Re: The Future of Software

David A Musick (
Sun, 4 Jan 1998 01:20:57 -0500

Howard Rothenburg <> writes:

"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,
time they use the software (if I properly understand your idea)? How
would a business budget for such an escalating, never ending expense."

Keep in mind that most users would use software which had already been
tested by companies which do that. If a company gives its clients access
to software which is of poor quality, they will not get as much business
as those who offer higher quality software. Companies will develop a
reputation for selecting good software and rating software accurately.

Also keep in mind that software packages are competing with other ones,
and the users know what it is likely to cost before they use any
software. As people modify software components and add components, most
likely the cost to run any individual component in that package will drop
slightly in order to make the whole software package competitive with
other software. Pricing on software will fluctuate automatically
according to the market.

Howard goes on to ask:

"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?"

There is no reason you have to fix and maintain software from a thousand
different undocumented sources. You can always keep a version that you
wrote and understand and keep updating it whenever you want. You can
either forbid any one else from modifying it, let others modify it all
they want while you still take care of and market your own version, or
think of something else creative to do regarding your software.

There will be many, many choices for software developers. And for those
who write software to make money, it will be extremely competitive, and
people will come up with many devious and clever strategies to make their
money. And some of those strategies will include allowing complete
strangers to modify their software at will, to let their software go,
with the hope that many others will find it worth their time to make the
software more valuable and eventually cash in on their added value.

The ways software will be produced in the future will be much more
diverse than they are now. Human cleverness will produce many
unpredictable strategies for making software and money. It's difficult
to predict because we don't know about all the revolutionary, brilliant
ideas the geniuses and other highly intelligent people have yet to come
up with. Whatever is done, I think we will all be very surprised. And
likely very pleased.

David Musick (

- Continual improvement is the highest good.