Subject: Economics of software distribution
From: Christopher Maeda <cmaeda@ERNST.MACH.CS.CMU.EDU>
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 93 02:55:43 EST

   Date: Wed, 17 Mar 93 21:59:17 -0800
   From: tiemann@CYGNUS.COM

   I read today that some 30,000 programmers are looking for
   work on the east coast, after having been laid off by their DoD and
   DoE employers (either the gov't themselves, or contractors for the
   gov't).
   If these guys were properly cooperating and coordinating their
   efforts, I'm sure they'd all still be funded, but instead they are all
   duplicating (badly) the work of everybody else, and together they
   collectively cut themselves out of the market.

Can you elaborate on this statement?  It sounds oversimplified to me.
Do you mean to say that if the defense industry worked together better
there would be no defense budget cutbacks?

   The question is: do you like the free software model enough to let go
   of the proprietary paradigm?  As long as you prefer to discount the
   fact that hundreds (or thousands) of people at universities and
   research institutions are doing (or could be doing) "R&D" that
   directly feeds commercial free software projects, you will have to
   live with the reality that free R&D is not possible.

But what started this thread is the question of how to bootstrap
"mass-market" free software.  This is precisely the kind of software
that universities and research institutions will *not* do because it's
not interesting.  No university research project is going to write
(eg) personal calendar managers that run under Microsoft Windows.