Subject: Re: Brad Cox paper on asylum
From: John Noerenberg <jwn2@QUALCOMM.COM>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 1994 11:11:35 -0800

At 11:30 PM 1/17/94 -0500, Russ Nelson wrote:
>I've uploaded a paper by Brad Cox to
>This paper discusses a scheme for software sharing that includes built-in
>compensation.  It's not really about freedom of software, but I was thinking
>that the infrastructure he proposes would also work for low-overhead support
>payments.  And, on an opinion level of discussion (as opposed to factual),
>I was wondering if such a scheme would be good for software freedom?

It depends on what you mean by software freedom.  The whole idea of the
superdistribution scheme is to meter the use of software so it can be
charged on that basis.  The attraction to me as a software provider, is
that the cost of distribution goes way down.  Superdistribution could have
a devastating effect on traditional avenues for distributing electronic

I'm less certain of how this works for support payments.  I would expect a
provider to build the cost of support into the fee for using the software.
The problem with leavening the cost of support in this way is that it
assumes that all users require the same amount of support from the vendor.
If you really want a model to charge for support based on need or use, I
don't think superdistribution offers any help.

Nearly everyone makes this assumption about support -- I don't see a rush
to replace 800 numbers with 900 numbers.  Every scheme I've seen tried to
charge for support on a per use basis garners so much negative publicity,
the vendor ends up dropping the idea.

john noerenberg
noerenberg.j (Applelink)
Happy all those who believe,
and like Emperor Manuel end their lives
dressed modestly in their faith.
-- C.P. Cavafy, "Manuel Kominos", 1915