the endless stream of examples... Re: GPLv3 - Update was: Re: [LINK] the slow motion gpl trainwreck

Stilgherrian stil at
Mon Jul 31 13:20:10 AEST 2006

On 31/7/06 12:46 PM, "Glen Turner" <glen.turner at> wrote:
> Similarly, the people at MySQL and the developers of Asterisk seem
> to be going just fine too. What is interesting is the low head
> count.  Not sure why. Perhaps it's less marketing and direct sales.

I don't think it's just that, though it's certainly a factor.

Commercial software companies are often trying to do the "float on the stock
market and become billionaires" thing as their prime aim. That means they
need to *look* like a Big Software Company, and that means having all the
job titles and glass-walled office buildings that go with it.

Venture capitalists simply aren't interested in investing in a business
unless it plans on becoming a certain size -- and that size is very big --
so the head count expands to meet this vision.

And, to confirm your point, they also *expect* a company to be spending at
least 35% of its budget on marketing, so that when the time comes to float,
enough people have heard of them to generate the "buzz" that leads to a
rapid rise in their share price.

(I didn't make up that number, 35% was the specific figure given to be my an
adviser to venture capitalists at the time I was working on just such a

Conversely, an open-source company is usually focussed on delivering
software that does a job. They may also wish to make money, but money for
*them*, not a third-party investor who wants to see rapid growth, and
usually without the voracious greed that goes with venture capital. So they
employ just the number of people they need to develop a product, no more.

As has been documented well in books like "The Mythical Man-Month", throwing
more people at a software project usually doesn't improve the result.
However, once you have that big development team, and the project is still
barely meeting its deadlines, you dare not cut back!


Stilgherrian <stil at>
Internet, IT and Media Consulting, Sydney, Australia. ABN 25 231 641 421
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