Subject: Re: [may be junkmail -pobox] Re: A few thoughts.
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen)
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 14:27:51 -0400 (EDT)

On Fri, 14 Aug 1998, David Welton wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 13, 1998 at 11:25:43PM -0400, Kragen wrote:
> > To address your other argument, which is a common one: it's true that
> > people won't take risks on innovation unless they can see that their
> > risks are likely to pay off somehow.  That may be financially through
> > licensing fees; it may be that they will build market share by being
> 
> This "market share" argument has never seemed to be a good one to me.
> You want market share, in a traditional sense, because it means you
> are selling more product.  If you make $0 from every copy, it really
> doesn't make a difference to you if there are 1 or 100000 copies out
> there.

I didn't mean market share of the software, necessarily.  But perhaps
market share for your services, your hardware, your T-shirts, or (as
you suggest) some other proprietary software.  Or it may be market
share in operating system CD-ROMs. :)

> I do like the 'solve a problem' argument - there are probably a fair
> amount of situations where that is valid.  However, it may mean
> accepting that the competition will get for free that which you spent
> time and money developing.

Certainly it does.

> > It is unlikely that anyone will make money selling open-source software
> > they develop as if they are shrink-wrap software companies.  In fact,
> > these days, it's probably pretty hard to make money selling shrink-wrap
> > software if you're a new guy.
> 
> Yeah...  I've written a couple things I think are neat, but that is
> sort of the quandary one looks at.  If I tried to sell them, I don't
> think many people would want them, given the available free
> solutions.

Well, even the available proprietary solutions are some serious
competition.  How much luck do you think you'd have if you started
selling a proprietary spreadsheet today?  Your worst competition surely
wouldn't be free software.

Kragen