Subject: Re: So what is an FSB anyway?
From: "Steven D Ourada" <sourada@iastate.edu>
Date: Tue, 02 Feb 93 15:00:38 CST


>  o Are the GPL's ends (freely copyable + full source availability +
>    "virus" nature) the same as those needed by a FSB?

Full source availabilty is not necessarily something a FSB would want.
Although it could be considered a conflict of interest (in the sense
used in another question below), a FSB could make more money on support if
it could effectively demand that customers pay them for any changes
made to the software. Of course, by distributing the source, they can benefit
from the changes made by others.

It probably depends on the intended market: people using a program
as a tool for other work (say a secretary using a word processor) wouldn't
care to have source, and wouldn't change it if they could; 'hacker types'
who want to customize and fix programs they use would want source. An
FSB should take this into account when deciding whether or not to distribute
source.


>  o A FSB that sells support has an incentive to do a poor job (not
>    fix all the bugs).  Of course, they also have an incentive to do
>    a good job.  All in all, they need to keep their customers happy,
>    but they also have to give their customers a reason to continue
>    purchasing support.  In my experience, users who have no problems
>    have no need for support either.

Besides the examples you listed in markets other than software, I'm pretty
sure that there are at least a few software companies (I won't mention names)
that do a poor job intentionally so they can make more money off updates. If
they are careful and have good marketing, they can even make the bugginess
of their software a _positive_ virtue in the eyes of customers :-). I would
hope that FSB's would concentrate on better ways to keep customers interested
in using their support.

I don't have any stats on what portion of support is bug fixing (does someone
on the list?), but I'm sure that there are ways to make money off support
without leaving bugs hanging around on purpose.


                     Later,
                    Steven Ourada
>-- 
>-russ <nelson@crynwr.com> What canst *thou* say?
>Crynwr Software           Crynwr Software sells packet driver support.
>11 Grant St.              315-268-1925 Voice  |  LPF member - ask me about
>Potsdam, NY 13676         315-268-9201 FAX    |  the harm software patents do.