Re: The Future of Software

Howard Rothenburg (
Sun, 4 Jan 1998 01:29:14 -0500 (EST)

Why would a software user want to load and run software with an unknown
number of modifications, all of which they must pay for individually, each
time they use the software (if I properly understand your idea)? How
would a business budget for such an escalating, never ending expense.

I have enough trouble supporting the software I have now. How would I fix
and maintain software from a thousand different undocumented sources that
work together in unpredictable (by me) ways?

Why would a user (they pay for all software) want such software (even if
it was better at some things) when they could get "good enough" shareware
at a low fixed cost or "good enough" freeware (some of it excellent) for
free. It would seem to me that the evolution you crave would favor the
survival of these options at the expense of your component based "pay per
view" software. (unfortunately, the world does not exist for the benefit
of programmers like us, as you have no doubt noticed).

Thanks for the interesting posting. I wish something like your ideas would
occur as well.


On Sat, 3 Jan 1998, David A Musick wrote:

> I'm always disturbed when I'm using a piece of software that's flawed in
> obvious ways and in ways that seriously limit the functionality of the
> software or it's ease of use. I always come up with good ideas for
> fixing the problems and am frustrated by the fact that my ideas will not
> be implemented. But I have reason to believe this will not be a problem
> in the future.
> As the Internet expands, as bandwidth increases, as e-cash becomes
> standard and as trusted systems become widely prevalent, I can foresee
> much software being distributed through the Internet on a pay-as-you-use
> basis. The software will likely be component-based software, where each
> component could be designed by different programmers, who are paid some
> small amount each time their component is used (the cost of using the
> software would be the sum of the cost of running the components which are
> run). This would allow someone who sees a flaw in some piece of software
> or something they want to add on to improve the software, to make those
> changes, and when people use the components that they have added, they
> will be paid for it.
> I'm sure a lot of companies will still copyright their software and not
> allow it to be modified, but I know a lot of people would encourage
> others to improve their software. Of course, then we'd end up with
> thousands of different versions of one piece of software, at varying
> degrees of quality. This naturally leads to some sort of selection
> system; people want to use good software, but they don't have time to
> evaluate thousands of different pieces of software. So they pay people
> to do it for them. I can see Web sites which offer really good software,
> for a small fee, of course.
> Basically, this could allow software to evolve much more than it does
> today. There is a real financial motive for programmers to improve
> software, even if they didn't design the original version. The original
> programmers benefit from this public modification of their software since
> most of what they wrote (and will get paid for) is unlikely to be
> modified much in the short term, at least, and any improvements to their
> software will only serve to make it more competitive and used more often,
> and thus they will get paid more.
> The details of how to keep track of who wrote what and how to determine
> pricing and how to make it difficult to get around paying for what you
> use are somewhat tricky, but I have high confidence that it can, and
> will, be done. I look forward to that time.
> David Musick (
> - Continual improvement is the highest good.