Subject: Re: Computer Survey on perceived advantages of Open Source
From: Laurent GUERBY <laurent@guerby.net>
Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 13:50:40 +0200

On Sat, 2005-05-14 at 22:23 +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> You can usually see a product going bad in advance. [...]

Agreed! It's even more true with OSS since you can (or pay someone to)
evaluate current internal product quality and so have an idea of how
much support will cost in the long term, and of course you can't
do that at all with closed software (you just have rumours).

>     >> Normal market forces, ie competition on support not destroyed
>     >> by government granted monopolies thanks to the open source
> 
> [Competition on support is not destroyed by IP; it is simply made much
> more expensive and clumsier.  That expense and clumsiness may go on to
> destroy competition for support, but it's not a foregone conclusion.]

Of course this is where reverse engineering is allowed - is there any
country where this liberty is still of any practical use? Look at
DECSS. 
And then with software patents it's again much harder even after you
successfully reverse engineered and rewrote everything from scratch.

And for France it's not all theory, I funded a trial where a free
software developper (not selling his software) was recongnized guilty of
copyright violation because he wrote a better tool to read some
data format of a closed source software (case not made public
at the request for the developper, it didn't go to appeal and damage
were lots of money).

Legal cost and uncertainty for your customers...

Laurent