Subject: Re: developers & marketing
From: Bob Weiner <>
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 22:23:41 -0800

>>>>> "RN" == Russell Nelson <> writes:

   RN> Businesses spend HUGE amounts of money to
   RN> get the word out about their product.  Freed software has an ace up
   RN> its floppy disk sleeve, however.  Freed software gets marketed every
   RN> time someone gives away a copy.  It's word-of-mouth advertising writ
   RN> large.  It's the biggest Multi-Level-Marketing system in the world.

   RN> This is something that proprietary software can't touch, by definition.

Unless of course you consider the billions of copies of demo software that
companies routinely allow people to download off the web these days.  The
potential user gets to experience the produce in most of its full glory with
some key facility disabled that creates enough of a drive for him to pay
for the regular version if it meets his need.

So, unfortunately, proprietary software gets to use this same kind of
hand-off procedure to bolster its market spread but lacks the constraint that
limits the future economic transaction.  In fact, I would argue that the GPL
itself tends to incent vendors like Altrasoft and Cygnus to distribute their
software less widely than they might otherwise (if they could produce a
technology-based transaction after software delivery rather than before).