Subject: Re: Two things
From: nelson@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 94 09:22 EDT

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

   > 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.

From the perspective of a social scientist, that doesn't matter.  It
might matter from the perspective of a businessman, who might not want
to be part of an industry of small businesses.  Some people like big.

   > 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.

But not too many markets are inelastic.  And, if *everyone* is getting
more efficient, then we're all getting wealthier.  And about the only
way to keep a company needing to be more efficient, is to protect them
from competition, for example (and now we come full circle) by
granting them a patent.

-russ <nelson@crynwr.com>    http://www.crynwr.com/crynwr/nelson.html
Crynwr Software   | Crynwr Software sells packet driver support | ask4 PGP key
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