Linux "just
> work" with their hardare. The FOSS company then makes the patches to
> the existing stack available under appropriate FOSS licenses. In some
> cases the FOSS company could even work on the Windows stack and give
> that code under FOSS licenses. The hardware vendor thus gets a lot of
> consumers for the hardware.
> 
> One only wishes that more hardware vendors would see it this way. ;)

Some already do. Intel used to contract Tungsten Graphics 
(http://www.tungstengraphics.com/, which is also the lead developers of 
Gallium3D) instead of doing software in house.  ATI's recent open source 
3D driver was atleast in part written in contract. Hardware companies 
might have not the expertise in-house to write good software on a 
particular area quickly and frequently do reach out to other 
organizations to improve time to market.

This is not limited to just drivers. Nokia contracts Collabora 
(http://www.collabora.co.uk/, developers of Empathy) for some of their 
maemo work. Intel used to do that with OpenedHand (http://o-hand.com/) 
before acquiring them recently.  I could go on but it is quite obvious 
that there is a large amount of commercial activity in and around Free 
software.

Rahul





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