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Re: Galeon R.I.P?

On Tuesday 01 January 2008, Andrew Sackville-West wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 01, 2008 at 05:08:20PM -0500, Hal Vaughan wrote:
> > On Tuesday 01 January 2008, Paul Johnson wrote:
> ...
> > > Hardware has scarcity which software lacks.  There's no economic
> > > reason to sell software.  Programmers should sell their service
> > > since trying to sell the product is, by definition, going to piss
> > > customers off and limits their freedoms.
> >
> > There is, though, economic reason to not release software code.
> >
> > If I had to open source the part of my system that goes on my
> > clients' computers, someone who didn't put in the effort to develop
> > it would start a company without the development costs and cause me
> > serious damage.
> I think this is often an over-inflated worry. I dabble in hacking on
> some open-source stuff a little bit here and there. In any
> sufficiently complex project, there is a *huge* learning curve to
> become proficient enough to truly support a product, much less meet
> customers' needs for changes and improvements.
> Sure, I could take whatever code you open and probably hack at it and
> make it do a few few things differently in pretty short order, but
> that would catch up with me quickly. Either the customer would need
> something I simply wasn't yet in a position to implement, or I woudl
> break something in some unforeseen way and end up mired in spaghetti
> source code I don't fully understand trying to hack my way out of the
> proverbial paper bag.
> So if your code is sufficiently complex to cause this kind of
> difficulty for someone using it to compete with you, then your own
> expertise will win out in the end. You'll be able to implement
> changes, track down bugs, support users etc with much more efficiency
> than the competition and in the long run win out.
> If your code isn't sufficiently complex to force this situation (I
> don't mean gratuitously complex, BTW), then maybe your code isn't
> worth all that much anyway? (no comment intended on your code
> specifically, just talking generalities here)

Most of the work is done on my local servers, but what I do is something 
many companies do, at least up to a certain point.  I've gone out of my 
way to make sure the software on my clients' computers is as simple as 
possible.  Basically all the work is done here, preparing it for a few 
final steps that take place o their system.  This is a large part of 
what makes my stuff different from almost anyone else.

I can control my system, I can't control my clients' computers, so I 
want a minimum of possible errors on their computers.

I would not want to make it easy for someone to grab my code and 
compete.  Maybe later, but I'm still within a year of finishing all the 
development work.

> >  While some feel
> > it's okay to download any song for free and others want to control
> > everyone's complete use of a song, movie, or software (for
> > instance, the MS license that does not allow using standard XP as a
> > web server for public use), we do have to remember that it takes
> > work to produce IP and much of what's out there would not be there
> > if it weren't for people and companies being able to get a return
> > on their investment.
> I think the disparity comes in when the profit motives far exceed the
> realistic income expectations of a normal human being. It wasn't more
> than about a generation ago that song writers didn't get rich writing
> songs, they just made a living (and often a meager one at that). 

And some did quite well.  George Gershwin wasn't broke.  I don't think 
Harold Arlen died in poverty and there are many other song writers that 
did quite well.  Some did very well, but yes, there were more that made 
a living and that was about it.

> Same 
> with musicians. There was a fragmented market with many people in
> many places earning a small living doing creative things. Now you
> have mega-corporations making huge profits by pushing a handful of
> "artists" at us. THey've consolidated it, provided an artifical
> scarcity of sorts by controlling the market, and created an
> atmosphere where if one doesn't make *millions* doing music, then
> there is no point in doing it.

What bothers me is that people use the mega-corps as an excuse or 
rationalization for not paying at all.  If one really were on a moral 
crusade, why not download, then send a check directly to the 
songwriters and musicians for a percentage of what they'd pay for an 

I think we're seeing the last years of the mega-corps running the music 
business and it's just possible that sometime within the next decade, 
we'll see the music business changing back to an emphasis on, believe 
it or not, music.

Perhaps then we'll see musicians that can play doing well as opposed to 
those who merely act like spoiled brats on stage.

> How many peices of software, or support contracts or whatever do you
> have to sell to make a decent living? And do you expect to make that
> living continuously for an extended period of time without continued
> work? or even develop and grow your products to the point where not
> only do you make a living, but you make many times more than a living
> and develop a large corporation? I'm not criticizing with these
> questions, just putting them out there as things to consider.

In my case, I provide a service, and I charge for the service, NOT for 
the software itself.  When I've finished with development, the extra 
time and the future profit will be used to start my own film production 

> ISTM that open source sort of levels the playing field a little bit,
> gives some control back to the little guy, allows little guys to make
> a living, possibly, with systems much more complex and robust than
> what one person could create on their own all as a benefit of the
> communal nature of the product. It's all food for thought, IMO.

It would level the playing field if everyone were on the same field.  
They're not.


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