Ever since I discovered Free Software I was haunted by the problem of developing software sustainably. Today I would like to suggest a possible model which may be suitable to individual developers and small business. That is, distributing software using relaxed non Free Software license, combined with releasing each modification as Free Software a determined time after its introduction, or in other words - Delayed Release.
This approach may be inline with views expressed by Richard Stallman in an interesting article on Copyright by the title “Misinterpreting Copyright—A Series of Errors” (1). Referring to copyright on software he writes “In my own field, computer programming, three years should suffice”. Stallman does not reject copyright as a concept but is interested in “Finding the right bargain”.
Possibly the most well known scheme for developing Free Software profitably is that of charging for related services. The problem is this model requires business skills most software developers do not have and is often not even applicable.
With Delayed Release, software developers may have easier time developing Free Software profitably, leading to increase in production of Free Software. Once people find that ideals of Free Software can practically co-exist with their realities, those ideals will have easier time spreading.