Subject: Re: Software Insurance.
From: "R. Brock Lynn" <>
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 03:21:15 -0500

Russell Nelson wrote:

Here's my take on Software Insurance:

I have a much broader, and disorganized web site here:

Have a gander. It's a mixture of general philosophical writings mixed up with
specific GPL and Free Software related rantings. %-)

I go kookoo for cocoa free software puffs. ;^)

p.s.: Hey Miguel how's everything. I met you at last years USENIX and at ALS
last October. I have a picture of you and your armada from ALS. And I'll be
giving a talk at a BoF at the upcoming USENIX in Monterey on how GPL Free
Software just makes the most sense for the long run... that is if I don't
chicken out... But I have a history of not chickening out, and just "winging it"
anyway... 8^)

> [ Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza are starting a business to sell
>   support for Gnome.  I'd meant to explain how support-as-insurance
>   works while at LinuxExpo, but a long explanation in the fan club
>   surrounding them was simply impossible.  You two can subscribe if
>   you want by sending mail to ]
> R. Brock Lynn writes:
>  > Anyone ever thought about it?
> Yes.  You have to work hard to eliminate free riders.  For insurance
> to "work" (that is, spread risk), you have to ensure that your pool
> has a well-balanced amount of risk.  If you allow anyone to sign on
> regardless of their level of risk, you'll end up having to charge a
> fee commensurate with fee-for-support.  For most people, that's too
> expensive.
> Essentially, to sell support-as-insurance, you have to become an
> insurance company.  Somehow, proprietary software companies manage to
> sell such support without becoming insurance companies.  They probably
> do so because 1) they can bundle the support with the product, which
> greatly increases their pool size, and 2) they have a monopoly on
> selling support.
> IMHO, we need to get some insurance company executives interested in
> this idea.  After all, doctors don't sell insurance to patients, they
> sell services to insurance companies.

---------------------  PGP key ID: FED76A3D <> 4 / 5 / 1999

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