Subject: Re: A few here may have an opinion on this
From: Brian Behlendorf <>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 00:26:12 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 24 Oct 2002, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> >>>>> "Kragen" == Kragen Sitaker <> writes:
>     Kragen> Software produces value.  Proprietary software tends to
>     Kragen> ensure that a significant chunk of the value produced
>     Kragen> accrues to the publishers; free software tends to let a
>     Kragen> larger chunk of that value accrue to the users.
> Uh, you're ignoring Chris's main point, which is that the whole chunk
> of value may be much smaller if you use free licenses.

It's an interesting thesis; sounds like you're essentially arguing that
the more open source software replaces proprietary code, the lower the
"whole chunk" would be, meaning - GDP would be less?

Whatever money the end-user (corporate or individual) would have spent but
won't doesn't just disappear.  It goes into funding other needs, or
reducing the cost of the product/service you sell.

It may have an impact on the size of the software industry - no more fat
profit margins, yet lots of software still needs to be written so lots of
contract-engineering and specialization outfits.  IBM survives, Microsoft
doesn't.  Since IT "drove" (for better and worse) the world economy in the
1990's, does that mean a threat of recession?

Man, sometimes I wish I had become an economist, if only to come up with
much more realistic-sounding conspiracy theories.

> It is really hard to believe that the chunk of value accruing to users
> from _all_ free software is bigger than the size of the chunk of value
> accruing _to users_ from Microsoft Word alone (unless you argue that
> proprietary derivatives of permissively licensed free software---
> especially the BSD TCP/IP stack and friends---should be accounted
> "free").  There are just too damn many Word users.

What value do you think could be placed on the Internet?  Would it be
crazy if I said the Internet would not have been built (that TCP-IP would
not have won) without free software?  Not that free software
alone built it, but the value derived from it is sometimes 2 or 3 orders
of interaction removed.