Subject: Re: FW: Why would I pay for Ximian software?
From: Brian Behlendorf <>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 18:22:41 -0800 (PST)

On 2 Jan 2002, Kevin A. Burton wrote:
> Privacy enabled systems.  Unless you can really sell it there is no money to be
> made here.

Earthlink has this great commercial running now.  A guy and a girl are at
a bar.  The girl hands the guy her phone number.  The bartender notices
this, and says to the guy, "hey, can I get a copy of that?"  Cut to a shot
of the woman looking worried at the guy.  Guy says "Sure.  $5?"  Bartender
and guy exchange money and number.  Cut to woman astonished.  Voiceover
says, paraphrased, "Join Earthlink.  We won't share your data."

I thought it was a *brilliant* way to take a concept, specifically profile
confidentiality, which normally has no or an obscure value to
non-technical users, and casting it into a situation that is obvious to
everyone.  I mean, how many people do you think actually read the privacy
policy that sites post?  How many of those who do read it understand even
the important parts?  Probably <1% in each of those cases.  But Earthlink
made it now an understandable topic, in a very heavily price-driven
commoditized market (internet access).

> > The paradox of capitalism, IMHO, is that the needs of society as a whole are
> > best met when businesses and individuals act in their own best
> > self-interest. Others have explained why better than I ever could.
> This is one scenario.  It is far from 100% though. Companies screw
> over society all the time though.  We need a balanced system...

Capitalism still works here if consumers can place a hard value on these
kind of ephemeral things, either because they become educated that it's
the "right thing to do", or more reliably, because their insurance rates
go down if they buy cars with passenger-side seat belts or airbags or
anti-lock brakes.