Subject: Re: BSD, GPL and macroeconomics (This is a private question to JSS)
From: "Jonathan S. Shapiro" <shap@eros-os.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 08:48:46 -0500

> I don't understand this.  The only cost that matters is support, because
> it's the ongoing one?  In that case, how does free SW have an advantage
> over non-free SW?

Two reasons:

1. There *is* a cost of displacement. Once the lower price option is
installed it tends to stay installed.

2. The cost of maintainance of free software can be amortized over more
parties, and is therefore cheaper per-party.

When I wrote "support" I probably used the wrong word. What I was thinking
about was maintainance and enhancement. I agree with your implied view that
the cost of support ought to be a wash, modulo the likelihood that open
source can potentially adapt to customer need more adroitly than closed.

shap