[racket] consulting and open source Racket enhancements

From: Neil Van Dyke (neil at neilvandyke.org)
Date: Wed Sep 25 14:23:56 EDT 2013

Lawrence Woodman wrote at 09/25/2013 01:50 AM:
> On 24/09/13 23:28, Neil Van Dyke wrote:
>> Anyway, I'm thinking of starting a side business of developing 
>> general-purpose Racket packages on demand -- modules that satisfy all 
>> clients' requirements and are incidentally open-sourced. Perhaps with 
>> some discount over normal rates in consideration of the package being 
>> open-sourced.  Of course, separate from that, I'll continue to 
>> open-source modules that I develop for my personal projects 
>> ("http://www.neilvandyke.org/racket/").  Anyone have input?
> I probably wouldn't offer a discount for open source as it muddies the 
> waters and it can often make good business sense for a client to 
> release a module as open-source.

I think you're right in general.  I was thinking about different scenarios.

The ideal scenario is with clients who really believe in practical 
benefits of being a full participant in open source.

Another scenario is when the client is indifferent to open-sourcing, but 
they believe in hiring&retaining top talent, and they're willing to open 
source some things to attract&retain that talent.  (Some of the 
GNU/Linux distro vendors worked this to attract some of the better 
talent, and I still know people who will only work on open source.  
Similarly, ITA Software worked the "we let you program in Lisp" to 
attract better talent than I believe they could've otherwise.)

Another scenario is when the client's decision-makers don't see 
sufficient value in either of those open source angles, but they see 
they can save some cash on this expensive consultant if they open source 
general-purpose modules that they have no incentive to keep proprietary 
anyway.  As you pointed out, I avoid discounts for for-profits, because 
it's usually not appropriate and sustainable.  But I suppose a discount 
could be an option for working with the client's priorities, taking into 
consideration whatever external value I might see in open-sourcing some 
things.  It's an option I'm toying with, and might not be worth 
complicating things over.

Neil V.

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