My alternative busines model

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope at
Tue Dec 3 21:47:39 UTC 2002

On 3 Dec 2002 at 21:55, Alessandro Rubini wrote:

> > I don't see selling free software as a viable economic model.
> You can't sell information like you sell other goods. It's that
> simple.

Software != information. Information in itself can do nothing except 
through application of wisdom garnered from it. Software OTOH is a 
tool, a practical thing which can do things for you.

Therefore software is like a screwdriver, a pump or a tractor (albeit 
with very low replication costs). It is not like a database, a poem 
nor a research document.

> > they are doing so via a service industry model
> Nonsense. There's agriculture, there's industry, there's
> service. Software is in service arena. It's that simple.

It is plain dangerous for software to be a service industry. You 
will, in time, come to work for the lowest price which means mass 
unemployment here and plenty of work in the third world.

> BTW, the _industrial_ patent is for industry. It doesn't make sense
> with services like business models, abstract ideas and computer
> programs.  Yes, the full name of the "patent" is "industrial patent",
> at least in some countries.

I agree software is a special case of a manufactured product and 
patenting the algorithms is stupid. But patenting a software 
implementation IMHO is perfectly acceptable so long as patents are 
used in general.

> /alessandro, who knows it's not _that_ simple, but, well..., almost.

Well no, this is good. That previous very long thread was dodging 
around the core issue, which I believe is this: is software 
manufacturing or a service?

Free software only makes economic sense if it's a service. I 
furthermore posit that it being a service is an extremely short-
sighted view with serious repercussions for the industry. What's best 
for the industry in my opinon is to keep software a manufactured 

Am I alone in seeing this? (probably yes, given this is a free 
software list :) )


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