"rights" and "freedoms"

L. Peter Deutsch ghost at aladdin.com
Fri Oct 15 15:19:52 UTC 1999

> I cannot disagree more strongly.  Free software decreases the marginal
> cost of additional software.  I think that everyone is agreed on that.
> However once that marginal cost is reduced, the overall demand goes up.

That is the "general economic handwave" to which I referred.  You are making
an assertion.  Where is the evidence (for software)?

> Yet salaries of people making this software has gone up.  I have heard
> estimates that the average VB programmer in NYC makes $70,000/year.

I'm looking for evidence, not anecdotes.

After you correct for inflation, how does this compare with what (say) Cobol
programmers in NYC made 10 years ago?

> And there are a lot more of them today than there were 10 years ago.

Are there?  Evidence, please.

> OK, so VB is not free.  But it is widely available and has lowered the
> marginal cost of producing simple applications.

I agree.

> Yet its effect has been to employ more people at higher wages.

I won't agree until I see something other than anecdotal evidence.

> Companies like Red Hat temporarily enjoy a very nice niche, but in the
> long run I would expect their money to have to come from providing support
> and services.  I don't think that we yet know what this model will look
> like.

And I stand by my previous statement that in the presence of effective
competition, they won't have the surplus income that will allow them to fund
development.  Free software development will have to continue to be
subsidized by the revenue from non-free products, just as it always has


L. Peter Deutsch         |       Aladdin Enterprises :::: ghost at aladdin.com
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