Subject: Re: [may be junkmail -pobox] Re: Value returned from free(d) software
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen)
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 10:17:02 -0500 (EST)

On Thu, 4 Dec 1997 ian@cygnus.com wrote:
> In fsb bb@wv.com (Brian Bartholomew) writes:
> >us a Star Trek food duplicator.  This would copy objects like digital
> >copies work today: perfect copies and nearly free.  Would we say,
> >"sorry, take it away, it will break our economy", or would we use it
> >to eliminate world hunger?
> 
> Fortunately, this is fantasy, not even science fiction (although The

Are you saying that it is impossible to build such a machine?

No one has done it yet, but the theoretical basis for building one is
solid, and the technological basis is rapidly developing at places like
IBM Almaden, Xerox PARC, and Amgen.  

Even if these folks aren't able to build their molecular nanotechnology,
machines capable of doing similar work with electronic circuits and
mechanical parts (down to the hundreds-of-microns scale, at least) are
unquestionably on the horizon. 

So we can expect that, in the near future, many goods will become a lot
more like software -- the manufacturing startup costs will drop to levels
poor individuals can afford, the manufacturing unit costs will be
essentially those of raw materials, and the design costs will dominate. 

We'd best start trying to figure out how to live in this world, and free
software offers the only paradigm that gives me any hope.

Kragen