Subject: Re: Economics of software distribution
From: ghost@ALADDIN.COM (L. Peter Deutsch)
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 93 17:31:20 PDT

> Sooner or later though,
> someone *will* make applications with mass-market appeal (I know,
> because I have plans to do exactly that), and rather than make money
> from the software per-se, they will make it from selling manuals,

Copylefted?  If not, why not?  If so, I guess they will have to compete on
production quality with copies made from them?

> or teaching people how to use it (in-company training courses such as
> those for Excel). 

That's exactly the kind of labor-intensive activity that I don't see
working out in the long run.  I guess I could summarize the point of my
previous message as follows.  If you are being paid only for your time,
then you have to make enough money on your paid, labor-intensive
activities to pay for *both* the rest of your life *and* the time you
spend writing software that you distribute for no more than cost.  The
free software ethic seems to demand this.  But this seems to imply that
authors of free software have to charge higher rates for those
labor-intensive activities than people who pay for those same activities
with the sale of "unfree" software, or else be motivated by idealism and
be willing to accept less reward for the same quality of product.

I'll be looking forward with great interest to free software products
targeted to the mass market of PC users.

L. Peter Deutsch :: Aladdin Enterprises :: P.O. box 60264, Palo Alto, CA 94306, ...decwrl!aladdin!ghost ; voice 415-322-0103 ; fax 322-1734
	    "Implementation is the sincerest form of flattery."