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When is free software going to be the norm?

By jon ·
With the internet generation coming into its own in the software development marketplace, more and more we are expecting software to be web-based, and free. Look at myspace, youtube, thinkfree and a whole multitude of other free software out there. Granted the majority of them are social networking sites but still the precedent has been set. When is free software going to be the norm?

Sure there is the opensource marketplace. Some great items are there but only commodity type software, that is so commonplace it almost seems silly to pay for them anyway. Operating systems, web-browsers and various other tools. Will we ever see innovative, revolutionary new software that can be used free from the start? If, so how do you give it away?

If you guys have any ideas, I'd be keen to know because that is what me and my teammates are trying to do. We are trying to give away a free, web-hosted software development management system called Lighthouse Pro.

Advice, avoidance, agree, disagree???

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Never - I hope

by jdmercha In reply to When is free software goi ...

Here is an example of the problem I envision:

Software that is easily developed will be made availble free of charge as open source software. Now I have a need to to purchase a word processing program for my companies. So I search the open source community for the software I need. I come up with 10,000 choices. The time it takes to evaluate 10,000 pieces of software will be much more expensive than purchasing a known good product from a reputable software supplier. If there is no software to sell, then their won't be any reputable software suppliers that supply software for free.

It will be just like email is today. You can see how much SPAM you get in your inbox. Start charging for sending email and you'll see a dramatic reduction.

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Not true at all

by jmgarvin In reply to Never - I hope

The current open source area means two things:
1) Free as in freedom not free beer (although free beer is a side effect)
2) The cream rises and the cruft doesn't

Do you use apache? Did you have to evaluate 10000 open source software packages to decide Apache was a good web server?

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nonsense and poppycock

by apotheon In reply to Never - I hope

If you can just go with "a known good product from a reputable software supplier" for proprietary software, you can do the same thing with free/libre/open source software. In fact, I do that to a fair degree, and use almost no proprietary software at all.

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Who will develop it?

by jattas In reply to Never - I hope

Free software is great, if it works. But who will develop a product when there is no monitary reason to do so? This is an age old problem. To think you can get software of excellent quality and never have to make any committment to support the product is not smart. Many companies today provide a free version (most times limited in features), for the individual. But the corporations violate this all the time. An errant employee employs freeware software, as if it is shareware, and even demonstration software, convincing themselves that they are legal. Who is going to continue to create this quality software without legitimate sales and revenue. An excellent example of this is Unix/BSD etc., where "Open" means no cost, to many people. Support is poor or non-existent unless you pay for it. To think that this is not so is idiotic.

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Free Software - Starting Now

by joep In reply to When is free software goi ...

Our company has an online timesheet exchange for people who report timesheets to each other known as www.timeXchange.net. It is free. How can we do that? It's ad-supported. Certain cross-organizational apps like ours should be free to users and ad-supported. It only makes sense. As you noted MySpace etal. proves that out. It's also the best way to get user feedback, again as MySpace knows. Take a look and email if you have questions (e. joep@actustech.com).

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Ad-supported is not free.

by Orefa In reply to Free Software - Starting ...

You pay in annoyance. Get these things out of my face please. I'll give you money.

Sometimes I walk through a mall and someone asks me if I'm interested in a free cell phone. I open my shopping bag wide and say "Sure, drop it in!" That never works. The stuff is free with purchase. That's not free either.

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Two Responses

by joep In reply to Ad-supported is not free.

1. Ad-Supported is growing in popularity because it keeps costs down for you the end user, but there are the realities that the publisher makes nothing from ads until there is a certain critical mass of users or "eyeballs" and the publisher needs always to be aware of not giving reasons (such as annoyance) for users to go away. Well done ad-supported knows the difference.

2. All you have to do is look at network television to understand that the model works. Content is what keeps you coming back to your favorite TV shows, not the commercials. But even though you pay for cable or dish or whatever, I'll bet you still watch the ad-supported channels if you like the content of the shows.

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I will not use software that is 'free' because

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Two Responses

it has ads in it. Not ever.

I don't trust advertisers, I certainly don't trust adware, that's why I use spybot and adaware et al.

Adware is not free. It's my pixels, my time, my bandwidth , my processor, my disk space.

I paid or pay for them, they are not free.
I pay for the advertising as well if I buy the product, that's the whole point of advertising.

Why anyone who wanted to make a viable business would choose the same mechanism as bargains.exe or kazaa or all that other malware crap, I have no idea. Personally I'd want to disassociate my business from that sort of reputation as much as possible.

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Not for everyone, I know

by joep In reply to I will not use software t ...

I am well aware that some people have concern about ad-supported sites. But the reality is that it comes down to the quality of the publisher. MSN, Google, Yahoo!, etc. are all ad-supported, but you likely use at least one. Its about trust. Its incumbent upon me, the publisher, to make sure that your experience is virus-free and unobtrusive. With all due respect, the type of site you just described is exactly what we work hard not to be.

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Depends on what you mean by use

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Not for everyone, I know

I use search on google, I go through MSN for a couple of throwaway hotmail accounts.

No tool bars, no desktops, just URLs. Click on the bit I want ignore the rest.

If a window cleaner came round in stripes, a domino and carried a his kit in a bag marked SWAG would you be happy for him to be climbing round your house?

Adware = malware is an impression firmly rooted in my conscious, I'm much better off that way. I might miss out of your reputable efforts, but definitely I miss out on a whole lot more disreputable ones.

If you want to see what I mean, go to google's home page and click on some of the crap that comes up on the right hand side.

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