Subject: CD economics / convenience
From: "L. Peter Deutsch" <>
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 97 21:50 PST

> The reality is that many people will pick the $20 CD.  I am a good
> example.  While I have a full T1 available with lots of unsued bandwidth
> on it I tend to keep CDs around.  CDs don't go down and CDs don't get
> updated when you aren't looking.  If downloading is the only way to get
> something then I will write it to CD.  A CD is just a cheap, convenient
> way to store data.
> The cheapest place to store 650MB of data is on a CD.  Maybe people will
> stop buying them when everyone has a CD writer but I doubt it.

These are all good points, and I'm sure there will always be a market for
CDs.  Whether there will be enough of one to support businesses whose
primary source of income is packaging and redistributing information that is
also available to users on-line at no charge other than the communication
cost, as temporary high-bandwidth connections become available for only a
modest markup over the wholesale usage charge, will be interesting to see.
I'd bet against it, but it'll be several years before we see answers.

One question that I'm sure some people on this list could answer now is the
following: for distributions that are available both on CD-ROM and for
downloading, how many CD-ROMs are sold in a year vs. how many copies are
downloaded?  I'm sure Red Hat, Walnut Creek, Yggdrasil, and a number of
other vendors who read this list could give us some figures, and they seem
to me to be very relevant to our discussion of free software business.
Could someone with access to the figures please post some?


L. Peter Deutsch         |       Aladdin Enterprises ::::
203 Santa Margarita Ave. | tel. +1-650-322-0103 (AM only); fax +1-650-322-1734
Menlo Park, CA 94025     |
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