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

L Jean Camp <> 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).

        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

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

Thankyou for your time,
David N. Welton
Free Software:
   Apache Tcl: