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Re: Fwd: [reiserfs-list] Viability of Open Source Business Models


Thanks for forwarding the article, I find it an interesting topic.
Most thoughts are very general and I do not know if I can address
in a way being Debian-speficic enough.

On Thu, Dec 06, 2001 at 02:32:27AM +0100, Russell Coker wrote:
> Is there any chance of us getting something like this going to
> support our Debian development efforts?
> What do you think of Hans' ideas?

> ----------  Forwarded Message  ----------
> Subject: [reiserfs-list] Viability of Open Source Business Models Tried Once Again:-)
> Date: Tue, 04 Dec 2001 19:05:11 +0300
> From: Hans Reiser <reiser@namesys.com>
> To: reiserfs-list@namesys.com

>    We need to create a cultural norm in which it is considered proper
>    behavior to buy service from free software authors with the same
>    frequency one buys it from proprietary software authors. 

I agree about that we need to create cultural norm.
Rather than paying only I think that people should be able to 
choose how to contribute to Free Software they are using.
A business (as around money) is not necessarily needed for 
Free Software to thrive.

Somebody not contributing could feel moral pressure,
because the person is hurting himself and everybody.

>    This still leaves us with the economic inefficiency that occurs when a
>    user needs a spreadsheet three times a year, and he would like to use
>    the best one made, but the best one is priced appropriately for those
>    who use it several times a week. I call this the focused taxation
>    inefficiency.

My solution to this is to let the user judge the usefulness and the
frequency of hs or her usage of the programm, thus the value it has.
A private person might contribute a very small amount,
a company making big time money should give a lot.

>    I have an unproven hypothesis to put before you: The amount of
>    economic distortion is a function of not just the total dollar amount
>    traded and exceeding the marginal cost, but is a function also of the
>    ratio of price to marginal cost, and high ratios are "typically" more
>    distorting than low ratios, even if the total number of dollars is
>    made equal. Persons interested in discussing proving this hypothesis
>    are encouraged to email me at reiser@namesys.com. If the hypothesis is
>    true, then can we choose to defocus the disincentive?

I do not completly understand the hypothesis and how it could be useful.

>    I'd like you to consider the concept of open sales. In an open sale,
>    users pay a fixed percentage of hardware costs as a fee for using a
>    software pool. Users may use all software in the pool. The users are
>    presented with a random sample of those developers who contributed to
>    the pool, and asked to allocate their fee among the sample in
>    proportion to their perceived utility.
>    Benefits:
>      * A defocused disincentive to use software. You may use the best of
>        anything in the pool.
>      * Poor people can afford the fee.
>      * More finegrained rewarding of developers in proportion to their
>        productivity than traditional copyright law due to reduced
>        transaction costs.
>      * More accurate rewarding due to assessment of value being made
>        after usage.

The main part of Free Software development is evolution which needs
concepts working in parallel. However comes up with a pool and
distribution criteria will reduce that advantage of Free Software
big time. For me this falls in almost the same categories as
SourceXchange and CoSource, bound to failure sooner or later.

Debian-Consultants should do as they did before:
Try to make business with Free Software and then contribute back.
If for some reason it is not possible to contribute back with time,
use money. My advice is that many Free Software-projects should
start to accept minipayment, like possible with collections services
like kagi. We have to make it easy to also give back money to single
Free Software-Project.


Professional Service around Free Software                (intevation.net)  
The FreeGIS Project                                         (freegis.org)
Association for a Free Informational Infrastructure            (ffii.org)
FSF Europe                                            	  (fsfeurope.org)

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