Linux laptops, revisited (can any sleep like my PowerBook does?)

Doran L. Barton fozz at iodynamics.com
Mon Jan 21 18:20:13 MST 2008


Back in the late 1990s, Eric Raymond wrote a few essays, one of which
allegedly convinced Netscape to open source their web browser and thus,
Mozilla was born. 

But, that's not really the point of my PLUG posting. Raymond also wrote a
lot of really interesting things about the nature of software. One of the
things he pondered in his essays was whether or not software had any
intrinsic value. He postulated that software, by itself is worthless. As
evidence of this, he observed what happens to the price of a particular
piece of software after the computer that produces it goes out of business.
The answer: bargain bin or trash.

So, Raymond asked, why do people willingly fork over money for software?
The answer: Because there is at least the illusion that the company
producing the software *supports* the software. Raymond goes on to say
that, in reality, you're not buying the software as much as paying for the
support of the software. This makes Microsoft's "call your reseller"
or pay by-the-minute telephone support options seem even more like
rape... like gang rape, maybe.

If you buy into these rules of the software industry, it stands to reason
that open source software can certainly be a profitable venture for a
company to go into because they can sell support options while giving the
software and its source code away for free. Since Raymond wrote this, many
companies have proven this to be true. 

This was just a thought that came into my head while I was reading this
stuff. 

I don't know why anyone brought up religion. If anything, some of these
arguments are "ideological" and not religious at all. Please, get it right.

-- 
fozz at iodynamics.com is Doran L. "Fozz" Barton
 "There is difference between up and down."
    -- Seen in toy assembly instructions
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