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Re: GNU licenses

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: Wed, 06 Sep 2006 23:28:21 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Alexander Terekhov <> writes:

R> David Kastrup wrote:
>> Alexander Terekhov <> writes:
>> > David Kastrup wrote:
>> > [...]
>> >> The GPL creates its own software pool
>> >
>> > of intellectual property price fixed below the cost of its creation.
>> Well, that is what is called civilization and culture.  Not having to
>> reinvent the wheel, but profiting from the knowledge created by
>> others.
> Man oh man. Profit = buyer's cost to obtain - seller's cost to create. 
> Okay?


> Now we take the case with distribution of new (we are now going to 
> create) derivative work of something under the GPL: 
>    buyer's cost to obtain = 0 (per GPL "no charge" provision)


GPL clause 1:

    You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy,
    and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange
    for a fee.

And that's what makes free software distributors turn a profit.  Now
what kind of premium will a customer accept for buying from an active
author himself instead of some downstream recipient?  That is the
balance point.  How much can active development help to maintain at
least a temporal margin before competitors?  That's another one.

Neither are set at $0.  And that's because the _licensing_ does not
cost extra, but the software itself may.

>    seller's cost to create = programmer's salary, energy, etc.
> So where is a profit, dak?

seller's cost to obtain GPLed work on which he bases his own: 0, or
competitively low (like his own selling price).

And that's what turns the scales.  Yes, you have to have a good
product to make the turns tip in your favor.  Or a product that
develops its full potential by qualified service and/or customization
and/or support.  For which you are again a natural first source.  That
does not mean artificially crippling a product: customization of
complex systems is pretty much by necessity a complex process, and an
experienced person can save a lot of work hours.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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