Subject: Re: Economic incentives to produce software in a free software regime
From: Crispin Cowan <>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 21:16:35 +0000

"Karsten M. Self" wrote:

> Crispin Cowan wrote:
> > > >>>>> "Crispin" == Crispin Cowan <> writes:
> > >     Crispin> Really?  "Nice car, eh?  Want tires with that?"
> > >     Crispin> Unbundling of essential stuff was a standard tactic with
> > >     Crispin> sleazy car dealerships before I was born.
> Point of reference:  Pickup trucks are sold without bumpers in the US.

That observation was in my original "car sales" post, but was cut from the

> As one starts encountering less mainstream, products, or products in
> which specialization and options are important and manifold, unbundled
> pricing becomes more common -- and accepted.

Interesting.  Probably its the other way around:  with higher volumes, margins
matter more, and the cost of supporting rich combinations of options becomes

>  - Tying:  bundling, without the option to purchase the unbundled
> components.
> Bundling is legal.  Tying can be construed as monopolistic activity.

So I can go *demand* to buy a car without bumpers & tires?  Or is that
special-cased away by FTSB rules about "cars must have bumpers, seat belts,
headlights ...."

> ...and it's quite possible that widespread software piracy will *reduce*
> the market price of the legitimate good, as piracy (shared copies or


> As an ironic sidenote, the Register suggests that the
> wide availability of pirated Microsoft software in Poland has dampened
> the demand for Linux there (maybe we should support stronger anti-piracy
> efforts in LDCs

That's interesting.  It's the opposite of the effect observed in Africa
(reference long lost) where (apparently) the pork^W extensive system requirements
of things like NT make Linux appealing:  even if both Linux and Windows are
effectively "free", Linux runs on cheaper hardware because it is leaner.

Crispin Cowan, CTO, WireX Communications, Inc.
Free Hardened Linux Distribution: