Sunday, April 06, 2008

source code trivia

From the start, SigBlips utilized the services business model to support the development of the baudline signal analyzer. Customers pay for the addition of new features and custom modifications. More baudline users lead to a larger pool of potential customers which lead to more paying customers. The key with the success of this model is to get as large a product distribution as possible. It's all about the numbers.

Back in 2001 Red Hat had just finished a very successful IPO and they were the dominant Linux distribution for scientific desktop users. Red Hat seemed like a perfect match for finding more baudline customers and improving our fledgling services model. So at Linux World 2001 we talked to a couple managers at the Red Hat booth about including baudline in the Red Hat distribution. We made an offer of open sourcing the code if baudline would be included in a future Red Hat release. We thought it was a very generous offer but to our surprise and great disappointment the offer was rejected.

Several years later. Still wanting to increase our baudline user base, we decided to attempt the open source mass distribution route again. We signed up and submitted an application to VA Software's Source Forge. Again, to our great surprise and disappointment our offer was rejected. The reason was something ridiculous about baudline not being useful. Who would of thought that Source Forge rejects applications? Well they do.

After the disillusionment of being rejected by Linux's two most successful IPO'd companies we decided to reevaluate our open source strategy and ask some very intriguing questions. What is the value of source code? How best can it be monetized? Can operating in the free software space be profitable? Careful analysis of these questions is how the hybrid SigBlips dual licensing model happened to be. Today, the source code for the baudline signal analyzer can be purchased.

7 comments:

Ico said...

This is disappointing indeed, especially sourceforge refusing baudline is almost unbelievable!

A good way to get your software accepted in the open source community might be to just publish the sources on your own site, and file a report to the debian database requesting somebody to pick up baudline as a package maintainer. This way baudline will end up in both debian and Ubuntu.

Debian has a big user base in academic circles, and ubuntu is on its way to outgrow all other linux distributions like Redhat and Suse.

All I can say is that I *really* hope baudline will end up as open source one of these days; its the only free available tool I know with this large number of features, it's like the gimp for DSP!

Keep it up, you *do* have fans ! :)

Kyle E said...

I also was rather stunned to hear that sourceforge refused you. How many duplicate projects do they have but they don't accept something original like baudline.

As the previous poster said gimp for DSP you don't get much cooler than that.

You really have to question the geek cred of the people that reviewed the application.

Oh well I vote for debian also, its what I use.

baudline said...

I know, the concept of SourceForge having a quality control system is amazing. Who would of thought that a basic application submission could be denied? The moral of the story is that it's not easy trying to give something away for free!

Getting baudline rejected by SourceForge was a shocking experience but it was also an eye opener. It asked the question of what is the value of the baudline source code? Is the answer really less than zero? How much does the free market think it is worth?

Ico said...

So, just interested: has there been any progress since this post ? What are sigblips future plans with the source and licensing ?

Ico said...

Hi Sigblips/baudline,

Is there any chance you would give it another try to release the source of baudline ? I would love to see it maintained and available in the future!

baudline said...

The baudline source code is available for purchase but interest in it has been low. I'm not sure source code has any value.

A long time ago I gave Red Hat and SourceForge a window of opportunity. They could of done something, for free, that would of helped my baudline business. They weren't interested. That window closed. Times have changed and their support no longer has any value.

Funny how everything is approaching zero. That is the riddle of Free.

skaar'j said...

Guys, that's really bad. Baudline is useful to any PhD engineer in electronics, signal processing, computer hardware, radio locating (radar), radio spectrum monitoring, even in intelligent well drilling! it's possible that nobody at sourceforge has any PhD degree in technics. Greetings from Romania.