Subject: Re: Hal's new white paper - Free Software/Public Sector
From: davidw@dedasys.com (David N. Welton)
Date: 22 Mar 2004 22:10:03 +0100

L Jean Camp <jean_camp@harvard.edu> writes:

>   (Co-authored with Carl Shapiro.)  White paper describing some of
> the economic issues surrounding open source and open standards
> software and its adoption by the public sector.

Speaking of which, I've had a few questions about another paper on
this same subject.  Maybe one of the more economics-oriented folks on
this list could enlighten me, as the original authors seem to not
respond to email (pity, because they live here in Padova).

http://opensource.mit.edu/papers/cominomanenti.pdf


        We assume for simplicity that the population of consumers is
        of mass 1: a portion are the uninformed and the remaining 1 -
        are the informed ones. Irrespectively on their type, consumers
        are uniformly distributed on a unit length segment. A consumer
        located at x [0, 1] gets a net utility from buying the closed
        source software of

                                Uc = v - tx - p,

        where v is the gross utility from adopting the software, t is
        a transportation cost and p is the price charged by the CSS
        producer. t may be interpreted in many ways: the cost of
        learning how to use the software, the installation cost or the
        cost of adapting other software applications.  Similarly, the
        consumer's net utility from adopting OSS is

                               Uo = v - t(1 - x).

Why should free software necessarily be the inverse of the proprietary
software?

Sorry if the answer is blindingly obvious to those trained in this
field.

Thankyou for your time,
-- 
David N. Welton
   Consulting: http://www.dedasys.com/
     Personal: http://www.dedasys.com/davidw/
Free Software: http://www.dedasys.com/freesoftware/
   Apache Tcl: http://tcl.apache.org/