Subject: Re: a model of competition between free and proprietary software
From: "Brian J. Fox" <bfox@ua.com>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 02:53:31 -0700


   Date: 21 May 2001 02:53:29 -0000
   From: Seth Gordon <sethg@ropine.com>

      [Ian Lance Taylor:]
      One potential problem with this analysis is that it appears to assume
      that developer-hours are more or less equivalent.  But in the present
      state of the art in computer programming, that is not true....

   I think my analysis applies to programmer-quality as much to
   programmer-quantity.  If F is either very useful or "cool", then
   bright people will want to hack on it.  If P's sponsor is well-funded
   (or spends its funds wisely), it can afford to hire good programmers.

I'm a bright person, and I hack on things that I need.

I think that gnome is useful and cool, but you can't get me to hack on
it unless I believe that something I *need* won't appear without me
hacking on it.

On the other hand, when the only machine I had was an hp300, I hacked
the serial drivers for my particular model so that I could get e-mail.
This (very marginally) helped the development of NetBSD, never would
have been provided by HP, and could not have been provided to me in a
timely enough fashion otherwise.

People buy the things that they *need*.  So for an end-user bit of
software P, its success is dependent on the consumers perception of
need for that product.

There will always be a free web-server, a free database, a free window
system, a free editor, a free shell, etc., because programmers
perceive that they need such items.

There may never be a good free CAD system, because there is no
incentive for the proprietary CAD people to make one, and CAD users
can't do that job themselves.

Brian
== The Difference Between Cultures: ==
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