Subject: Re: Economics of software distribution
From: "Russell Nelson" <nelson@CRYNWR.COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1993 23:40:11 EST

On Tue, 16 Mar 93 15:45:23 PDT, "L. Peter Deutsch" <ghost@ALADDIN.COM> wrote:

> Similarly, you can't not provide free support and be competitive.

There is no such thing as free support.  I think you're referring to
pre-paid support.

> Individual end-users aren't in the market for additional services.

But nonetheless, they want their software to work.

> So for someone to create mass market free software, they have to do
> a lot more work (writing good documentation is very hard, and
> writing good end-user-oriented software is extremely hard),


> there is no "cost-free" distribution mechanism for it like the
> Internet,

"it"?  You mean mass-market free software?  Ahhh, but shareware
houses and BBSes are very happy to distribute free software.  For a
fee, there's even a company that will upload your software to dozens
of BBSes and shareware manufacturers.

> Especially if the documentation is also copylefted (and I
> don't see why documentation should be treated differently from the
> software it describes),

Ahhh, but, while you *do* see people writing free software, you don't
see people writing free books.  Perhaps they might if they realized
that they could get free distribution from shareware houses.

> Certainly the conclusion is accurate: There is no copylefted mass-market
> software.  What do other people think about the hypotheses?

Well, my Painter's Apprentice is copylefted, although I haven't tried
to distribute the copylefted version of it.  I've never gotten any
huge amount of money from it over the past few years, maybe $1,000
per year.  Then again, that's from shareware, not free software.

-russ <> What canst *thou* say?
Crynwr Software           Crynwr Software sells packet driver support.
11 Grant St.              315-268-1925 Voice  |  LPF member - ask me about
Potsdam, NY 13676         315-268-9201 FAX    |  the harm software patents do.