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Re: Loadbearing services

> This reminds me of an article from ESR.
> He pointed out that there are essential pieces we use everyday
> without any afterthought or payment. There are people who maintain
> software or services for free on their own time we could not
> live without. NTP comes to mind. I thing gnupg is basically maintained
> by one person.

Indeed.  Part of the distinction is one of resources: NTP does not
require much resources, so it costs very little to maintain an
NTP server even if used by a fairly large number of clients.

In contrast, maintaining a VPN service used by a large number of clients
can be costly because of the needs to encrypt/decrypt or because of the
amount of bandwidth it uses.

If it's cheap enough, you'll probably be able to find people willing to
offer the service just because it makes them feel good.  But past
a certain monetary cost it's going to be hard to find such people and
you'll instead have to start figuring out how to actually pay for it,
either by selling the service or by selling its clients or a mix of
the two.

And then there are those services which are offered for free as a form
of advertisement, because serious users of the service are willing to
pay for it and hence subsidize the non-paying users.  This is the case
of most gratis dynamic-dns services, for example.  This always risks
sliding into selling the clients, of course.


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