Re: DeCSS ruling - more Freedom of Speech constraints

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Sat Feb 05 2000 - 12:36:31 MST

On Fri, Feb 04, 2000 at 01:20:48PM -0800, Eugene Leitl wrote:
> > Hence open source; copying is free advertising for a commercial software
> > vendor -- where they make their money is off services.
> There is a big oopsla here, though, where your target market is
> intrinsically very small. Then you cannot profit from economies of
> scale, and need some protection. Of course, the users of your software
> are much more isolated/diluted, require customization/support and are
> probably not the typical teenager hawking for game warez ;)

Correct. Indeed, I'd propose that where your consumer base is that
small, what you need isn't a commercial vendor/client relationship;
something more like a user group sound appropriate, with mutual support
between people/organisations patching/extending the software rather
than a situation where one company does all the work.

The smallest scale, of course, is the bespoke application -- the company
writes it, uses it, and never sells it. This isn't talked about much in
the industry, but it's a dirty secret that probably 30-40% of all
software written fits this category.

(Just imagine the economies of efficiency that might result if the companies
who write such bespoke tools could be persuaded to release the non-sensitive
ones to a common pool, in return for access to their peers'.)

-- Charlie

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