Subject: Re: Opportunity lost? Challenge declined!?
From: Seth Gordon <>
Date: 10 May 2001 16:55:12 -0000

   Adam Theo:
   2 programs, both in version 2.00 (which is when i decided i would try
   and make some money off them). one is an alarm clock program written
   in perl, the other, a timer/stop watch program, also in perl. both now
   allow for multiple alarms/timers going on at the same time, and both
   use an xml config file to store information. v1.00's just were basic
   little things, not much. now that i have something i'm not entirely
   ashamed of, thought about trying to sell them for about $3 each or
   something small like that...

Why should anyone pay $3/copy for an alarm-clock or stop-watch
program?  As you've described it, the functionality seems so trivial
that if I needed such a program, and no free version existed, I'd
rather write it myself than drop three bucks on someone else's
program.  Yes, the time it would take me to write it is probably worth
more than $3, but I would treat it as an opportunity to practice using
Perl/Tk, and if I worked for an organization of people who needed the
same program, the cost of my labor would be spread across the

If your software has more complex functions that I need, then I
wouldn't want to buy the program without some assurance that they
work.  Your offer to let me view the source doesn't really give me
such assurance, since (a) I may not have the time to audit a product's
source code before deciding whether or not to buy it; (b) if I have
the faintest interest in ever writing a program that does something
similar to yours, I want to make sure *not* to see your source code,
because if I ever do implement my idea, I don't want to accidentally
infringe your copyright.  So if you have a competitor who doesn't
reveal any source code but has customers willing to vouch for the
product's quality, while you have no customers but are willing to show
me your "source under glass", I'd go with the competitor.

Ethical questions aside, for the above reasons, I think "source under
glass" only works if you're the 800-pound gorilla in your market
niche, like Sun or Microsoft, and therefore you have customers who are
so eager to have your product that they're even willing to donate

"Rav would never cross a bridge when an idolator was on it; he said, 'Maybe he
will be judged and I will be taken with him.'  Shmuel would only cross a
bridge when an idolator was on it; he said, 'Satan cannot rule two nations [at
once].'  Rabbi Yannai would examine [the bridge] and cross."  --Shabbat 32a
== Seth Gordon == == == std. disclaimer ==