Subject: Re: Hal's new white paper - Free Software/Public Sector]
From: Jerry Dwyer <>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 17:28:25 -0500

Sorry that they won't answer you. I haven't read all the paper, although 
I will, but I've looked over the relevant part.

It is not transparent or blindingly obvious.

There is a mathematical metaphor underlying the paper. Suppose that the 
world is a line, and that the line has length one. (Any other length 
would do just as well, so why not pick an easy one like unity?)  
Commercial software is located at zero and open-source software is 
located at the other end of the line -- unity. Hence, the apparent 
inverseness of commercial and open-source software in terms of 
transportation cost, where one cost is t(x) and the other is t(1-x), 
where x is the distance to zero and 1-x is the distance to the other end 
of the line -- unity.

Jerry Dwyer

David N. Welton wrote:

>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
>Thank you for your time,