> We have quite a lot of semi-finished new features here
> (including Shoutcast) but without demand from marketing
> they won't make it out of the building.
Do you think you could get Rio to authorize unofficial, geek-oriented updates? Slap a "beta" label on 'em and you can disavow the company of just about any responsibilty whatsoever (or just let Microsoft sell it, has about the same effect
I know you've got a whole slew of geeky-geeks (myself included) who would jump at a chance to stress-test such a beta (and feedback with new feature requests and suggestions).
Would they be agreeable to (and would you be interested in) a semi-closed community of more active geeks who could work with you to help improve the product, better protocol, etc.? I've got a lot of ideas that might either drive / modify some of your approach, or get totally broken by whatever your next release is, so I'm really keen on getting involved, somewhere, somehow...
You could bill it as "market research," then when the geeks start using it, and modifying the open-source servers to supply the same features, you can point Marketing at those sites and say "see? People love these new features, give us $$ to make it stable and have a release soon." Or somesuch.
You don't even need to release source code to accomlish this -- just frank, close, technical exchanges of ideas, information, protocols, etc. Though I do wonder if you wouldn't get a whole lot more development done with an open-source (or even just NDA'd) 3rd party development project...
Just thoughts...I'm sure they've been discussed to death here (and in your board rooms) before...