[Fsfe-ie] Possible opinion formers: academics

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at nedprod.com
Thu Dec 4 21:43:36 CET 2003

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On 4 Dec 2003 at 10:10, Ian Clarke wrote:

> Niall Douglas wrote:
> > Worse than this, you will do yourself out of funding if you dare say
> > anything against the "patent everything" line. I tried in my new
> > business proposal to say that I wanted to take out software patents
> > in order to ensure anyone could use my ideas without fear of getting
> > sued and was immediately told "That's a deal breaker. You say that
> > and you will be seen as being either a fool or soft and neither
> > inspires investor confidence. They are looking for an animal".
> I think your error here was to frame your argument in terms of the
> public good - investors don't give a flying fsck about the public
> good, and the last thing they want is the Gandhi of the software world
> deciding how to spend their money.
> As I highlighted in my previous email, there are robust *business*
> arguments against software patents, I have used these successfully to
> persuade some pretty hard-nosed investors that software patents were
> *not* a good idea.

What annoyed me then and annoys me just now about your reply is that 
a software architecture's success is predicated upon people choosing 
to use it before any other architecture. Thus all future profits and 
long-term viability depend *exclusively* on lowering any obstacles 
for punters to choose our platform.

This is where most investors simply do not understand the free 
software culture. Increasingly we're seeing most programmers even if 
they work for Microsoft believing in some form of free software. If 
it's them who's recommending solutions to their management for 
consideration, you've GOT to understand what appeals to them.

Many investors most unfortunately seem to be locked into the concept 
of priming a market, locking down a market and ruthlessly exploiting 
it. They don't understand that software has zero copy cost, that by 
asking for more than ten euro for a web sale actually reduces profits 
(because sales shift to astalavista.box.sk) and most importantly of 
all, that good karma creates goodwill and that creates longevity. 
Apple could not have survived the late 90's without its fans 
continuing to buy clearly substandard solutions.

Mark my words - the company which understands these new market 
dynamics right is the next Microsoft.

Anyway, we're getting off-topic. There's plenty more discussion about 
the economics of free software on the oekonux.org list.


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