Subject: Value returned from free(d) software
From: "L. Peter Deutsch" <ghost@aladdin.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 97 10:03 PST

>> How do you feel
>> about the value you've gotten back in freed software that you use?

The responses seem to indicate that developers of libre software don't
consider the value of libre software they receive from the pool vs. the
value of libre software they contribute to the pool to be important.  This
suggests "I write libre software partly because by participating in the
libre software community I'll receive more value than I contribute" is not a
motivator for libre software developers, although I suspect those developers
*would* agree with the very similar-sounding "The more I support the ethos
of the libre software community by writing libre software, the more libre
software I can expect to be available (for me) to use."

The reason I think this is interesting is that to some extent, libre
software falls outside traditional economic analysis, and I think the above
indicates part of the reason it does so, namely that for developers, the
desire to maximize profit (value received minus value spent) doesn't apply
to the use-value of the software.  This leads to another interesting
question:

	How do you feel about the financial compensation that you've
	gotten back from your activity of developing libre software?

Someone posted here a couple of days ago (approximately): "The free software
model has failed as an economic model, since it can't pay the rent."  I
wonder how representative this is.

I hope these questions are interesting to this list as a way to help
identify what does and does not motivate developers to create libre
software, and perhaps suggest ways to interest more people in participating.

-- 

L. Peter Deutsch         |       Aladdin Enterprises :::: ghost@aladdin.com
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