Subject: Re: A few here may have an opinion on this
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 16:32:26 +0900

>>>>> "Brian" == Brian Behlendorf <brian@collab.net> writes:

    Brian> I have heard, correct me if I'm wrong, that the Goverment
    Brian> cannot itself hold copyright.

I believe this is true; in any case, none of the government
publications I have have copyright notices in them.

    Brian> It'd be great to have the value of an open source license
    Brian> on the delivered code factored into the negotiations.  That
    Brian> is to say, the gov't should realize that spending more
    Brian> money on an open source solution than a competitive cheaper
    Brian> but closed-source alternative, is worth it.

Which is what?  We've got a problem here.  The standard benefit-cost
analysis methods say estimate a demand curve, and compute the sum of
the prices people are willing to pay unit-by-unit, then subtract the
estimated cost.  Well, the amount people are willing to pay for free
software is typically highly unobservable, much more so than for the
proprietary variety.  And the only empirical estimate (price paid for
the good) we have is typically so near zero as to be a joke.  Forget
about calibrating elasticity (slope) of the demand curve!

OTOH, if we do the obvious thing (as the Polish government apparently
does, reported on FSB a couple years ago), and take the price of
"comparable" Microsoft software and multiply by the number of users,
we've just justified Microsoft's fallacious "cost of `piracy'"
calculations.

    Brian> That would go against the lowest-bidder mentality they
    Brian> have, though.

Which is still a vast improvement over the list price + paperwork
costs system I deal with[1] ;-)



Footnotes: 
[1]  University purchasing typically bills me 30% more than street price.

-- 
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