Subject: Economics of software distribution
From: nick@NSIS.CL.NEC.CO.JP (Gavin Thomas Nicol)
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 93 09:00:32 JST

>> 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.
>
>And that's precisely wrong.  I bet there are fifty personal calendar
>managers that run under Microsoft Windows -- each one written by a
>bored or hyperactive programmer in some company somewhere.  They're
>kicking around among the local users and their friends, in slightly
>buggy binary versions.  And none of them know about each other, and
>none of this software will either be made commercial or be made free.
>Unless we get the word out that it's more fun and less work if you
>share your sources and distribution rights.

Exactly! When this thread started I said I saw a lot of potential in
the growing number of programmers, and people with reasonable machines
in their home, if only they were coordinated. Wouldn't it be great if
everyone helped each other rather than reinventing the wheel?

Still, you only need to look at simtel to get a feeling of where
people are coming from. Everyone writes their own application, hoping
it'll become popular, and hoping people will pay the shareware
registration fees, and never supplying source. Very few succeed, and
finally the programmer throw aways the disk with the source on it,
because to him it's worthless, and the cycle begins again.

What a waste....