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  • #2263132

    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???

All Comments

  • Author
    • #2486806

      Never – I hope

      by jdmercha ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      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.

      • #2505748

        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?

      • #2505705

        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.

      • #2486576

        Who will develop it?

        by jattas9 ·

        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.

    • #2486788

      Free Software – Starting Now

      by joep3 ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      Our company has an online timesheet exchange for people who report timesheets to each other known as 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.

      • #2486763

        Ad-supported is not free.

        by orefa ·

        In reply to Free Software – Starting Now

        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.

        • #2486694

          Two Responses

          by joep3 ·

          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.

        • #2488065

          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.

        • #2488772

          Not for everyone, I know

          by joep3 ·

          In reply to I will not use software that is ‘free’ because

          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.

        • #2487327

          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.

        • #2487296

          Tony, your points are well taken…

          by joep3 ·

          In reply to Depends on what you mean by use

          and your perception is undoubtedly shared by others. Unfortunately, there are always those who will abuse when given the opportunity (malware), but hopefully people WILL distinguish between reputable and disreputable sites. That is the risk I am taking. Thank you for your thoughts. It is good for me (and other publishers) to understand your concerns.

        • #2504498

          You in the middle of what is the big e- business

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Depends on what you mean by use

          problem. The only way to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys, is trust.

          All the mechanisms for delivering reputable content and malware are exactly the same.

          My personal recommendation would be to move to get rid of any client side execution of your code. No applets, no activeX, no client side scripting….

          That way, it’s less of a risk for me to see if you are trustworthy.

        • #2487625

          No ads, three levels of product

          by jon ·

          In reply to I will not use software that is ‘free’ because

          The idea is to build a free product or service that is not ad-driven but completely free.

          With the razor thin IT budgets you will start to see the “freemium” web-based software model more and more. Give the market a product for free that will provide value at an order of magnitude greater than its predecessor for 50-70 % of the market niche. Then for those remaining 30-50% offer a premium, paid service that will provide even more value for those that want the extra bells and whistles. Then for those that must have it a source license.

          It just makes sense to try the free stuff first before you go spending a bunch of money on a solution you don’t even know will work for you.

        • #2487545

          I agree

          by joep3 ·

          In reply to No ads, three levels of product

          The idea of “freemium” software is something we agree with and we will have a premium version that is ad-free. That version will be based on the features that users ask for which are more specific such as e commerce. In the meantime, we need more users and feedback. Have you looked at our offering? I am interested in if you see value in our model.

        • #2504496

          I don’t have a problem with that

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to No ads, three levels of product

          It’s a good model, satellite and cable tv do it over here now. Baisc package for nothing then enticing adverts of premium programs.

          AVG and Sygate both do it. Get teh personal product for nothing, if you like it then buy the enterprise.

          Basically it’s shareware writ large.

          I’m just not having adware is freeware.

        • #2504390

          Good or Bad Ads

          by jterry ·

          In reply to Two Responses

          The Ads on TV can be skipped if you have a Tivo. Although even with a Tivo there are some Ads that I watch. I wish there was a system where the consumer could choose thumbs up or thumbs down for the commercials like you can for programs on Tivo Than if the percentage of thumbs down reached a certain high percentage the Ad would be barred from TV. Maybe than they would make Ads worth watching. Proof in point is how many poeple watch the Super Bowl just to see the commercials.

        • #2504285

          I use both adblock plus and tivo

          by aceofspades12179 ·

          In reply to Good or Bad Ads

          Anyways I use both adblock plus (with the blacklist updater) and tivo. But for some websites I use cooliris and click on a few of the ads (like LOL) because I like the website that much.

          So anyways if you are that paranoid about “ad-supported sites” do two things:
          -dump your internet explorer as fast as you possibly can
          -get firefox or opera
          -get noscript if your really paranoid (like I am)

          Once you get no script you can surf the world wide web without worrying about wiping out. If I see a site that requires javascript I will than weigh the risk but typically I would rather not.

          I personally think javascript is great but I always develop my websites with non-javascript users in mind. I don’t force people to use Ajax. I just (as most devs do) have a form handler for both. I really don’t use js effects but when I do I make a separate uglier page for those not using javascript. Javascript should always be extra.

          Just my 2c

        • #2504273

          joep, ad-supported software vs. ad-supported television

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Two Responses

          Neither is particularly fair to the majority of the customers who are paying for the product or service.

          Those people are paying for a product, which allows the company to pay for advertising on a television show the buyers may not enjoy watching, or for advertising supporting a web application they don’t use. The “cost” is free to the user / viewer, but the ad charges are paid by the consumers, many more people than just the audience / user base.

          We NASCAR fans would like to thank all of you for buying the products advertised on our favorite “rolling billboards”. It’s not fair that you’re paying more for your product so I can cheer for my favorite driver, so I wanted you to know I appreciate it. How ’bout that 17 car???

        • #2486528
          Avatar photo

          Now I must take exception th the Nascar analogy

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to joep, ad-supported software vs. ad-supported television

          I’ve been involved in Motor Racing for longer than I care to think about and working for the different teams I can tell you that those stickers down the side or other places on a car are paid for out of company advertising in the hope that they will increase sales by viewers of that particular sport. Be it F1, V8, 2 Litre, NASCAR or any of the other Open Wheeler classes.

          Last year AMD gave a lot on money to Ferrari and they had their name on the Number 1 car but that didn’t add 1 cent to the cost of AMD products if anything it reduced the cost of the product and allowed them to introduce another range of product that was previously unavailable namely the Ferrari NB.

          Without product advertising to get the name out in the public eye the cost of the products would be much greater as there is no ready made market for that product so they wouldn’t have the economies of the Volume of Scale to cut down the production costs.

          In Motor Racing Sponsors come & go only the sport remains the same.


    • #2486760

      free software will be the norm when. . . . .

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      … engineers and tech support are working for free.

      Nothing is free. I can see it now: Windows Xeta2015, with only three, one-minute advertising interruptions per hour! Download free from the Internet!

    • #2486749

      never fully

      by w2ktechman ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      But, often companies have free versions which are less powerful, and then paid for versions which are they way that it should run.
      Often the free versions are to get their name out there and into the minds of people who can guide a company to purchase. And often, they work for 80%+ of home users needs, but only the paid version works great for business needs or power users.

      There are also companies who give their older SW away, and the newer stuff is paid for, and companies who charge for some products, while giving away those quick& easy tools.

    • #2488070

      Free as in what beer ?

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      Never hopefully.

      There’s a big difference between here’s a bit of code, do what you want with it, if you want to, and we want you to run this code.


      I don’t have a lot of time for web based software anyway.

      You can get away with simple stuff, but any attempt at a rich environment results in a mass of attack vectors, a bucket load of client side execution and a seriously inefficient and fragile communications mechanism.

      HTTP can never be the best transport for an interactive client.

      • #2491782

        Running Code

        by brianza ·

        In reply to Free as in what beer ?

        What is a good type of date transfer protocol? So far, HTTP is the best. But if we miraculously come up with new transfer protocols then the Internet could be used to do more. Any ideas? It all comes back to the program structure of Windows and attaching the rigth Internet protocol devices that will let PC users get more data, faster interaction and better quality of pictures, sounds and graphics. I guess, the only device that can accelerate the speed of the Internet is to invent a new modem that can logon faster, tranfer bits faster and download larger files (i.e. webpages). But there isn’t anything like that on the market in Australia and I hope that someday someone would come up with something like this.

        • #2491781


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Running Code

          The problem is Internet bandwidth. You simply aren’t going to get enough bandwidth in a reasonable price range to run rich client network applications across the Internet. HTTP is actually an extremely fast data transfer protocol (in part because it’s stateless, which makes it almost useless for rich client network applications through a browser), and it’s [b]still too slow[/b] because most clients only get about 1.5Mbps at best.

        • #2490628

          Not really

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Running Code

          The main problems are that HTTP is stateless an it’s pull only.

          Basically it’s postal chess, with an unreliable mail service. To cope with the unreliability, you send the entire board and then the program works out what move you made and sends you back a board based on what move it last detected.

          AJAX which is meant to address this issue, if done correctly is simply a client side cheat that hides the unreliability behind an insincere smile.

          Bigger files is not what we need, fit for purpose is what’s required.

          We’ve got way more bandwidth now than we used to have, all they did was use it up trying to bodge HTTP and HTML into something it was never designed to do.

    • #2505737


      by dogknees ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      When it is all written be machine.

      Until then, how do you reward the people who produce the software? If they are to get paid for their effort, and the user doesn’t pay, where does the money come from?

      Giving it away if easy. You just absorb all the cost normally associated with the distribution of the product. Only one problem, you can’t make money that way. And in the society we live in, money seems to be required to live.

      • #2504924

        not so

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to When

        Programmers make money off free software all the time. It’s often the case that a programmer makes money by supporting free software. For instance, if someone needs an enterprise application to have a feature it doesn’t have, he might hire a programmer to modify it.

        Programming can be profitable as a service just as easily as programs can be profitable as products. More easily, even.

        • #2504917

          Not So

          by dogknees ·

          In reply to not so

          >>For instance, if someone needs an enterprise application to have a feature it doesn’t have, he might hire a programmer to modify it.

          That’s still software, so according to the premise would be free.

          Are we talking about “all” software, or just some of it.

        • #2504902

          perhaps you’re using the wrong sense of “free”

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Not So

          I have a link you should check out:

          [url=][b]The Free Software Definition[/b][/url]

          Here’s another one:

          [url=][b]The Debian Free Software Definition[/b][/url]

          Here’s more:

          [url=][b]The Debian Social Contract and Free Software Guidelines[/b][/url]

        • #2504730


          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to perhaps you’re using the wrong sense of “free”

          The “F”LOSS movement should to abandon the word “free”. Replace it with the phrases “no charge” or “open source / license” depending on the context. This “free as in beer, free as in speech” thing confuses the excrement out of me, and apparently I’m not the only one. It’s become a mantra, but chanting it only baffles the unconverted. (In the Boy Scouts we used to gain “cosmic enlightenment” by chanting “Ohwha Tafoo Liam”. Try it.) Just one twit’s opinion…

          Regardless of the words chosen, the original post clearly intended the word “free” in the “no charge” context, not in the “open source / license” definition. All of the applications listed (“myspace, youtube, thinkfree”) are “no user fee”; none are “open code”.

        • #2504692

          Great Point!

          by jimblanchard ·

          In reply to “Free”

          Hurray! Somebody get’s it. These “Free” Community type sites derive their income through advertising or other services rendered. Their software acts as a vehicle to sell other things. Again Capitalism wins out in the end. The consumer will decide what succeeds, not some social experiment.

          These Soicalist thought patterns only work on the big screen. As a true socialist you expect everyone else to pay for your enlightened sense of being. Beam me up Scottie!

        • #2504686

          Uh, what?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Great Point!

          Free/libre/open source software is not socialist in nature. In fact, open source software is more appropriate to a free market than proprietary software. Don’t think, just because Richard Stallman is a fruitcake, that we’re all fruitcakes.

        • #2486604

          Shrink Wrap / Open Source / SaaS

          by joep3 ·

          In reply to Great Point!

          This has been a very enlightening discussion. The debate about what certain terms mean, such as “free” and “freemium”, has been an eye-opener for me. Maybe that just proves how new/different this model is. It’s not shrink-wrap and it’s not open source. It’s a service (as in Software-as-a-Service).

          jimblanchards post picks up on two key points – freemium is a means to an end AND this is not about socialism. It’s about new models that don’t exist without the Internet.

          Some apps make sense in this model – some don’t. Community apps that foster interaction between disparate parties and shared services apps that distribute support and costs across desperate groups do. Take for example Lighthouse and Neither of these could be offered as desktop or enterprise apps and be as effective functionally. There is room for and need for different models for different goals.

        • #2486522
          Avatar photo

          OH I see in Star Trek

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Great Point!

          The Paradise that they created on Earth was actually a Communist Plot to overthrow the world.

          Sorry I don’t quite think so but you are entitled to your opinion. 😀


        • #2504687

          This may come as a surprise . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to “Free”

          . . . but I agree. The insistence of Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation on using and promoting the term “free software” is a real problem, specifically because of the confusion. In some respects I can see their point — that, for them, it’s about principles of “freedom”, and not just a development model. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean they have to choose a term that is so easily confused with unintended meanings. Besides, the Free Software Foundation and its pet license (the GPL) actually act in some ways to limit freedom. RMS and the FSF have become so obsessed with acting against corporate proprietary software that they’ve stopped acting [b]for[/b] anything.

          That’s sort of a non sequitur, though. The on-topic point is that you’re right: the FSF’s use of the word “free” is confusing.

        • #2504658

          Absolutely Correct: People expect to pay for expertise

          by jon ·

          In reply to not so

          Ding, ding, ding ,ding. Winner, Winner chicken dinner.

          Often times this is a hard lesson to learn. It is especially hard in the software community because, our programs are our children. What we create are often brilliant showcases of our talents. We want them to be appreciated. However, the fact of the matter is that quite often it is not the final product that people are willing to pay for, it is the expertise that you as a programmer/developer can bring to the table that people are willing to pay for. But that perhaps is a different discussion all together.

    • #2505984

      I Want FREE!

      by borginva ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      If the human race did things to better ourselves and instead of trying to make money, everything would be better. People would work to better themselves and the rest of humanity. Things would work better without money restrictions. People can actually do what they enjoy doing without worrying about money. So, I hope free software will one day be the norm.

      • #2504593

        money is just the yardstick we use

        by alliancemillsoft ·

        In reply to I Want FREE!

        Money is just the yardstick we use to measure human contributions. In any society you have to have a method to measure contributions.

        This idea of free software is soooo stupid. Did lawyers or administrators ever sit down any say “I think the world would be a better place if we worked for free”.

        The presumption that software is created and then forever unchanged is juvenile at best .. stupid at worst. Everything tech is always changing which requires a constant development effort, and customers/users are always going to need reliable support to ever use complex systems like we have these days.

      • #2504585

        What is this Star Trek?

        by jimblanchard ·

        In reply to I Want FREE!

        Until wounds are healed with the wave of an iHealer, food is replicated by Ronco’s InstiFood Processor, and “Glory be to Science” we can finally travel to the Pegasus Galaxy – then we will be able to end the evil that is Capitalism. Until then, live long and prosper!

      • #2504412

        Da, Comrade!

        by charliespencer ·

        In reply to I Want FREE!

        Here in People’s Republic each work for good of all under 5 Year Plan. Marx and Lenin show way .

    • #2505924

      it is

      by jaqui ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      for me.
      I use free software 99.9995% of the time.
      and the two apps that are not free still run on linux.

      so for me, free software is the norm.

    • #2504598

      You’re doing too much crack ..

      by alliancemillsoft ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      Seriously you would be better off concentrating on making your software worth buying, wouldn’t you. Specialty apps require nearly constant development, constant interactions with other apps, and constant support. Real specialty apps

      Maybe you guys would be better off focusing your efforts on free plumbing or roofing (sans materials).

      • #2504583

        how about payback

        by kiufiu ·

        In reply to You’re doing too much crack ..

        Seriosly, i supose every one would like free softwares, but what I can not understand is how is gonna it pay back the developer.
        Are all those developers working for free?
        How could this be arranged.
        It is pretty easy to have right on your hand, just a click on the web, and there it is the solution for free, every computer related would like that.
        If someone in here is developing free softwares can he explain to us how he or them arrange it?

        • #2504578

          The Payback – a New Model

          by joep3 ·

          In reply to how about payback

          We have learned that internet-based software warrants a new software model. Terms such as “freemium” have more meaning and are more pervasive than you might think. A simple example is Acrobat Reader. Most of us have the free version, but Adobe monetizes the product by providing premium services for those who need them but still capture market acceptance with their free down-loads. Capialism is not dead. It is just eveloving to a new model.

      • #2504528

        Out with the old, in with the new…

        by jon ·

        In reply to You’re doing too much crack ..

        After reading a series of the replies its interesting to see the dynamic responses to Free. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if its ill informed.

        It appears there are a series of people that are still “stuck” in the old way of thinking. “If software is going to be of any value, I am going to have to pay for it.” Better yet, “I am going to buy this software and do things the way the software tells me because it was built by professionals, and they know what their doing.” These messages are terrible and are no longer true. Believers of these messages have been Microsoft brainwashed.

        Sure you can go ahead an pay for a solution to a problem you have, pay a lot of money for it most times, money your company has worked hard to get, but do you really know if it is going to solve your problems???? The answer is No, you don’t. The traditional model offers a trial for 30, maybe 45 days if the vendor is nice. However, that is not nearly long enough to get the feel for complicated value-add software. So you take a risk, purchase the software, go through a lengthy install and customization period and then it sucks. It hardly solves the initial problem you had in the first place, not to mention it has just created a whole bunch more. Sounds like a poor business practices to me. Often times, it results in someone losing their job.

        JoeP is absolutely correct “Freemium” is the new model for software distribution. Look it up via google. Here is the definition for the lazier types: There are hundreds, thousands of articles out there. Freemium, doesn’t mean that you stop development, in fact you accelerate development. You ask the free users to help you build a better product by suggesting new features. The free user community votes on feature suggestions. You can even give the community contributors incentives to suggest new features, rewarding them for great feature enhancements that were voted into the product by the community.

        There will be some that aren’t ready yet, and thats okay. Those that are familiar with “Crossing the Chasm” call them “Laggards”. They are the ones that typically are happy with the way things are and don’t like change because its different. My advise is get out of the box.

        • #2504408

          I’m stuck in an old way of thinking, but not that one.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Out with the old, in with the new…

          Great discussion.

          “It appears there are a series of people that are still ‘stuck’ in the old way of thinking. “If software is going to be of any value, I am going to have to pay for it.”

          The old way of thinking I’m stuck in is “If my labor and development is going to yield any monetary return, I’m going to have to charge for it.” What if everybody is happy with the free base version of my software and nobody wants to pay me for the premium flavor? What about applications that are so simple they don’t have any advanced features, or apps so complex there’s no way to develop a useful lightweight version? What about locally installed, non-Web based software? How does the “freemium” approach work with those? (Freemium: a word I heard here for the first time and now hate even more than ‘blog’ or ‘Brangalina’.)

        • #2504919

          We don’t all have to think alike to make a living.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I’m stuck in an old way of thinking, but not that one.

          What I’m seeing is that most of the people in this discussion fall into one of two categories:

          1. people who think they have to be Microsoft, or an unreasonable facsimile thereof, to make any money off software development

          2. people who have an idea of a new business model, and think that’s [b]the[/b] way to make money off “free” software

          While I do sincerely hope that the Microsoft business model goes the way of the dinosaurs, I don’t think it’ll be replaced by a single business model. Rather, advancements in the software industry of the future will largely be defined by the rise of new business models all the time. There’s the Web-based advertising revenue business models, the developer consultant support business models, and the on-staff developer business models, for instance. In each case, there’s absolutely no reason that free/libre/open source software cannot be used, and a number of good reasons it’s a better option than proprietary software.

          The truth of the matter is that software itself doesn’t make for a very good industry. Instead, software development makes for an excellent service that professionals can provide to support other industries. Creating an industry of software itself just leads to problems like offshoring, patent squatting, and anticompetitive market dominance practices.

          People are quickly learning that the halcyon days of developing a “killer app”, getting rich, and resting on your laurels for the rest of your life were an aberration, not the way things “should” be for software developers — and, in fact, it wasn’t the software developers who were making that money anyway. It was the CEOs and venture capitalists who made all that money. Only by removing the perception of value from shrinkwrapped software, and returning it to the developer (where it belongs), can talented software developers begin to be paid what they’re worth.

        • #2504403

          Show Me The Money

          by lazarus439 ·

          In reply to Out with the old, in with the new…

          In one line, you have stated the paradox of supposedly free software: “money your company has worked hard to get”.

          If the software is given away, how do the people who write it and support make their living? If the developers want to make use of whatever service “your company” provides – and clearly expects real money for providing it – how does the “free software” developer acquire it?

          In other words, your labor practicing law, repairing cars, building houses, teaching school, etc., etc, is assumed to be worthy of being compensated with money while the labor of those who write and support software is deemed not worthy of compensation. Why is this?

          Frankly, the question of how the developers make a living has been a mystery to me ever since serious open source software came on the scene. I can see any number of reasons why a talented or insightful programmer might release a handy utility, but it seems that person still must have a day job so he/she has a place to live and food to eat.

          The Acrobat model is not really germane here because the Reader is free only to make the full program useful enough to buy (and I wonder how long that will remain true, since there are so many free PDF generators). There is no “full” version of Linux or Open Office to buy, which would make the free versions of those program “teasers” comparable to the Acrobat Reader. One can download any of a seemingly infinite number of Linux packages or Open Office and pay nothing beyond one’s ISP bill. Adobe most certainly does not give away Acrobat!

          To be sure, companies like Red Hat, Novell and Sun add value to the free product, but it is packaging and integration, not the actual creation of the program itself. And they expect to be paid for doing so! It seems to me that they are piggy backing on the work of many people for which they pay nothing.

        • #2504373
          Avatar photo

          Before Red Hat changed it’s ways

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Show Me The Money

          They sold product everywhere. I bought a 9 CD set of Red Hat 9 for under $40.00 AU with 30 days support. If I wanted to continue the support I paid for it which is all good & proper. M$ does the same thing but they first charge you like a wounded Bull for the software then the support anywhere that the local laws allow them to get away with this practise.

          The current version of Red Hat has both improved uses over the Free Stuff which is effectively Beta and then you get a 48 Hour Turn around on problems and here I don’t mean questions like how do I install this but serious problems that have no easy fix.

          The company supports it’s product and still makes money. Maybe not in the same liege as M$ but then again they are not considered as the Robber Barron that M$ is by many people. SUSE does exactly the same thing and they offer better value for money to Business over any of the other Open Source Suppliers with the possible exception of Red Hat and the Truly Open Source Debian. But both Red Hat & SUSE offer a excellent Help Desk alternative where the first alternative isn’t to reinstall the package and hope for the best which is what you most often hear from M$ while paying through the nose for something that you are trying to avoid.

          If both Red Hat & SUSE can have a real Help Desk what’s wrong with M$ offering which is hopeless, treats everyone like a complete armature who knows absolutely nothing about their product, and charge like a wounded Bull for the total lack of service. And here I’m not talking about ringing the general Publics Phone Support but the M$ Partners Support where we are supposed to be treated like professionals who know what we are doing, so you get questions like can you open Windows when you have already told them that WGA has caused a problem and you are getting a message that you have pirate Software and both the Keyboard & Mouse are locked up. So the very first question is what happens when you click on the Open Button? So you again tell them Nothing the Mouse Pointer doesn’t move. When that message finally sinks in they then start to tell you how to navigate with the keyboard which they have been told is already locked as well but no they have to run through their troubleshooting menus till they realise that this needs to be kicked up to a higher tier for a solution and then you go through the entire thing all over again. Then eventually you are asked can you do a Repair Install? The fact that M$ treats you like a complete Idiot who’s first option is to call them for help instead of you only contacting them as an absolute Last Resort Act of Desperation gets at me and is something I’ve yet to find with either Red Hat or SUSE.

          If the M$ Partners are treated this way I shudder to think how members of the general public are treated and what they think as time ticks over increasing the bill for no support.

          I’ve worked with the Flat Monthly charge from both red Hat & SUSE for support and the cost per incident from M$ and honestly I prefer to pay both Red Hat & SUSE for support as I get what I need when I need it and I’m not wasting time telling the same thing over & over to flunkies at M$ while the bill is mounting up and then you get stuck on hold for 25 minutes listing to music but they don’t stop charging you for this time wasted.

          Personally I don’t have a problem in buying a copy of Red Hat or SUSE Enterprise it works is easy to use and even easier and faster to install a complete suite of applications. For domestic users I give them the free version and you can see a difference between the 2 they most defiantly are not the same product.


        • #2504956


          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Before Red Hat changed it’s ways

          But isn’t Red Hat making money by supporting someone else’s program? They’re not actually developing code, are they?

          RH is making money, but the people who write the code aren’t. Yes, the coders know that in advance, but if I was working on a unpaid community project and saw someone else making money off my efforts, I’d be urinated as hell. I personally wouldn’t work on such a project, although that’s easy for me to say since I don’t have the programming skills anyway.

        • #2504914

          not quite true

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Question

          Red Hat does in deed produce code. There are a bunch of RH-specific utilities that ship with Fedora Core Linux and RHEL, and there are modifications made by RH to a lot of the software that the company gets from elsewhere to “sell” (although, what RH is actually selling is support, not the software).

          Also . . . who do you think is working for Red Hat? Many of the people writing free/libre/open source software are being paid by companies like Red Hat, Novell, and MySQL (yes, it’s a company as well as a database management system). Some of them are hired because of their work on FLOSS, some are hired then paid to work on FLOSS, and so on.

          People are being paid for their work on free software. It’s just not always so direct a relationship between work and pay that people not very involved in open source communities are likely to notice.

        • #2504939

          You Make My Point (Perhaps By Accident)

          by lazarus439 ·

          In reply to Before Red Hat changed it’s ways

          My question stands: how do those who actually create the products Red Hat brands and sells make their livings?

          I don’t disagree for a moment that Red Hat adds value to Linux by integration and support. However, neither does it pay a penny for the product(s) that it integrates and supports.

          As for Microsoft charging for support, you overlook a couple critical aspects. First, 99% of everything Microsoft knows is available FOR FREE on it’s website. If anything, there is so much information available that finding the right answer(s) is often hard to do. Second, Microsoft does not charge for hotfixes, service packs and the like. Sainted Apple, on the other hand, charged through the nose for each point release of OS X, even those point releases were little more than service packs.

        • #2504912

          money and software

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to You Make My Point (Perhaps By Accident)

          “[i]99% of everything Microsoft knows is available FOR FREE on it’s website.[/i]”
          Not true — much of what MS people know cannot be offered for free on the website without giving away trade secrets (like the underlying architecture of Windows, which is jealously guarded against public disclosure). To get top-notch developer information for creating software compatible with Microsoft offerings, you have to pay for access to the highest-level API documentation, and even then you’re not getting everything because Microsoft doesn’t want to give away its secrets. I imagine you must not be a programmer if you really think that most of what MS people know about MS software is available online, for free, on Microsoft’s website.

          “[i]Microsoft does not charge for hotfixes, service packs and the like.[/i]”
          . . . which it releases only if and when it damned well pleases. On the other hand, if you want something customized, or want a fix on [b]your[/b] timetable rather than Microsoft’s, you pay through the nose if you can get Microsoft to do the work at all.

          “[i]My question stands: how do those who actually create the products Red Hat brands and sells make their livings?[/i]”

          Try asking the people who actually create the software Red Hat uses to generate revenue. They tend to make a very comfortable living — and those who contribute significant time to free/libre/open source software tend to make their living in a manner that would not be possible without contributing to open source software development.

          They don’t all have to be making money in exactly the same manner for their choice in how to develop software to be profitable. I know you want a single, simple answer to the question of how to make money on free software, but it’s not that simple: there are many ways to do it, and people are coming up with new ways to do it every day.

        • #2504915

          You missed the point.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Show Me The Money

          “[i]In other words, your labor practicing law, repairing cars, building houses, teaching school, etc., etc, is assumed to be worthy of being compensated with money while the labor of those who write and support software is deemed not worthy of compensation.[/i]”

          Wrong. Developer labor isn’t worth more than a few beans now and then in the current software industry economy. All that’s worth anything is the finished “product”.

          People who practice law don’t get paid for a finished product. People who repair cars don’t get paid for a finished product. People who teach students in school don’t get paid for a finished product. These people are paid for a service based on their knowledge, and in the case of lawyers/judges and auto repair professionals they get paid very well. The reasons teachers and software developers don’t get paid very well is superficially different, but based on fundamentally the same problem.

          In the case of teachers, the superficial reason is that the education industry is run by government. For more on the subject of how working in an industry that is dominated by governmental bureaucracy can ruin your livelihood, see Canada’s healthcare system, and the fact that Canada’s healthcare professionals are all leaving for other countries.

          In software, the problem is corporate dominance of the software industry. Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle pretty much own the software industry. They treat software developers as cogs in the massive machinery of cranking out shrinkwrapped software “products”, interchangeable parts that can be replaced at a moment’s notice and, as such, are not worth much money.

          The one thing they have in common that leads to these two states of affairs is that people don’t value the process — they only value the end result. If you make software free and allow education to be accomplished in other venues, by other means, you will begin to see a huge difference in the way people make a living at these tasks. Software is already undergoing a change in that free/libre/open source software is undercutting corporate software-as-product business models significantly. With FLOSS, it’s the developers’ time that is valuable: when you want something not available in an already existing software package (proprietary or free), you view the developer who provides the modifications you need as a service provider, not as a machine part.

          Similarly, education is beginning to change, though more slowly. People are homeschooling their kids, and a small secondary education industry economy is beginning to form. It is largely being built as a barter economy — one homeschooling parent teaches another’s child about astronomy because he’s an astronomer, the other homeschooling parent is teaching the first parent’s kid about the law because she’s a lawyer.

          Eventually, if government gets the hell out of the way, this could turn into a healthy capital-based education industry in which the education of children is accomplished by way of a combination of tutors, parents, and free resources (probably mostly via the Internet). The left-wingnut dedication to centralizing power to provide “universal” services, combined with the right-wingnut dedication to providing “universal” services to facilitate centralization of power, will continue to be a hurdle in the path of this sort of education reform for some time to come, however.

          I make money off all the code I write for my clients. If they want to resell it or give it away, they’re welcome to do so. That’s how I make money off free software.

          I think you’re too stuck on the idea of “free as in beer”, rather than “free as in freedom”.

      • #2491877

        How Much is Too Much?

        by jfowler ·

        In reply to You’re doing too much crack ..


    • #2504388

      Don’t count on it – and it’s not really “free”…

      by chas_2 ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      What you call “free” software isn’t really free. Many popular social networking sites such as MySpace have become mass marketing machines by which advertisers fund the site’s operations.

      Another point is that it depends on the quality of the software you’re interested in making free. There are already zillions of free titles out there that many people don’t know about, simply because the World Wide Web is so vast. Developers that know how to get the word out over their software have an advantage over the cacophony of the greater marketplace. Some of these free titles are of questionable quality, though.

      The question I think you’re really asking, then, is when is free software on the level of quality provided by large corporations such as Adobe, Microsoft, etc., going to be free. I wouldn’t count on it. On a basic level, I think developers ought to be rewarded for their efforts writing such tools. At this point in the history of the software industry, the business model is that sales of software licenses provide those rewards.

      Some free titles are subsidized by more popular titles. Consider the examples of Microsoft’s “Express” languages such as Visual Basic and C#. You can download either of these development tools for free. They don’t carry the full functionality of their Visual Studio counterparts, but the target audience is those users who are curious about writing software, but who aren’t comfortable committing several hundred dollars to buying a title. Sales of Visual Studio, Office, XBoxes, etc., make it possible for Microsoft to “give” away their Visual “Express” languages. I have actually tried Visual Basic Express and it is very good for a “free” title.

      So, to summarize, there are already lots of free titles available; you probably haven’t heard of many of the better ones simply because the marketplace is so huge. And offerings from large corporations will continue to be sold because developers (and their partners – managers, tech support, advertisers, etc.) need to paid for their efforts. It is fanciful to think that a team of talented developers would spend their precious hours of life producing an application as popular as (say) Microsoft Word on a volunteer basis (which is what a truly free software title would require) and receive nothing monetary in return. It simply would not work.

    • #2504302

      Intellectual Property Cannot Be Fully FREE in Open Markets

      by snajar ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      That’s a good question and it hits on a very fundemental principle of free markets. In capitalism specifically, everything has a price tag. Especially intellectual property. An artist will not accept people copy his art for free. He would like to be compensated for his or her work, eventually.

      There’s no such thing as fully FREE meal. I can argue that most what appears to be free software out there has alterior motives. Such as getting a big market share quickly. It is usually a competitive tactical move, but not a true free software movement.

      It would be obsurd to say that people don’t want to get paid for their art work, again, eventually.

      One might get away with not charging for commodity software as you mentioned, but specialized, “trade secret” software will never be free in a free market. We put a price on art and intellectual property.

      The line that seperates commodity software from proprietory software is a very flexible line which depends on the time we live in. What is proprietory software today will become commodity tomorrow and the line will shift.

      In conclusion, as long as there’s an open market that puts a price on intellectual property and art work, there will always be “specialized” and proprietory software and commodity FREE software.

      • #2504911


        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Intellectual Property Cannot Be Fully FREE in Open Markets

        It’s easy to operate without “intellectual property”. Look at the people making money doing development on the Linux kernel, on various BSD OSes, and on other free/libre/open source software offerings like MySQL, PostreSQL, Open-Xchange, and so on. I make money writing code that is not sold by license, that can be freely copied and redistributed. I don’t want “intellectual property rights”, and I don’t think such is even ethical. I just want to be given just attribution when you pass my work on to others. If they want more of the same, they can come to me and pay me to write more code — and they can then do whatever they want with that code, so long as they don’t prevent others from doing the same, and so long as they give credit where it’s due.

        If it works for me, it can work for anyone else too.

        • #2504900

          Therein Lies the Rub

          by lazarus439 ·

          In reply to incorrect

          “I don’t want “intellectual property rights”, and I don’t think such is even ethical. ”

          You certainly may choose to give away the product of your labor – your intellectual property – but you have no grounds to impune those do choose not to give it away.

          Do you expect your car to be repaired for only the cost of the parts, your house built for only the cost of materials? Those who make the repairs, build the houses and the like have every expectation of getting paid for their skill and creativity in their field. Stating that there is a ethical problem with someone who skill and creativity is software development is not defensible. Either everyone is entitled – not required – to charge for their labor or no one is.

          It may work for you, but you have no standing to insist that it must work for everyone else!

        • #2504893


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Therein Lies the Rub

          Did you even read what I said? Ignorant, much?

        • #2486586

          Yes, I did…

          by lazarus439 ·

          In reply to WTF?

          and I took serious exception to your claiming some sort of moral high ground when you brought in your opinion that charging for software is unethical.

          And, since you’ve continued down the name calling road, this is done.

        • #2486510
          Avatar photo

          And just where did he say that charging for Software

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Yes, I did…

          Was unethical?

          What he did was that once he had been paid to write some software for someone they where free to do with it as they please not that he wrote it for free but he objected to IP ideas.

          There is a very big difference between the two if you have never noticed.

          One way you generate income through [b]Word of Mouth[/b] and the other way you generate income through The Rule of Law with high price tags for non compliance. These High Price Tags can even apply when you are selling Genuine software as an example M$ where quite happy to sell copies of their software to an AU Business in Singapore and then when that business started selling them in AU took them to court for selling Pirate Product even though M$ Singapore sold the product. Apparently Pirate is subjective under the Propriety Software Model as it’s Pirate if not bought in the country that it’s sold in by the maker even though every CD is pressed in the same country and place but because it’s sold to different parts of the world the same product can be classed as Pirate by different countries when it’s all sold by the same company.

          Now that I do find offencive.


        • #2486437

          Clearly, you didn’t read very closely.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Yes, I did…

          I never said charging for software was unethical. I charge for my services writing code all the time.

          I didn’t call you names either. The only think I can think you might have imagined was name-calling was use of the word “ignorant”, which isn’t name-calling. It’s not even a noun. It’s an adjective. If I’d called you an ignoramus, that’d be name-calling, but I don’t know enough about you to make a claim that you are ignorant in all ways and incapable of being recovered — basically what I’d be saying if I called you an ignoramus. Thus, I don’t know if you’re an ignoramus. I just know that, in some limited sense, you are clearly ignorant of some very key facts.

          In this case, you are at least ignorant of what I was saying, and considering you were directly responding to me I must come to the conclusion that you’re [b]willfully[/b] ignorant of what I was saying.

        • #2486616

          You’re talking about a different scope

          by snajar ·

          In reply to incorrect

          I’m just curious, how do you make money writing free software? Who’s paying you? How are they getting paid? At the end of the food chain someone has to charge something to someone. So it can’t be totally free.

          It is your choice whether you want to be paid for your hard intellectual work. Open market provide recognizes both. One side should not be trying to cancel the other.

          Some people don’t like to profit as much from their work. Other people want to profit from their intellectual work. There will always be those two types of people. At the end of the day, someone is paying for value. It can’t be totally free.

          Look at it from another way, why should users enjoy the fruits of someone’s brain without paying? Is this fair?

        • #2486507
          Avatar photo

          Just a small point here

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to You’re talking about a different scope

          There is not a single Programmer of the face of this planet who holds any IP rights to their work. The company that they work for holds that IP right not the actual person who developed the code.

          Can you even begin to imagine what a mess M$ would be in if they had to pay their programmers IP Royalties even after they had been burnt out and spat out by the company. They would have to keep track of each and every person and their estates if they died to pay the Royalties into.

          Sorry but you are getting confused by what IP actually is and who owns it. In the end the one with the deepest pockets gets to own IP Right to things no matter if they where responsible for creating it or not. Microsoft with its practises of stealing an idea and then selling a product based around that idea are a perfect example of this practise or if you want to go back to the very beginning of the M$ IBM Alliance who really owned the rights to the Dirty Operating System that M$ bought M$ or DR DOS?


        • #2486484

          Who own IP is a dev business decision issue

          by snajar ·

          In reply to Just a small point here

          Very good point. However, it is a different discussion. I take it that we agree that IP has to be owned by “someone” and get paid for.

          To delve into who owns the IP issue, it is all agreed on by society at large. Simple economics. Do I want the stability of a consistent paycheck or risk starvation on software that could make it or could not make it? It is a personal choice. Some developers choose to take full equity and no paycheck, some developers choose the consistent, stable paycheck instead of equity, some companies offer both.

          Again, open market forces at work and personal subjective decision. Everything is available, it is up to you to decide.

          Looking at it from the otherside, those companies and entreprenuers are taking the risk off the developers shoulders and bringing the product to market. Developers arenn’t business people.

          As a matter of fact, many developers and geeks are reeping billions right now because they chose to take the other path of starting their own business. Google is a huge example of develpers getting royalties for their own intellectual property. I wouldn’t not exclude Bill Gate. He’s one of “us” who made it. Why now do we envy him? Bill Gates is an example of the ideal concept that you’re talking about. He didn’t want to lose royalties on his own ideas and he chose to take the hard/high risk return and he became a billionnaire. You should be happy for Bill Gates and Microsoft because he successfully fulfilled the concept your arguing for now.

        • #2486483

          Just a thought

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to Who own IP is a dev business decision issue

          Bill Gates did NOT develop the code for, nor devise the IP for, MS DOS. MS DOS was bourne of a partnership with IBM (I believe, Col correct me if I am wrong here) and the development effort around DR DOS or QDOS. Col- you know this off the top better than I.

          Regardless, Bill Gates is NOT responsible for MS DOS, the original flagship MS product. Except possibly peripherally.

        • #2486442
          Avatar photo

          Tig what became to be known as MS DOS

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Just a thought

          Was originally a backward engineered Copy of Inter Galactic Digital Research DOS.

          A Developer at Sun got a hold of the DR DOS Manual and then proceed to write code to executive some of the same commands as used by DR DOS but without the switches as this required more coding this he called the [b]Dirty Operating System[/b] and he sold off small volumes for a few $ per copy to computer enthusiasts who couldn’t afford the $80.00 US a copy for DR DOS.

          When IBM Approached M$ they where after a complete system to place on their PC’s so Bill Gates sent the IBM Legal boys around to Garry Killian’s place where they insisted that his wife sign a nondisclosure agreement before they would even tell her who they where from. At the time Garry was out and his wife was looking after things, maybe he’d gone fishing as in those days it was far more laid back. She quite rightly refused and chucked them out and then rang the FBI to report them as possible people doing something not in the interests of the US Society. The original Nondisclosure paper didn’t even have a company name on it let alone the name of a Group of Lawyers.

          Because they where evicted by Gary’s wife the IBM Legal Boys where unwilling to return to DR DOS and be reasonable like any reasonable Business would be, at the time IBM was above everything and a law unto themselves. Well the business side was we on the technical side used to look after our customers and treat them well but we tried to keep a buffer between the customer and the Corporate Division as they always mucked things up when they should have been a simple fix to a problem.

          Anyway IBM wanted a complete cheap system to place on their PC’s and not deal with a bunch of different vendors like WP Lotus and the like who where already Industry Leaders in their individual fields. At the time MS was making cheap second rate software like Word, Excel and the like which wasn’t integrated and worked as a Poor Persons replacement for the Industry leaders.

          Bill was by now desperate in not wanting to loose the deal with IBM tried very hard to get IBM to revisit the Killian’s but they refused so out of desperation he found a person who told him about the Dirty Operating System being sold in small numbers by a Sun developer so he approached Sun and brought the OS from them for a figure that varies depending on who you listen to. The most common figure was about $50,000.00 US to be paid in instalments after the IBM PC was introduced.

          With the Dirty Operating System in tow Bill got his team of developers to re-badge the OS and place the MS Logo on it and as they say the rest is history.

          As far as Code being developed by the College Drop out known as Bill Gates the only thing that I’m aware of is when the Dream was developed for home use which was a self assemble computer without an IO Interface and relied on a punched paper feeder he managed to be there first with something that would light a Red LED on the front of the machine and even that required several attempts to get right.


        • #2486436
          Avatar photo

          Actually we don’t agree

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Who own IP is a dev business decision issue

          If I write some code I expect to be paid once for it not a thousand time over. I work 3 hours I expect to be paid for 3 hours not 3,000 hours because someone else finds a use for my code or the company who I wrote the code for wants to install it on more computers.

          If I produce a piece of code and am unwilling to pay the Copyright fees which are considerable why should I expect someone not directly connected to the original purchase of that code to pay me when they use it. IP is a sham brought about by the Legal WHORES to make money for themselves nothing more & nothing less.

          I also have to disagree with you on who owns the IP if it even exists. Many places refuse to allow the developers to retain IP rights to code that they may produce the 2 most common are M$ and the Military as fine examples of just why IP should not exist. If it did and I wrote something for a Military Application should I be free to sell it to anyone who asks? More importantly should I expect payment every time this code is installed on a different machine? I personally don’t think so and I don’t think that I should be free to sell code to who ever wants something there are some jobs that I simply refuse to do through some strange things called [b]Ethics.[/b]

          [i]Looking at it from the otherside, those companies and entreprenuers are taking the risk off the developers shoulders and bringing the product to market. Developers arenn’t business people.[/i]

          What risk are companies like M$ IBM Oracle and the like actually taking by employing a bunch of developers? If anything this is saving them money from a tax prospective and maybe some time down the track they can release a modified option to their existing product line up. These companies burn out and spit out many more developers that they help to make into great developers and even the few who make it tot he top are not the ones that I would personally be looking to employ as they tend to be [b]Yes People[/b] who agree with management no matter how stupid their ideas are.

          Personally I don’t have a problem with people making a lot of money off their work that’s their right to do if they want to but the people at Goggle wouldn’t be worth 1 cent without the Internet.

          As for that College Drop Out Bill Gates I’m not actually sure that he’s even written a single line of code in his entire life. His sole claim to fame is that he and 2 friends managed to be the first people to get a paper punched tape to light a red LED on a flat Pack Dream Home Computer at the developers place before these where actually shipped.

          From that point on he created his own business and called it Microsoft where he employed a bunch of developers to develop applications for the then current Home Computer market. M$ back in those days was constantly on the verge of bankruptcy so in Lew of payment he part paid his staff with shares in MS and when he swung the deal with IBM those shares became worth some money.

          Bill Gates was never a programmer but an Ideas Man so he had the ideas and he got others to make them work. If IBM had not of come along when it did I very much doubt that Microsoft would exist today they would just be another failed venture in the Computer Market which was never going to amount to anything.

          Even the idea of Windows was taken directly from Xerox who developed the Lidia which was basically a thousand PC’s networked together sharing resources and had a GUI. M$ or Apple with all their Millions behind them are still unable to reach that level of networking that Xerox had all that time ago and then scrapped because the [b]Home Computer Market would never amount to anything.[/b]


        • #2486432

          Yes but he’s not in that equation

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Who own IP is a dev business decision issue

          he writes software to do X in return for some money and his name on the software saying Apotheon wrote this.

          If you like the way he’s done it, do feel free to give HIM a ring about what you want.
          If you say, Tony can you build something off this. The next version says

          Done by Tony Based on Apotheon’s original version of X.

          What you want is done by snajar on both, because you paid for it, or you are saying that it’s his, not your’s and you can’t get me to do anything with it, in fact you can’t get him to either.

          IP is not the way the world works, it’s a legal fiction to justify theft based on the fallacy that only one person can come up with an idea.

          The extremes it’s being taken to now in software applied elsewhere would be a nonsense. According to the way they apply it now we’d be paying Ug the caveman royalties for coming up with fire and the wheel. Paying Leonardo every time we wanted to do a portrait of a bint and Van Gogt a flower.

        • #2486435

          Oh, look, another one.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to You’re talking about a different scope

          Like Lazarus439, you seem unable to read what I actually said. I never said people shouldn’t be able to profit from their work. I profit from code that I write. So can you, and you don’t need intellectual property law as a metaphorical gun to someone’s head to do it. That was the whole point of the post to which you replied as though I said we shouldn’t be able to charge for our work.

          Read it again, without the assumption that the only way to make money on software is to burn it to CD, stick it in a box, shrink-wrap it, and put it on the shelves of Best Buy.

    • #2504295


      by balthor ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      How could you write software;give it away for free and still pay your bills?You sell your software to a computer company.They offer it in a site,like Tech Republic,as a free download.The idea is to stimulate growth in the computer industry.And really the Internet is a telephone call.You can not charge for software that is downloaded.It has to be FREE and FULLY FUNCTIONAL.That’s the law!

      • #2504275


        by charliespencer ·


        “You can not charge for software that is downloaded.It has to be FREE and FULLY FUNCTIONAL.That’s the law!”

        Which law would that be, and in what jurisdiction? I’ve downloaded many applications I had to pay for, and a couple that turned out to be less than fully functional (because of poor design, not by malicious intent). The U.S. government’s Internal Revenue Service has links on it’s web site to companies who distribute tax software via download and charge for it.

      • #2504271

        Oh, dear god…I’m breaking “the law”

        by jmgarvin ·


        So, if I put up software on my web page that is in alpha or even pre-alpha state, I’m breaking the law?


        • #2504270

          Finally, the loophole we need to nail Microsoft!

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Oh, dear god…I’m breaking “the law”

          Wasn’t Vista available as a beta download?

          Who prosecutes this, the Federal Communications Commission since a phone line was used? It can’t be the Trade Commission since no money changed hands. If I received the software on CD, we could get the postal inspectors involved.

          Or maybe BALTHOR doesn’t have all the creamy filling in his Twinkies.

    • #2504935

      free s/w

      by ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      …..when you spend your time and money writing it then give it away free.

      • #2504903

        profitable free software

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to free s/w

        . . . when you spend your time (and maybe money) writing software for someone that is paying for you to do so, then it is given away free by whoever decides to do so, with the understanding that you (the developer) retain copyright but allow it to be freely distributed, modified, et cetera.

        I think I’ll have to assume that you know little or nothing about the economics of open source software development.

        • #2504725

          I sure don’t.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to profitable free software

          “when you spend your time … writing software … then it is given away free by whoever decides to do so,”

          Why would you do that when you could ask the original customer to refer the potential user to you so you could charge him for the app? I still don’t see how you’re making a living. Obviously you are; I’m just not sure how.

          Why would the original customer be willing to pay the cost of the development and then allow others to get the app without helping to cover the development costs? That sounds a lot like the US pharmaceutical industry: charge the US customers out the wazoo to cover the R&D and advertising and then sell the product to everyone else at the manufacturing cost. I’m footing the bill, you’re getting the benefits.

        • #2504679

          easy answers

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I sure don’t.

          “[i]Why would you do that when you could ask the original customer to refer the potential user to you so you could charge him for the app?[/i]”
          Actually, they usually do refer other potential clients to me because the code I write tends to need tweaking to be suited to a different client’s needs. Besides, people don’t think to give away the code I’ve written for them, generally, because there’s nothing in it for them to do so. Anyway, I don’t charge anyone for applications. I charge them for development, configuration, customization, support, and so on.

          “[i]Why would the original customer be willing to pay the cost of the development and then allow others to get the app without helping to cover the development costs?[/i]”
          My clients pay to have a business resource developed. They don’t pay for a product. For instance, when an e-commerce site is needed, I might be paid to set it up, but what they really want is an end-user experience and an easily managed back end — not an e-commerce application. They don’t care about the “product” so much as the business process and revenue stream.

          While all that may sound suspiciously like an application, in practical terms, you have to realize that the difference is the motivation behind paying me for my work. That motivation determines where their focus lies. They just don’t think about the idea of the availability of the “product” — rather, they think about what they want, and what they’re getting. Really, that’s where their focus should be anyway: it doesn’t matter what Joe’s Guitar Shack a few blocks down the information superhighway is doing, as long as your own guitar business is selling guitars like hotcakes.

          If I took the same attitude toward all aspects of my profession that you suggest my clients should take toward the code I write for them, I would never have offered helpful hints and more direct help to people working with Linux-related issues here at TR. If I had that attitude, I’d want all of you to be as completely ignorant as possible so that you wouldn’t be able to compete as well.

          I’m smart enough to know that wouldn’t be to my advantage in the long run. Offering expertise for free, within limits of reason, is great advertising. Being helpful to others gets me some help as well. Et cetera. The same applies to software: once I’ve written it, it’s fine if it gets out into the world, as long as it’s known that I wrote it. It’s excellent advertising, and it won’t ruin my business viability because the next client will want something slightly different anyway.

          I’ll let you in on a secret, by the way: people who do development consulting don’t write nearly as much new software as you might think. They (we) spend most of their (our) time modifying stuff that already exists, whether it be our own stuff or software written by someone else. How would it be to my advantage to keep software I’ve written under wraps, when releasing it into the world means I’ll probably get it back improved by others, and I’ll still be able to make money at least as easily because all that’s really needed by clients is usually customization of software anyway?

    • #2504801

      Perhaps sooner than we’d like

      by recce1 ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      Software will be free when far left liberals decide evryone has a right to computer access and related software. That may come about sooner than everyone thinks.

      Then, after banning trans fats, we will all be forced to become vegetarians. I just hope we don’t become like the Nazi SS High command that was dominated by vegetariians.

      It’s going to be a Brave New World folks.

    • #2504704

      What do you get with free software?

      by josb ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      From an average John Doe perspective, free software is good. You don’t have to pay for the software / service you use, so you have more money to spend on other things.

      From business, things are different.
      For example, we don’t mind paying for our investment systems.
      For example:
      1. They generate money
      2. We want support
      3. We cannot afford any glitches in the system that causes the software to produce wrong results (that’s even worse than no results).
      4. We want the system to support various investment products.

      And to do this, you need a support department, quality assurance.
      On top of that, our supplier must know about our business and the various investment products.
      That’s (highly) specialised knowledge.
      For example: Do you know how to calculate the market value of a French index-linked bond, including accrued interest?
      And at the same time how to calculate the value of a Put Option on the same bond?

      And how fast can you determine the cause of the problem when a value does not show right in your system.
      And have a solution present?

      When the time comes that free software and the teams behind it have the same knowledge and solve problems at least as fast as commercial suppliers (not looking at OS, browser and other commodity software), then business will perhaps switch to free software.

      • #2504684

        I agree, however two different things: Software and Expertise

        by jon ·

        In reply to What do you get with free software?

        I absolutely agree with your first three points, i don’t know much about #4.

        Lets be clear about one thing, if nothing else is taken away from this thread of discussion. Software is no more than a means to an end; solve a problem, make some money, balance a check book. So you have to ask yourself when you buy a piece of software, what are you paying for the software or someone’s expertise.

        In the past the two had been one in the same but in the freemium model you separate these items, the fundamental software is free and you pay for someone’s expertise. People expect to get something for free but they don’t expect someone’s time to be free. For instance, all freemium software comes with free support, but if you require more support you can buy it. All freemium software comes with basic functionality, but if you want some custom functionality, you pay for someone’s expertise to build it for you.

      • #2504676

        That doesn’t require paying for software.

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to What do you get with free software?

        What you’re talking about isn’t buying software — it’s buying support. Buying support is possible for a lot of free/libre/open source software, and in many cases it’s much better than the support you’d typically get from a proprietary software vendor. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and MySQL are two examples that immediately spring to mind.

    • #2505409

      online security/free software

      by pfyearwood ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      My concern about “Online Software Suites” is security. How can online software or online storage guarantee security of data? If millions of home online systems are subject to phishing, hacking, and worms, how can anyone say that my personal files and business records are safe using online systems? Instead of scattered attacks on small units, a few targets will be at the mercy of the hackers. It will be open season for zombies and DOS attacks.

      To paraphrase a common slogan, Free software is not free. I have tried many versions of Linux and spent hours just trying to get it to play video feeds from one of the TV nets web pages. I am told to download the current version of an applet but when I follow directions, it will not work. I reload Windows and it works. I may have to update the same applet for Windows but it works. It may be free as in free beer but you will have to drink a lot of free beer before you eventually nuke the harddrive and reload windows. You should not have to be in IS or IT to use a computer. It is just a typerwriter attached to a Television set.

      • #2505391

        Linux is not free as in beer

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to online security/free software

        It’s free as in you can do what you want with it.

        Adware/freemium which was the main thrust of this thread is not free as in beer or anything else.

        • #2505374

          just made my point

          by pfyearwood ·

          In reply to Linux is not free as in beer

          All the free Linux versions I have tried, Mandrake, Mandriva, SUSE, Puppy, Cherebourg, Pioneer, Linspire, Freespire, and others I have forgotten, do not do what I want them to. I am not “FREE” to watch streaming video or listen to internet radio without having to find still more “FREE” packages that do not load as instructions say they do.

          I do use Mozilla products and Open Office because they do work. I use Windows because it also works. I keep experimenting with Linux because, maybe someday, I’ll find a flavor that does not need me to add in Flash so I can watch an old episode of NCIS. Like I said, A computer is just a TV connected to a typewriter. I should not do more than the equivalent of putting in paper and doing my work.

        • #2505168

          Uh . . . what?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to just made my point

          “[i]I’ll find a flavor that does not need me to add in Flash so I can watch an old episode of NCIS.[/i]”
          You have to “add in” Flash on a Windows machine, too. A Flash plugin is needed to watch Flash video objects, period, regardless of the OS you’re using.

        • #2491761

          sorry, let me rephrase

          by pfyearwood ·

          In reply to Uh . . . what?

          When I download Flash or other applets in windows, it works for me. I don’t need to use admin rights or logins. I just click run and it works. With any linux I have tried I have to go to sys admin, login, go to term, then type in the script. I go through the instructions and it still does not work. The web sites still tell me I have to go to Flash. I am not a computer engineer, IT specialist or linux guru. I am a writer with an interested in watching online vids. When I add a program in windows it works. When I try to add a program in linux I get messages that needed packages are missing.

          My brother has made his own computers since OSI and cassette tape storage. He listened a sales pitch by a kid named Bill Gates. He was an advocate of OS/2 Turbo. He also thinks that linux is a long way from being the savior of computerdom. Oh, and he also hold a degree in computers from a major engineering school in Indiana that start with a big P. I’ll still play with linux because as it says at the top of Distrowatch homepage, put fun back in computing. But, for work I can rely on, I’ll take Windows.

        • #2491720

          ease of use, et cetera

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to sorry, let me rephrase

          1. In Debian, [b]apt-get install swf-player[/b]. Works like a charm.

          2. In Debian, if you want the official/proprietary Adobe Flash player, [b]apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree[/b]. Again, it works like a charm.

          3. If you don’t have to have admin access to install Flash universally for all users, that’s a security failure. I wouldn’t want it to be that easy to install and execute arbitrary software packages because nonprivileged users shouldn’t have that kind of power over the system as a whole.

          It was a bit more of a pain in the butt to get Flash working on FreeBSD, which is my own OS of choice, but the benefits of using FreeBSD over Linux (or worse, Windows) outweigh the problems I encountered getting Flash to work.

          “[i]When I add a program in windows it works. When I try to add a program in linux I get messages that needed packages are missing.[/i]”
          It sounds like you need to learn how to use a package manager — easier than using Windows Update, but much more useful. If you’re using a Debian-based distribution with APT, [url=][b]this article[/b][/url] might be a good place to start.

          “[i]But, for work I can rely on, I’ll take Windows.[/i]”
          That’s amusing. Really.

        • #2505063

          No I didn’t

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to just made my point

          You are free to get flash to install under linux, you are free to write an alternative, you are free to install another’s alternative, you are free not to bother with it, you are free to install windows, pay for the lease and then install flash on the fly.

          Open source that does what you want, requires you to contribute or to take whatever others wanted. You are free to do either.

      • #2505335

        Good Question!

        by joep3 ·

        In reply to online security/free software

        You ask “how can online software or online storage guarantee security of data?” and further say “instead of scattered attacks on small units, a few targets will be at the mercy of the hackers” which raises an important issue. As I have posted previously on this discussion thread, it is the quality of the publisher and their understanding of this model that makes the difference.

        On-line software that is done right pays particular attention to instances. For example, with our product –, in addition to encryption, no user’s data is shared. Each user, though they can route data to other users, is their own instance of the application AND ALSO OF THE DATABASE. No records are shared at all. This is critical to security.

        To better understand this model, think about email on the Internet. I can only view what is sent to me. There is segregation on the database that prevents me from seeing other peoples email even though technically it may be located on the same server. The sender has a copy of the message sent and so does the recipient. The message is never shared as a record.

        This approach to looking at application data integrity is very different from client-server, where often the goal is to economize space through data “permissioning”. In other words, one database that many log into.

        In SaaS or Internet-based software, the publisher needs to make certain that each account is a “virtual database” to insure security. If any records share a log in, they, as you correctly point out, become vulnerable.

        Is anyone else in this discussion involved with an SaaS application that is more than just on-demand or hosted?

      • #2491806

        Where is your money safer, your mattress or a bank???

        by jon ·

        In reply to online security/free software

        SaaS delivery software security is often the number one concern. I don’t know that it is appropriate to discuss in this thread, however is a valid point to be raised. In fact, I’ll start a new thread: “Which is the best way to ensure you data is secure, a hosting facility or host it yourself?” I’d love to get that conversation going, please post there.

        • #2491776

          so link to it

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Where is your money safer, your mattress or a bank???

          If you really want people to participate in another discussion, you should link to it from this discussion. Don’t make people have to hunt the thing down — then you’ll only get the terminally bored, with plenty of time on their hands, that can’t think of anything better to do with their time than waste it trying to use TR’s (usually broken) search functionality.

        • #2490730

          Security discussion link : To host or not to host …

          by jon ·

          In reply to so link to it

        • #2490777

          FDR never declared a Mattress Holiday

          by pfyearwood ·

          In reply to Where is your money safer, your mattress or a bank???

          Another cause for concern, is vulnerability of the hardware of the storage units. Can your company in Boston keep working if your servers are in New Orleans during Katrina? How about an earthquake in L.A.? Tsunami in Vietnam? You need a document in NYC and snow downs phone lines in Denver? Three weeks in a row?

          And if you tell me that I should keep a back up in my desktop, why should I pay to use your service?

    • #2491784

      Free Software?

      by brianza ·

      In reply to When is free software going to be the norm?

      I don’t see the feasibility of no-charge (free) software except when there is a logical reason for this i.e. the software hasn’t been tested and requires a sample user to trial the software. Sample versions of software like Outlook Express are very basic and havne’t got the capabilities of full priced versions. I guess if the person using the software is under an obligation of loyalty to the creator of that software then this justifies the point of that freeware. But the main problem is, how are they going to pay for it? Can software companies afford to pay up for people using their free software? I think the answer in the long run is ‘no’ … ‘we can’t pay for this software’ so I guess, they’ll have to find another way to compensating for that loss in profit. My suggestion is, charge users by detracting a loyalty payment of say 10% +/- for using that software or make requirements for use of that software that would benefit the software company in some way. Ten percent might sound like not a lot but if you multiply that by the number of users then the total will surely rise. E.g. 39.95 x 10% x 1011 users = $44428.40. Wow, that’s not bad for a piece of software!!

      All the best.

      • #2491777

        Have you ever heard of open source software?

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Free Software?

        I’m just curious. Judging by your post, I’d guess “no”.

      • #2490727

        Firefox is free, their revenues are…

        by jon ·

        In reply to Free Software?

        The glorious browser that is firefox is free, I heard a rumor their revenues are estimated between, 50 – 65 million dollars a year. No one really knows because they don’t publish their numbers.

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