Subject: Re: Two things
From: ghost@aladdin.com (L. Peter Deutsch)
Date: Sun, 28 Aug 94 23:52:02 PDT

> Two things:
>  1) One of the assumptions of the fsb list is that free software can
>     be a reasonable way for a business to make money, and
>  2) The most discussion on the list has been whether that assumption
>     is correct!
> 
> Since Cygnus and Crynwr and Yggdrasil and Hundred Acres and RTR and
> Canta-Forda Computer Lab are all proofs of #1, the only possible
> discussion is not whether, but how many businesses can make money off
> free software.

Also, how many businesses of what size.  As far as I know, Cygnus is
the only business on the list with a gross of over $1M per year.

> It *may* be that a software industry using free
> software would be many times smaller, yet still solving as many
> people's problems as the current industry.

And, you should add, solving them as well.  As I think the recent
discussion shows, the current free solutions range from as good as
non-free ones (GNU emacs, gcc) to somewhat less good (Linux) to much less
good (minicom); I believe the recent discussion also did not produce any
counter-examples to the assertion that there are no end-user-quality free
applications.

> That would, paradoxically,
> make everyone wealthier on average, but computer programmers poorer in
> particular.

Doesn't seem like much of a contradiction to me.  Whenever you find
someone willing to produce goods or services for a lower price in an
inelastic market, it makes that person poorer and his customers richer.

L. Peter Deutsch :: Aladdin Enterprises :: P.O. box 60264, Palo Alto, CA 94306
ghost@aladdin.com, ...decwrl!aladdin!ghost ; voice 415-322-0103 ; fax 322-1734
	    "Implementation is the sincerest form of flattery."