Linux and Philosophy

Gary Thornock gthornock at
Sun Jul 17 01:18:47 MDT 2005


- --- Levi Pearson <levi at> wrote:
> 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.

If "support" only means "someone to call when I have a problem",
then the most valuable software is the software that doesn't
/need/ any support.

I don't think that's the case, though.  Support, in the context
of ESR's comments, also includes future development and updates.
Hardware evolves, OS platforms evolve, user needs evolve, and
a program that doesn't have support in the sense of active
development and updates is a program that will very quickly
become obsolete -- that is, a program that has, or will soon
have, nearly zero value.

- - Gary

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