Subject: Re: the walls have ears
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 2 Jun 1999 04:32:52 -0000

Stephen J. Turnbull writes:
 > The real point is that they've already taken the big hit before the
 > product was even released: the development costs.  Development is
 > expensive; you need to move lots of copies to amortize those costs at
 > libre software prices.  And as you point out, a competitor can easily
 > redistribute for less.

But you've got a potent ally on your side: your brand.

 > But I don't consider that the primary danger.
 > If the free software upper bound is less than 100%, that implies that
 > there is a proprietary product out there, and in the minds of customer 
 > it is significantly better to justify the price differential, if any.


 >     craig> If a competitor redistributes it for less, it might seem
 > But what if a proprietary implementation blows it out of the water on
 > features and matches reliability?  (The latter is unlikely IMHO; the
 > SEI begs to differ.  You may not trust the SEI's assessment, either,
 > but it should make you nervous, don't you think?  I'm nervous.)
 > Doesn't that cost free software credibility in the minds of the
 > audience?

You're positing the existance of software which most people here don't 
think exists.  There are boogeymen, too.

 > You're right that the costs are lower for the users of source-
 > available code in the event of the code being orphaned.  But they are
 > still positive.  You can't simply compare costs in the bad case; you
 > must also multiply by the probability of orphanage.

Not just orphanage, but also refusal to implement a desired feature,
fix a show-stopper bug, or just all-around provide bad support.  Again
you're trying to tell us that people won't buy insurance.  We *know*
that's false, so try telling us something else.

-russ nelson <>
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