Pre-payware / ransomware (was: Overcoming Social Inertia)

Ben Finney ben at
Thu Nov 8 21:46:03 UTC 2007

On 08-Nov-2007, Alex Hudson wrote:
> The idea, as I understand it, is that they will release a demo of 
> the game and a pledge people can pay into. Once the pledge reaches a 
> certain amount, and people pay up, the game is released as free 
> software under the GPL.
> The comments from LWN posters are pretty much what I would expect: 
> asking for $40,000 seems to be asking too much. Yet, that would only 
> buy ~6 man-months here in the UK, if that, which is practically 
> nothing for a new game. And that would be at cost, too - and you 
> can't run a business without turning a profit.
> If they sold the game on a proprietary basis, at maybe $8 a pop, 
> they'd only need ~5000 sales to break even and I doubt anyone would 
> be complaining about the price. Psychologically, there is a lot 
> going on there in terms of price, even before you get to "why should 
> I pay for something so others can have it for free?".

Your comparison seems to point to the way out of this knot. Instead of 
saying "We need a total of $40 000", why not say "We need $8 each from 
at least 5 000 people; if you can pay more, that's welcome"?

If the latter *still* isn't attractive, then I don't see the point of 
that particular comparison.

 \     "[The RIAA] have the patience to keep stomping. They're playing |
  `\      whack-a-mole with an infinite supply of tokens."  -- kennon, |
_o__)                                    |
Ben Finney <ben at>
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