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Re: Release plans

From: Lennart Borgman (gmail)
Subject: Re: Release plans
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 03:01:50 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20071031 Thunderbird/ Mnenhy/

Thomas Lord wrote:
> Lennart Borgman (gmail) wrote:
>> Thomas Lord wrote:
>>> Consider a feature, X, which is desirable for practical purposes.
>>> Consider a feature, Y, which is banned. [....]
>> Are you sure that reasoning is valid as an argument here? There will for
>> example, as you even hint, be different economic incentives for
>> different people.
> Yes, I've seen it happen.


> The "hat trick" -- the perfect three points for a non-free software
> start-up -- are:  (1) a program X that it is easy for me to write;  (2)
> where X is hard for YOU to write;  (3) and people want X for
> practical purposes.
> "That guy" for whom X is easy is rare but, in a sufficiently
> large crowd, he is practically guaranteed to exist: so (1) is
> almost a free point. 

And of course it is also guaranteed that there are quite a few in the
group (1) ...

> There are a lot of possible values of X that people might want so
> (3) is practically a free point.

Don't you have to have buyers too?

That is a pretty important point in my opinion since actually
implementing and polishing an idea so that it meets the end user is
quite labor intensive. And this point may change the scene quite a lot.

> The only touch bit is (2):  X has to be hard for (most) *other*
> people to write.   And that's where the questions about banning
> feature Y come in.    Banning Y can only help "that guy" with (2).

Perhaps you are right, but I am not sure. More specific examples might help.

However looking at the economic incentives and possibilities is
necessary and good. One way I have often wondered about is trying to
raise money from governements for developing free software. They are
probably large enough to directly benefit from it (in cost benefit
terms) if suitable projects can be found.

But then there must be people who are willing and able to write
attractive software for them.

> You can also do the thought experiment of imagining an (unachievable)
> world in which any program you could possibly want was, somehow,
> cheap and easy to write.   Non-free software business models would not
> thrive in such a world, not like they do now (mostly).

I am not sure. The overall picture have to be taken into account. (That
is part of the nature of power. It happens because it takes things into
account - in perhaps an unconscious way.)

> We can't every perfectly get to that world but we can get a lot closer
> than we are -- and feature bans are a retreat from that objective.
> -t

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