Subject: Re: Support as insurance
From: Ben Laurie <>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 15:57:21 +0000

Russell Nelson wrote:
> Ben Laurie writes:
>  > You can't have it both ways: free software can't be worse than
>  > prioprietary software because it has no warranty, but giving a warranty
>  > indicates that its worse than proprietary sofware. Eh?
> No, that's not my point.  I'm just saying that it's difficult to treat
> support as insurance, and even more difficult for a free software
> company.  Let me try explaining it a different way.
> Insurance is a bet.  You're betting that the disaster *is* going to
> happen, and the insurance company is betting that it isn't.  The
> reason they make money is because they're in a better position to
> evaluate the risks than you are.

No, they make money because they amortize the risks across all customers
and add markup. Even if I am completely in agreement with their risk
analysis I may consider it worth the cost (i.e. insuring increases my
expected expenditure, but reduces my maximum expenditure).

I still don't really understand what point you are trying to make
(except, perhaps that free software warranties will be more expensive
that proprietary ones because most people won't buy them?)?




"My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those
who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the
first group; there was less competition there."
     - Indira Gandhi