I'm quite familiar with all of these claims. But they don't address
the fundamental *business* question of how to support an open source
*project* more effectively, which is more than just development. Some
comments to follow:
On Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 12:29 PM, Tom Davies <email@example.com> wrote:
I guess it depends what you mean by "pay" and "free". A vast amount of people get sucked into
the Free Software World and
then start helping people or programming or putting their valuable time into the projects in
other ways that benefit the project.
The pay-off is that they tend to reduce their outgoings so there is less need for them to spend
money on things they would >normally have to spend a lot of money on.
This is focused on *cost* as opposed to *profit* and is trapped into
the commodity mindset. Costs are irrelevant if you have no sales. It
is also why FOSS has trouble (with a few exceptions) selling itself
outside of a few niches.
The Free Software Foundation are very clear in their GPLs and such how people can legitimately
earn money through Free >Software. The ones i noticed were through providing technical support
and selling the software on media such as Cds/Dvds
/Usb-sticks. For the devs i guess that means tier3 support?
That model worked when having tangible media was a value added
service. Is that model really relevant now when you can download
fully functional software and install it automatically?
Software is more than just the code. It is the documentation and
education of users. Education of users is *the* most effective
marketing I know of, because educated users then become marketers for
you. There is less benefit to open sourcing these aspects than there
is to just open sourcing the code.
A lot of devs are paid by the company they work for to work on FLOSS projects. The pay-off for
the companies are things like >NOT paying a rival competitor vast sums of money for license
fees. Also being able to target specific issues to suit the company >rather than waiting for a
rival company to get around to it (whatever "it" happens to be that month). Helping produce
something that undercuts their rivals products is an off-shoot.
The companies that support FLOSS are large companies that have profits
from other areas, so their activities are in essence a subsidy. How
would you justify pursuing FLOSS development strategy to a start-up,
without the cash to burn? That is my concern.
Copenhagen hospitals are apparently set to save millions by moving to LibreOffice. If they
spent a fraction of that saving on >developers time then they could end up with something
practically purpose-built for their precise needs. A small boost to the >local economy rather
than having that money disappear off to a foreign country.
There are economic fallacies here, but I don't dispute that
LibreOffice is a viable alternative to MS Office. I provide help
(unpaid) to professional writers who need to use it to do things that
MS Office does not, after all.
I want developers to be able to earn a *very* good living from
developing and supporting FLOSS as an alternative to working for some
large organization that happens to permit contributions to some
projects. I have seen no effort to encourage the development of ISV
to make money via support of LO, or by offering value added
That would go a long way toward spurring the use of LO,
as well as providing an alternative funding source for the TDF. The
TDF could act as a lead generator for ISV, who then pay for this
service as a marketing expense for their business. They also help
contribute to testing, etc.
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