Subject: Re: Will freeware change the business forever?
From: Brian Bartholomew <bb@wv.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 16:23:06 -0400

Here's the response I sent to the article's author, Michael Vizard:

> has IBM in its effort to halt Microsoft's growth into the enterprise
> sown the seeds of destruction for the industry's economic software
> model?

These seeds were sewn 30 years ago by the first programmers who shared
programs they wrote with their buddies.

> Or have we reached a point where the actual price of software is
> irrelevant compared to the cost of implementing and maintaining that
> software?

Neither.  Since magtape was invented, the cost of distributing
software has been nearly free and unrelated to the cost of making that
software.  The software industry's economic model is an industrial age
one, based on the premise that it costs real resources to duplicate
objects.  That premise isn't true for software and never has been.
What you're seeing is the software industry starting to compete on
cost.  That competition will increase until current notions of
intellectual property are replaced with ones that exploit and showcase
nearly free digital duplication.


League for Programming Freedom (LPF) ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/lpf/patents.text
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Brian Bartholomew - bb@wv.com - www.wv.com - Working Version, Cambridge, MA