SLUG Mailing List Archives
Re: [SLUG] Poland taxes GNU/opensource/freebeer
- To: dean@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Re: [SLUG] Poland taxes GNU/opensource/freebeer
- From: Rachel Polanskis <r.polanskis@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed Nov 22 23:09:41 2000
- Cc: Jon Biddell <jon@xxxxxxxxx>, Jason Stokes <jstok@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, slug@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Reply-to: r.polanskis@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
On Wed, 22 Nov 2000, Dean Hamstead wrote:
> Software doesnt exist, so why should i pay for it?
> lets say i put a scsi disk with mac on it onto a
> sparc machine? nothing, its as good as a blank disk
> Why should i pay for a magnetic configuration?
> I mean, lets say i wave a magnet near a disk, in
> theory i could come up with something that would do
> something usefull (sometimes i think this is how
> windows is developed)
I agree with you in principle. Since early my IT background in the 80's
I've thought of software as being just that - soft, ie brain tissue.
When I bought COTS products in the past, I knew I wasn't paying for
what was actually in the box, rather I was paying for the media, the
box itself and any documentation. I knew also I was paying for
someone's imagination - their Intellectual Property. I wasn't
actually paying for the patterns of magnetic crystals on a
plastic substrate that coincidentally happened to form machine
The fact that the given value of Intellectual Property for Microsoft products
is a variable indicates to me that COTS software is only worth what you
are willing to pay for it, and the variable is determined by what you
are prepared to pay as well as whatever arbitrary market category you
With Open Source, the value of the IP is not an arbitrary
value based on monetary
terms but more on it's actual usefulness to you as a software system.
We don't all need PowerPoint and Wing Commander. However an arbitrary
value is placed on them and we are prepared to pay for it if we want them.
These products can have a moderate to high monetary value (even more
thanks to the Howard Peso) but their usefulness is suspect.
We all need DNS and Sendmail - can you foresee what would happen if the
vendors that produce these packages decided to pull all source code off
the net and only ship the finished products as COTS systems in a
shrinkwrap carton? There would be an outcry, but there would also
be a ready market for these products. The IP behind these products
is so useful, in this day & age, no one can do without them - placing
an arbitrary value on them would not only be a monopoly, it would
almost be criminally culpable.
When you use OSS products you are putting a value on them that is not
arbitrary. When you purchase COTS products, you are forced to place
an arbitrary value on the product regardless of it's perceived
If this doesn't make sense, blame the Long Flat White I had for supper ;)
Rachel Polanskis Kingswood, Greater Western Sydney, Australia
"People don't say sorry in this country" - Max Connors (Seachange)