Subject: Re: Studies
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 12:39:59 +0100 (MET)

| From: Bob Weiner <>
| >>>>> "KS" == Kragen Sitaker <> writes:
|    KS> Netscape commissioned some studies to convince companies that building
|    KS> an "Intranet" (sorry) is the Right Thing To Do.  These studies focused
|    KS> on business concepts like return on investment and agility.
|    KS> Have any similar studies been done on the use of free software?  They
|    KS> could be a tremendously powerful marketing tool.
| Marketing of what, one must ask?  Another trend we at Altrasoft have seen in
| large companies is that people use free software downloaded off the net or
| pulled of a CD-ROM, not because it is better or worse than proprietary
| software, but because it allows them to avoid dealing with their slow and
| cumbersome purchasing systems (which are probably in fact partially designed
| this way on purpose to minimize non-critical purchasing).

  Not so ... I am trying to analyse the use of Free Software, and
reasons why one might want it (other than idealism). My work at this
time is in French, sorry.  One major business use of Free software is
of course embedded systems, where the freeness guarantees control of
pereniality and technical evolution, either by the community or by
paid service. There are quite a few examples. One does not want
critical technology to be controlled from outside. The price factor is
often much less important.

  The issue of whether one can make money of freeware one has created
is however not clear. At least not at this time, until the use of free
software becomes better accepted by industry.

   I do not think the main problem is up-front payment. It is simply
convincing decision makers that free software will be maintained as
well as commercial software. Hence, once the idea of free software is
accepted (and it is not yet the case), there should be much business
room for people who will offer maintenance. In a way, that is
precisely what Caldera is selling: responsibility for an otherwise
free product (I know they add some commercial software, but in my
opinion it is more to justify the price people want to pay and pretend
to preserve the accepted model.

   I have started a list of companies using Linux, mostly, and other
freeware, in

   Any contribution is welcome.


   Bernard             ,_  /\o    \o/    Tel  +33 (1) 3963 5644  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^  Fax  +33 (1) 3963 5469
             INRIA / B.P. 105 / 78153 Le Chesnay CEDEX / France
          Je n'exprime que mon opinion - I express only my opinion