Subject: Re: PGP CREATOR, NAI SPLIT OVER OPEN SOURCE DIFFERENCES
From: Rich Morin <rdm@cfcl.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 10:51:45 -0800

At 4:10 PM +0900 2/26/01, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
>The only problem is that in the all-fixed-cost, zero-marginal-cost
>world of software development, the efficient scale for a single
>producer is the whole market.  Pure competition cannot exist.
>
>Of course that's a caricature, but my opinion is that it's close
>enough to reality that Russ's description is more useful to practical
>FSBs than yours.
>
>There are potentially competitive markets in free software (Russ's is
>one, I think), but the skilled labor that could drive prices down in
>them is in very short supply, so it doesn't really matter.  (Russ's
>retirement fund is in no danger I can see.  ;-)

As a former publisher of free software collections, my perspective may
be a bit skewed, but I tend to see the published collection as the product
and the editorial work as development.  My collections did not claim an
overall copyright, but (a) they claimed copyright on my own text and (b)
they contained a request for people to refrain from wholesale plunder.

It was in this context that I mentioned "shovelware" CDs.  AFAIK, nobody
ever duplicated the "PTF for ..." discs for sale, but there are certainly
folks who duplicate Red Hat and other Linux collections.  This duplication
market approaches pure competition very closely.  However,  a combination
of goodwill, printed manuals, and support keeps Red Hat from having to
compete at the duplication price.

-r
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