The current structure of the MS-OS-EC-PSA community is a complete mess. Before we all get into this stuff we should figure out exactly how everybody's going to be compensated for what they do. MS intends to continue being the ``shock troops'' of the community. We'll do the manufacturing, testing, advertising, mailing, phone answering, shipping, and receiving. OS, EC, and PSA will thus be freed to get development work done (although they are certainly welcome to do scuzz work if they wish!!). The cleanest arrangement for MS is to simply handle all work by OS-EC-PSA on a royalty basis, paid per item sold, credited upon sale. We would define the royalty as a percentage of the payment received by MS for the item sold, so discounted OEM sales would be attractive to MS to negotiate for.
MS will pay for the hardware and other out of pocket expenses involved in getting into the 68000. We will provide node boards to OS and PSA at cost, with payment deferred until offset by royalties. (EC, of course, will just keep a prototype of the node board).
MS would like to renegotiate the agreements for MIDAS software from PSA to the standard percentage royalty. This isn't to grab more money, it's to remove the ambiguity in OEM sales (e.g., if the royalty is a fixed price and we discount the package to 50% off to sell 20,000 of them, we'd end up losing money on the deal, so we can't pursue it). Also, we could promote those packages more aggressively.
Further, we must normalise the status of those packages initially developed and nominally owned by MS, which others have or are planning to enhance. We need to somehow make work on those packages pay off via a royalty or upgrade charge from sales of the package. We can't afford to let sidelines build up for these packages, especially if we're going to be moving them between processors.
We can help all these goals by unbundling the 68000 software as much as possible. If we eliminate the ``free software'' concept, we can at least handle royalty on a reasonable basis.
None of this implies that there's anything wrong with developing products and selling them directly. It's just that if we're going to go after large volume OEM sales, it's to the advantage of the developers of software to have it visible to all potential customers who may examine our software. We need to make something on the software we sell that way to defray the costs of learning it enough to answer questions and intelligently market it, to do the front line support, and to handle updates, etc.
Editor: John Walker