Subject: The Freedom Concept
From: (Daniel R. Guilderson)
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 93 15:07:00 -0500

It will be interesting to see what becomes of free software in the
future.  I'm not sure what will happen but I can see a couple of ways
that it can be useful for business.  For example, a hardware company
that wants to sell a lot of hardware can use free software as added
value.  They can write-off the cost of developing the software in
hopes of selling a greater volume of hardware.  Also I think
Cygnus-type companies will always be useful and successful.  Does
anyone think (or envision) a successful free software manufacturing
firm?  I'm having a little trouble seeing that one.  Of course, I
don't know of any SW manufacturers that don't also support products so
that may be the way they make their money in the free software realm.

One comment about the "tragedy of the commons" problem.  The
difference is that free software does not exhibit exactly the same
properties as a commons, i.e. I can have my very own copy of a
particular program that noone else has access to.  I can use/change my
copy without effecting the value of other copies of the same software.
I can share my changes with others and I still retain the value of
those changes in my own copy.  FSW is similar to "the commons" in that
there exists the possibility that a lot of people are waiting around
for someone else to solve their problem so that they can get the
solution for free.

Daniel R. Guilderson                 Zenith Data Systems / Bull
508-294-6612                         300 Concord Road    MS 853A           Billerica, MA 01821

semper liberi