My alternative busines model

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope at
Wed Dec 4 23:09:17 UTC 2002

On 4 Dec 2002 at 0:35, Xavi Drudis Ferran wrote:

> > > 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.
> Software == information ... or more precisely software is a subset of
> information (but the limit between software and the rest of
> information is so undefined that often it is more practical to just
> identify both concepts)
> If we don't share this view we can't agree on anything about software.
> I'm sorry. 

I'm afraid we don't agree on this, despite agreeing on many other 

> What you say about information doing nothing and software doing things
> sounds absurd to me. Software does nothing. Computers do something. 
> Just like a machine manual allows you to do things with the machine,
> and a cooking recipe allows you to do things with food and kitchen,
> software allows you to do things with your computer. But recipes,
> manuals and software do nothing by themselves. 

No, your logic is broken. A cooking recipe like all other information 
is useless without a human to interpret it. Software is different - 
it is directly useful with no human involvement whatsoever. Therefore 
software != information but software ~ a pump.

> Software, literature and math are in the same category. Physyical
> products are in another. The link between the two is observation and
> action, i.e. : you.

No, they're three different things. I think Bertrand Russell did some 
good work on the differences, and I vaguely remember the 
mathematician Wierner (sp?) did so as well.

Basically, literature is information. Software is a tool. Math is 
theory or concept. Literature != software != maths.

> I've found people who can't separate information from matter before
> and I finally ended up believing it must be some axiomatic system
> which is incompatible with mine at best. 

Well quite possibly. In the end, all our belief structures rest on 
some fundamental assumptions which if different, can lead to 
different logic reaching the same conclusions (or wildly different 


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