Subject: Re: Studies
From: Bob Weiner <weiner@wave.altrasoft.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 00:47:23 -0800


>>>>> "KS" == Kragen Sitaker <kragen@dnaco.net> writes:

   KS> Netscape commissioned some studies to convince companies that building an
   KS> "Intranet" (sorry) is the Right Thing To Do.  These studies focused on
   KS> business concepts like return on investment and agility.

   KS> Have any similar studies been done on the use of free software?  They
   KS> could be a tremendously powerful marketing tool.

Marketing of what, one must ask?  Another trend we at Altrasoft have seen in
large companies is that people use free software downloaded off the net or
pulled of a CD-ROM, not because it is better or worse than proprietary
software, but because it allows them to avoid dealing with their slow and
cumbersome purchasing systems (which are probably in fact partially designed
this way on purpose to minimize non-critical purchasing).

Once you force such people to go through the purchasing system, the utility
equation changes drastically for them, and the very notion of free software
largely becomes irrelevant in many cases.  Thus, all the effort put behind
the free software model and all of the rights assigned often lose their value
in the context of commercial free software transactions at large firms where
the firm has no plans to redistribute the software (but only to use it for
internal purposes).

So you can convince them of the greatness of free software but it doesn't
mean they'll buy anything.  Alternatively, you can compete with Microsoft's
advertising budget and put a shrink wrapped free software package on the
shelf and hope people realize the value of free versus proprietary stuff.

Regards,

Bob