Subject: Economics of software distribution
From: nick@NSIS.CL.NEC.CO.JP (Gavin Thomas Nicol)
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 93 09:13:33 JST

L. Peter Deutsch gives examples of how free software fail, and...
>To say that RCS, for example, is `free' because I can get a copy of the
>source code without paying for it is a real distortion of the word free.
>The cost in my time to figure out how to compile it, install it, etc.,
>etc. is likely to be much higher than the cost of a commercial package.

I agree that often free software is "hackerware" because you have to
play with it to get it to work, and if it is to succeed in the mass
market, the way it is presented to a user will have to change
radically. Here is where you can make money in the mass market. For

You can offer a pre-compiled RCS, with source and printed manuals that
is easy to install. If the price is reasonable, and the quality is
good, you could capture the people who go in for commercial software,
*and* you can capture the hackers who say "why bother going through
all the hassle of pulling it from the net, fiddling with it, and
compiling it when I can buy it for $XX?".