Linked by Thomas Leonard on Tue 16th Jan 2007 00:32 UTC
General Development In the Free and Open Source communities we are proud of our 'bazaar' model, where anyone can join in by setting up a project and publishing their programs. Users are free to pick and choose whatever software they want... provided they're happy to compile from source, resolve dependencies manually and give up automatic security and feature updates. In this essay, I introduce 'decentralised' installation systems, such as Autopackage and Zero Install, which aim to provide these missing features.
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RE[3]: the problem is...
by John Nilsson on Wed 17th Jan 2007 22:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: the problem is..."
John Nilsson
Member since:
2005-07-06

And the model of "we will give you the app + source code for free, and we will sell you support" creates an inherent incentive for the software developer to deliberately create substandard software that requires users to purchase support

You are probably correct. Concider this:
Usability: "The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use."

So to design a usable product you have to spcify its users, their goals, and the context of use. The sharper this specification is the better you'll be able to design a usable software.

This means that you have to have quite a narrow focus to create a really usable software.

Now, if your business model is to sell software, the cheapest way to produce it is to copy allready created software. Thus the way to earn money is to create a cheap "orignial" that can be sold to many customers at a high price.

The "many customers"-part isn't exactly compatible with the "specified user, goal and context"-part though. So you compromise and try to creat cheap software for "all users, goals, and contexts". Which in the end means unusable software.

So the "selling copies of proprietary software" isn't really the way to "[g]ood software [that is] so elegant and simple to use, so well written and documented that buying support is not necessary" either.


Now if you base your business model on producing cheap software that is so narrowly focused that no competitor could use the same copies (because you allready saturated the market for that software), the bast way to gain profit is to share a common platform for base functionallity with your competitors and be the best producer of narrowly focused software based on that platform for a select niche of users, goals and contexts.

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