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Re: Does it do that?


From: Trevis Rothwell
Subject: Re: Does it do that?
Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2007 12:44:25 -0500

On 29 Apr 2007 00:26:48 -0700, mike3 <address@hidden> wrote:
Hi.

Does free software make it more difficult for people to make a profit
(even an *honest* one, not Microsoft-style) from their computer
programming skills and talents?

It's only more difficult because we perceive it to be.  Folks tend to
be used to Microsoft's way of profit-via-software which comes from
selling shrink-wrapped packages of software that users aren't allowed
to study and share.

The "business" problem isn't the GPL -- it's that we think too much
inside the box about how we can run a successful software business.
Selling the software itself is certainly one option, and some people
may even pay money for a copy of your software even if it's free.  But
the selling of the software itself isn't the only way to turn a
profit.

Consider Philip Greenspun's ArsDigita company.  They produced free
software.  They didn't charge for the software itself, but they
charged for their services to enhance and build new software.  They
spent more time than most companies teaching other people, inside the
company and outside the company, how to use their software, and how to
write similar software themselves.  They were making $20 million/year
revenue before they made some business mistakes and fell apart.
Unfortunate, though they still proved it could be done.




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