Subject: Re: FW: Why would I pay for Ximian software?
From: Mike Linksvayer <ml@gondwanaland.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 00:12:36 -0500

On Wed, Jan 02, 2002 at 05:22:19PM -0500, Perry E. Metzger wrote:
> the thing will tend to be overconsumed and underproduced
> because there isn't a sufficient mechanism to reward the producer for
> their efforts given the amount of economic benefit derived by the
> consumer -- i.e. we get a "market failure".
[...]
> I'd like to think there is good reason to believe that the public
> goods/market failure theories that would traditionally be applied here
> aren't true. Note that I say "would like to think". However, there is
> some strong indicative evidence in this direction.

OSS overconsumed?  Evidence: MSWindoze 90%+ market share.

OSS underproduced? Evidence: How many free general purpose OSes,
                             desktops, productivity applications,
                             etc. can you use in a day?

Conclusion: OSS is underconsumed and overproduced.  "Market failure"
of a different sort.

This counter-intuitive market failure is caused by copyright rather
than any problem with free software.  Proprietary software has
crowded out free software in most markets (underconsumption).

Market leaders are nearly all proprietary, reducing the possibility
for dominant free software packages to arise which would concentrate
developers' energies on these best of breed packages rather than
scattering free software energy among many semi-viable projects
(overproduction).

A facile argument no doubt.  I post because the argument seems
obvious yet I haven't heard it, and market failure bugs me. :)

--
  Mike Linksvayer
  http://gondwanaland.com/ml/