Subject: Re: How accurate is Metcalfe's law? (Was: Ximian software)
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 04 Jan 2002 21:46:07 -0800

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org> writes:

> >>>>> "Ian" == Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com> writes:
> 
>     Ian> But the only true scarcity in the software world is people's
>     Ian> time, and software licensing is not closely tied to that
>     Ian> resource.
> 
> Software licensing is _all about_ compensating people's time, because
> it's the only[1] way to link the value of the developer's time to the
> value received by users (including downstream developers).

Yes, of course software licensing is intended to compensate people for
the time they put in.  What I am claiming is that software licensing
is not related to that time in a meaningful way.  It would be related
if, for example, programs which took longer to write, or were harder
to write, cost more money.  But this isn't even approximately true;
compare the selling price of Windows and BEA Weblogic.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that software licensing is the
only way to link developer time to user value.  That statement seems
obviously false--consider contract programming for free software, as
in what Cygnus did--so I'm not sure what you mean by it.

Ian