Linux and Philosophy

Levi Pearson levi at cold.org
Sat Jul 16 22:51:01 MDT 2005


On Jul 16, 2005, at 10:22 PM, Doran Barton wrote:

>
> I would suggest you use some of Eric Raymond's essays for source  
> material.
> He goes on at length about the ethical issues of software development,
> business, etc. For example, Raymond argues the only real value in  
> software
> is the support that comes along with it. He points out an obvious
> illustration of this: the price of a piece of software from a  
> company that
> has gone out of business is very near to free. Think bargain/ 
> clearance bin.
>
>

The idea that the only real value in software is the support that  
goes along with it is not exactly on very solid ground.  Just like  
any other tool, software has value corresponding to the utility that  
it offers to those willing to pay for it.  Complex tools do require  
some support, in which case there is a second source of value, but  
claiming that it's the only source of value is ridiculous.

Comparisons with bargain/clearance bins are not particularly valid.   
A company with a software product that people are willing to pay lots  
of money for is not likely to go out of business, unless they make  
some poor business decisions or something.  At that point, someone  
else is likely to buy the IP, and it'll stay out of the bargain bin.   
Most of the software in the bargain bin was not worth much to begin  
with; support for it is irrelevant.

         --Levi




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