My alternative busines model

Jan Wildeboer jan.wildeboer at
Tue Dec 3 19:47:56 UTC 2002

Niall Douglas wrote:

> And I've never understood the logic or economics behind it. It's like 
> having a shop selling goods for no cost but with a delivery service 
> which costs money. As any economist will tell you, most people will 
> go to the shop manually so they don't have to pay a penny. Only 
> people without their own transport or some ideological motive will 
> pay for delivery.

Read the GNU/GPL again ;-) You can ask any amount of money you want AND 
you can add services to the GNU/GPL, for example warranty or a support 
contract. Many Free Software projects have reached a certain compolexity 
that causes a steep learning curve to fully understand the project. If 
you are not willing to invest that time (or money as time is always 
money) you can decide to buy/pay that expertise from someone else.

Many Free Software projects take that road. And many small to medium 
sized companies can create a lot of income based on their knowledge of 
Free Software. IMHO you have to think the other way round. As the 
sources are available a market of equals is created. Just invest the 
time needed to work your way in a Free Software project and you can 
start to compete as an equal member of a specialized market.

Ofcourse you don't have a chance to protect a monopoly as with closed 
source software, so your expectations should be adjusted.

Just my personal opinion though, I might get flamed for thinking that 
way ;-)

> Furthermore, people will only donate like this in rich countries 
> where the going is good. Come bad times, they'll work around it and 
> then the business goes under.

Also take a look from the other side. If you are running a school or 
university in a developing country you will be more than pleased to have 
the equal opportunities to use Free Software and gain knowledge and 
maybe help in the development of a specific project. The only thing you 
have to invest is your time.

Jan Wildeboer

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