Subject: Re: the Free Software Movement in Industry
From: "Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona" <jgb@gsyc.escet.urjc.es>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 20:48:10 +0200 (CEST)

Seth Gordon writes:
 >     > Company A is not willing to pay for development that company B could
 >     > later get *for free*.  However, if it saves Company A money up front,
 >     > it would be happy to pay for development that company B would get
 >     > later *for a price*.  (Assuming, of course, that the software vendor
 >     > is negotiating just as stiffly with B as with A.)
 > 
 >    [Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona:]
 >    Why for free? Why is the maker of the software be willing to provide
 >    it for free to B? In the situation you mention, only the maker and
 >    company A have the software. Therefore only the maker and A can
 >    redistribute it. You say that A is not willing to redistribute it, so
 >    you only left out the maker. But the maker is making a bussiness from
 >    selling the software. So probably is going to try to sell it to B
 >    too...
 > 
 >    Am I missing something obvious?
 > 
 > In that situation, company A might as well be purchasing a proprietary
 > software package, since none of the benefits of open-source
 > development apply to a product that the vendor and customer are
 > keeping to themselves.

Probably this is going too far without having a detailed scenario
about which to discuss. But just in case...

I admit this could be seen as an extreme case, but even here, without
wide redistribution, the customer may see benefits of libre software:

- If the provider is using widespread libre software components,
probably can offer a lower price/quality than propietary competition
(the customer benefits of libre software).

- The customer can later on contract maintenance with a third company
which could have knowledge on the widespread libre software
componentes and is willing to invest in knowing the rest of the
components. In other words: competence in the maintenance, you are not
locked in with your provider.

- The customer can later redistribute the software, in case they
perceive any advantage (tehy have the right to do so).

However, from the purchaser point of view, maybe they can find none of
these advantages for different reasons (or even get some of them by
caefully hammering a proprietary contract). But even in that case, what we
have it that libre products and proprietary products are
equal, from this customer point of view. All other things equal, the
best price/quality should win. Which may be the lbire software
solution or not, but that's just how things work usually...

Saludos,

         Jesus.

-- 
Jesus M. Gonzalez Barahona                | Grupo de Sistemas y Comunicaciones
jgb@gsyc.escet.urjc.es / jgb@computer.org | ESCET, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos 
tel: +34 91 664 74 67                     | c/ Tulipan s/n
fax: +34 91 664 74 90                     | 28933 Mostoles, Spain