Tech Insider					     Technology and Trends


			      USENET Archives

From: rburns@key.COM (Randy Burns)
Subject: Linux Diskette Distribution
Date: 11 Aug 92 00:35:46 GMT


I've collected a set of Linux related executables (with the help of Brian Gallew
of CMU) on 19+ disks that have been sent to a diskette duplication service. Our 
intent is to make Linux available as a low-cost diskette distribution with some
of the same niceties that commercial customers are used to(i.e. updates could
be automatically sent, faulty diskettes replaced, and eventually we may
produce some glossy manuals/packages that would be suitable for display in a
typical computer store and provide some of the support institutional customers
need/expect from software). We realize that Linux is a ways from being ready
for prime-time, but there are a lot of little details to take care of in
setting up software distribution(i.e. arranging for sales tax id, business
license, management of a mailing list , arranging to accept phone orders with
Master Charge/Via etc., packaging )-we want to make sure that a good
distribution setup is ready when Linux matures. The price we are 
shooting for is $59.95(plus sales tax for California residents) and a cost to 
resellers and institutions of $40.00 (in quantities of 5 or more).

My guess is that diskette distribution of Linux will gradually be made obsolete
by the release of Linux CD ROMs and cheap high speed modems. Still, for the next
few months, diskettes may be the best means to get many folks up and running on
Linux. 

What we need at the moment is 2-3 people who don't have ftp/internet access
who would like to try out our current distribution diskettes.  

For purposes, of this free test of diskette distribution, you can
email me at rburns@key.amdahl.com.
 
In the future, can mail requests to:

  Syntropy Institute
  Attn: Linux Shipping Dept.
  41 Sutter St. #1049
  San Francisco, CA 94104
  voice 415-325-7529 ext. 4 (Active Aug 17,1992)
  data  415-325-7533        (Active Aug 24,1992)

We want you to use this mailing address because the first month this service
is active, we will be only accepting orders pre-paid by check. At some 
later date, we will start accepting Fortune 2000 corporate PO's and 
Master Charge/Visa.  We will send an announcement to this news group 
when we're ready to handle full-scale distribution(along with pricing.

Randy Burns, Director, Syntropy Institute

NOTE: This distribution service is not being conducted with the 
endorsement of anyone involved in the  Linux development effort. It is 
being set up in response to a post I sent a while back suggesting that 
Linux be made available in diskette form. The distribution is being 
conducted under the auspices of a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Our 
intent is to distribute linux largely for the benefit of students and 
small educational institutions.  Syntropy Institute has been involved in 
a variety of charitable projects including assisting in TraNet's 
distribution of a 100 book appropriate technology library to people's 
development organizations in the Third World.

From: jmsimon@acsu.buffalo.edu (JMS)
Subject: Re: Linux Diskette Distribution
Date: 11 Aug 92 12:38:09 GMT

In article <3480@key.COM> rburns@key.COM (Randy Burns) writes:
>
>I've collected a set of Linux related executables (with the help of Brian 
>Gallew of CMU) on 19+ disks that have been sent to a diskette duplication 
>service. Our intent is to make Linux available as a low-cost diskette 
>distribution with some of the same niceties that commercial customers are 
>used to(i.e. updates could be automatically sent, faulty diskettes
>replaced, and eventually we may produce some glossy manuals/packages that 
>would be suitable for display in a typical computer store and provide some
>of the support institutional customers need/expect from software). 

I've been following the 'stabilizing Linux' thread for quite some time, and
I like the idea of making Linux (eventually) available for general use by
all, but keep reading...

>We realize that Linux is a ways from being ready for prime-time, but there
>are a lot of little details to take care of in setting up software 
>distribution(i.e. arranging for sales tax id, business license, management
>of a mailing list , arranging to accept phone orders with Master
>Charge/Via etc., packaging )-we want to make sure that a good distribution
>setup is ready when Linux matures. The price we are shooting for is 
>$59.95(plus sales tax for California residents) and a cost to resellers
>and institutions of $40.00 (in quantities of 5 or more).

Why should anyone buy more than 1 copy from you? If everything is freely
distributable, they could arguably spend $60 for a copy, then make their
own copies to sell; total Linux anarchy :)

I am prepared to believe that to distribute 19 disks (including all of
your costs like media, phone lines, duplication, etc) would cost $59.95,
but I don't feel Linux needs a "commercial" distribution chain; it will
*never* be supported or warranted unless someone is making money to 
provide those services, and selling it in this manner --implies-- to a 
customer that they are getting something more than 19 disks and a cancelled
check (ie: through resellers, with quantity discounts).

I have been a consultant, VAR, and straight reseller for several years, but
am not well versed in what laws surround this - if you take code and source
that is free to all and bundle it, you can *only* sell it for distribution
costs, correct? Can you enforce a "right" to that package that it can only
be sold by you or through your authorized agents? If not, you may be
wasting a lot of time and money, and the money of others as well. 

I would like to know how the key players in Linux development (anyone who
has contributed in some way, unlike me, yet :* ) feel about this sort of
distribution; it would bother me if these people didn't have some sort of
"say" about how this distribution was being done - maybe they can be made
the "board of directors" of this nonprofit organization, if they were
interested?

>  Syntropy Institute
>  Attn: Linux Shipping Dept.
>  41 Sutter St. #1049
>  San Francisco, CA 94104
>  voice 415-325-7529 ext. 4 (Active Aug 17,1992)
>  data  415-325-7533        (Active Aug 24,1992)

What is the data number for?

>We want you to use this mailing address because the first month this service
>is active, we will be only accepting orders pre-paid by check. At some 
>later date, we will start accepting Fortune 2000 corporate PO's and 
>Master Charge/Visa.  We will send an announcement to this news group 
>when we're ready to handle full-scale distribution(along with pricing.

Wow! You really expect this to get big, huh? Why the interest to put so
much time, effort and money into distributing Linux, nonprofit? I don't
want to question your motives, but what exactly can be gained out of this?
Is directing the Syntropy Institute your full time job? What else is your
organization currently involved in?

>Randy Burns, Director, Syntropy Institute
>
>NOTE: This distribution service is not being conducted with the 
>endorsement of anyone involved in the  Linux development effort. It is 
>being set up in response to a post I sent a while back suggesting that 
>Linux be made available in diskette form. The distribution is being 
>conducted under the auspices of a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Our 
>intent is to distribute linux largely for the benefit of students and 
>small educational institutions.  

This is where I have a problem - as a student, I'd hate to think that
*any* student (or anyone for that matter) had to pay for Linux or the
related tools and utilities; that is, in my mind, against the total
"spirit" of what Linus Torvalds has sparked, and I would hope most of
the independant developers would see it this way. If someone (-especially-
a student) asked me to help them acquire what they needed to get Linux
going, I would do it for free (assuming I wasn't knee-deep in an OS
project of my own :{ ) There are relatively few places in this world
that are that far removed from an Internet connection, and most sysadmin's
I know (I work for UNIX Operations and Support at my school, and am
working as an assistant systems administrator for a Fortune 50 company
for the summer) would be happy to help another school or group of students
acquire something off the net.

If no one else sees this as I see it, okay; I've been wrong at least a
dozen times before :^), but it just doesn't sit well with me....sorry
for the huge amount of bandwidth I've just created!

        JMS

>Syntropy Institute has been involved in 
>a variety of charitable projects including assisting in TraNet's 
>distribution of a 100 book appropriate technology library to people's 
>development organizations in the Third World.

-- 
*******************************************************************************
 Jeffrey M. Simon              .o   o.       Computer Science / Business Mgmt.
 jmsimon@acsu.buffalo.edu       ~~v~~        State University of NY at Buffalo
***** "Perspiration = ( Genius - 1% Inspiration ) / .99" -Ein*kinda*stein *****

From: wirzeniu@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Lars Wirzenius)
Subject: Re: Linux Diskette Distribution
Date: 11 Aug 92 13:59:36 GMT

jmsimon@acsu.buffalo.edu (JMS) writes:
>Why should anyone buy more than 1 copy from you? If everything is freely
>distributable, they could arguably spend $60 for a copy, then make their
>own copies to sell; total Linux anarchy :)

They might not want to do the replication themselves.  Making five
copies of a a couple of dozen diskettes is not particularly fun.

>I would like to know how the key players in Linux development (anyone who
>has contributed in some way, unlike me, yet :* ) feel about this sort of
>distribution; it would bother me if these people didn't have some sort of
>"say" about how this distribution was being done - maybe they can be made
>the "board of directors" of this nonprofit organization, if they were
>interested?

I'm not a key player in Linux development but I do know that Linux is
distributed under the GNU Public License and that allows this kind of
distribution (i.e.  charging good money for it, not just reproduction
costs).  It doesn't allow restricting the customer, however.  (This is a
frequent topic in gnu.misc.discuss, and the conclusion is always the
same.)  IMHO that if Linux developers don't want to allow for
distribution-for-profit they shouldn't be using the GPL.

Some software for Linux (X at least) is distributed under more forgiving
rules, or at least different copyrights.

--
Lars.Wirzenius@helsinki.fi

From: djansa@aphrodite.cs.wisc.edu (Dean Jansa)
Subject: Re: Linux Diskette Distribution
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1992 15:22:47 GMT

In article <BstKFM.Kzz@acsu.buffalo.edu> jmsimon@acsu.buffalo.edu (JMS) writes:
>In article <3480@key.COM> rburns@key.COM (Randy Burns) writes:
>>We realize that Linux is a ways from being ready for prime-time, but there
>>are a lot of little details to take care of in setting up software 
>>distribution(i.e. arranging for sales tax id, business license, management
>>of a mailing list , arranging to accept phone orders with Master
>>Charge/Via etc., packaging )-we want to make sure that a good distribution
>>setup is ready when Linux matures. The price we are shooting for is 
>>$59.95(plus sales tax for California residents) and a cost to resellers
>>and institutions of $40.00 (in quantities of 5 or more).
>
>Why should anyone buy more than 1 copy from you? If everything is freely
>distributable, they could arguably spend $60 for a copy, then make their
>own copies to sell; total Linux anarchy :)
>
>This is where I have a problem - as a student, I'd hate to think that
>*any* student (or anyone for that matter) had to pay for Linux or the
>related tools and utilities; that is, in my mind, against the total
>"spirit" of what Linus Torvalds has sparked, and I would hope most of
>the independant developers would see it this way. If someone (-especially-
>a student) asked me to help them acquire what they needed to get Linux
>going, I would do it for free (assuming I wasn't knee-deep in an OS
>project of my own :{ ) There are relatively few places in this world
>that are that far removed from an Internet connection, and most sysadmin's
>I know (I work for UNIX Operations and Support at my school, and am
>working as an assistant systems administrator for a Fortune 50 company
>for the summer) would be happy to help another school or group of students
>acquire something off the net.
>
>If no one else sees this as I see it, okay; I've been wrong at least a
>dozen times before :^), but it just doesn't sit well with me....sorry
>for the huge amount of bandwidth I've just created!
>
>       JMS

I have to agree 100% with you.  The main reason I am so excited about
Linux is thats is free, and the best damn OS I have ever used on a PC!!
Linus and Co. worked hard to get this project going, and it has lit
a fire under me!!  I tell everyone about it, and help them get it if
needed.

Being a student, I know money is not that easy to come up with.  I would
hate to see a student not be able to get linux because they can't come
up with 60 bucks.  19 disks??  What on earth are you giving them?  I got
the mcc release on 4!  5 more for X!!  I _know_ that doesn't cost
$60 bucks.  Any student would be willing to pay for the disks, but 60 
bucks??

Let's keep Linux alive and well, and FREE!!

Dean Jansa

From: wirzeniu@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Lars Wirzenius)
Subject: Re: Linux Diskette Distribution
Date: 11 Aug 92 16:20:54 GMT

djansa@aphrodite.cs.wisc.edu (Dean Jansa) writes:
>Let's keep Linux alive and well, and FREE!!

The word free has several meanings and not all of them are "no cost". 
One of them is (more or less) "not restricted".  The GNU Public License
(which is the copyright for Linux) uses this meaning.

This is a common flame bait in gnu.misc.discuss, and I think it should
be discussed there.

--
Lars.Wirzenius@helsinki.fi

From: eric@tantalus.dell.com (Eric Youngdale)
Subject: Re: Linux Diskette Distribution
Date: 11 Aug 92 16:59:55 GMT

In article <1992Aug11.152247.5160@cs.wisc.edu> 
djansa@aphrodite.cs.wisc.edu (Dean Jansa) writes:
>I have to agree 100% with you.  The main reason I am so excited about
>Linux is thats is free, and the best damn OS I have ever used on a PC!!
>Linus and Co. worked hard to get this project going, and it has lit
>a fire under me!!  I tell everyone about it, and help them get it if
>needed.

>Being a student, I know money is not that easy to come up with.  I would
>hate to see a student not be able to get linux because they can't come
>up with 60 bucks.  19 disks??  What on earth are you giving them?  I got
>the mcc release on 4!  5 more for X!!  I _know_ that doesn't cost
>$60 bucks.  Any student would be willing to pay for the disks, but 60 
>bucks??

        As long as you have net access, it is true.  You can get linux without
having to pay a dime.  But let us say that you wanted to distribute linux and
sell it at cost.  To start with, you would need to buy floppy discs.  I think
that the 1.44 probably go for around 1$ right now, but you might do a little
better than that.  Next each of these need to be formatted.  That is not a fun
job and no one is going to do it for free just because linux is so great.
Ditto for copying the distribution to the discs and printing labels for the
discs.  Let us assume that you hire someone at minimum wage to do these tasks.
You would also need to buy a couple of PC's to be used for duplicating discs
(let us assume that you are running this out of your basement so you do not
have to pay for electricity and rent).  Finally, you will need to buy boxes of
some kind, and pay for postage.  Standing in line at the post office is about
as much fun as formatting diskettes, so you would probably have your minimum
wage person doing this as well, or you would have to buy a postage meter.  You
would also have your hired grunt open the mail, process orders, take checks to
the bank, fill out the paperwork for Mastercard/Visa, and order supplies
(discs, labels, boxes, etc).  (Given these tasks I doubt that a minimum
wage-type person would be suitable).  $60 for 19 discs works out to about 3$ a
disc.  This does not strike me as being that unreasonable.

        The GPL requires that you receive the source code for each program in
addition to the binaries.  It is true that you could pack most of the binaries
on 4 or 5 discs, but this would not be "free" in the sense that you would not
have source code.  There are frequent discussions on some of the gnu.* lists as
to exactly what "free" means, but the point of the GPL is that you should be
free to make modifications to the program, and you should be free to distribute
the source code and binaries to other people.  (I should also point out that
RMS and co. charges about 200$ per tape with Emacs or GCC on it, and no one
feels that this is unreasonable).  From the "copying file":

          When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
        price.  Specifically, the General Public License is designed to make
        sure that you have the freedom to give away or sell copies of free
        software, that you receive source code or can get it if you want it,
        that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free
        programs; and that you know you can do these things.


        One of the freedoms that you do have with the GPL is that you can get
together with some friends and buy one set of diskettes and then pass them
around, and not break the law.  If you do this, then your costs are quite a bit
less than 60$.

>
>Let's keep Linux alive and well, and FREE!!
>
>Dean Jansa

-Eric
--
Eric Youngdale
eric@tantalus.nrl.navy.mil

From: welshm@snail.rtp.dg.com (Matt Welsh)
Subject: Re: Linux Diskette Distribution
Date: 11 Aug 92 21:21:35 GMT

[ About selling Linux to students, educational institutions, etc. ]

No, no, NO! That's what I say. Simply because I don't think Linux
should ever be subjected to pressure from the commercial sector. 
And I don't think that it's the kind of operating system we want
students and teachers, etc. trying to "depend on" for educational
reasons, because it is such a "work-in-progress". Don't we all
agree that Linux is, in a sense, a "hacker's" OS? It's the perfect
chance for all of those UNIX kernel and software development
hackers out there to really build and shape a product. 

I think it would be a big mistake to start marketing Linux as a
tool for J. Random Student. Not that it shouldn't be available to
everyone, but rather if it's seen as a commercial product, then
people are going to start to feel like those behind Linux development
are obligated to make it work a certain way, instead of being able
to freely make changes, overhaul the entire thing, make older
versions completely obsolete, and all of that other wonderful
(no sarcasm intended) impromptu changing of the system. 

I think having Linux available on disk for a nominal fee
(like the GNU project distributes tapes of its software)
is a WONDERFUL idea, but marketing it as a commerical product
is a bad idea.

Go ahead, flame me, but I don't want to see Linux as another
grubby commercial OS. And besides, once you start marketing it,
the bug reports are going to start rolling in... :-)

Does anyone here think that Linux is in a state where students
and educational institutions should start implementing it
wide-scale? I dunno.

mdw

Matt Welsh    welshm@dg-rtp.dg.com        ...!mcnc!rti!dg-rtp!welshm
UNIX-SQA, Data General Corporation RTP        Office: +1 919 248 6070
  "Where's the KABOOM?! There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering KABOOM!!"

From: nelson@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Subject: Linux Diskette Distribution 
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 92 17:38:13 GMT

In article <1992Aug11.152247.5160@cs.wisc.edu> djansa@aphrodite.cs.wisc.edu writes:

   Being a student, I know money is not that easy to come up with.  I would
   hate to see a student not be able to get linux because they can't come
   up with 60 bucks.  19 disks??  What on earth are you giving them?  I got
   the mcc release on 4!  5 more for X!!  I _know_ that doesn't cost
   $60 bucks.  Any student would be willing to pay for the disks, but 60 
   bucks??

   Let's keep Linux alive and well, and FREE!!

Excellent!  Anyone who wants a free copy of Linux should send 19
floppies to Dean Jansa.

NOT!

Lookit, Dean, $60 / 19 = $3/disk plus $3 S&H.  Sorry, but that's
about as close to free as *anyone* can get.  Just becuase *you* have
umpteen megabits per second access to the Internet, others of us
DON'T.  I'll be more than pleased to spend $60 on these guys...

-russ <nelson@crynwr.com>  I'm proud to be a humble Quaker!
Crynwr Software            Crynwr Software sells packet driver support.
11 Grant St.               315-268-1925 Voice
Potsdam, NY 13676          315-268-9201 FAX

			        About USENET

USENET (Users’ Network) was a bulletin board shared among many computer
systems around the world. USENET was a logical network, sitting on top
of several physical networks, among them UUCP, BLICN, BERKNET, X.25, and
the ARPANET. Sites on USENET included many universities, private companies
and research organizations. See USENET Archives.

		       SCO Files Lawsuit Against IBM

March 7, 2003 - The SCO Group filed legal action against IBM in the State 
Court of Utah for trade secrets misappropriation, tortious interference, 
unfair competition and breach of contract. The complaint alleges that IBM 
made concentrated efforts to improperly destroy the economic value of 
UNIX, particularly UNIX on Intel, to benefit IBM's Linux services 
business. See SCO vs IBM.

The materials and information included in this website may only be used
for purposes such as criticism, review, private study, scholarship, or
research.

Electronic mail:			       WorldWideWeb:
   tech-insider@outlook.com			  http://tech-insider.org/