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Would OSS with paid consulting-> dificult sw?


One model for OSS (Open Source Software) seems to be giving your software away free then consulting to help people with the software (e.g.  Red Hat Linux I think?)


But wouldn't this provide a disincentive for people to make easier to user software?

Why would you invest the resources to make the software easier to use if all it'll do is lower the need for consulting, which is what generates the revenue?

Mr. Analogy
Saturday, March 20, 2004

Perhaps your paid consulting is about the service or domain, not about the software. For example, a speech therapist might have open source speech therapy software, and be paid to consult as a speech therapist.

Christopher Wells
Saturday, March 20, 2004

Linux is a 'special' case: because the product is an O/S and therefore the 'customers' for it are application programmers. IMO they've made it easy for application programmers to use, e.g. by providing with it a customary API (POSIX), command-line tools, and so on.

The disincentive to making harder-to-use software is, of course, that there won't be any customers wanting to use it, to whom you can act as a consultant.

Christopher Wells
Saturday, March 20, 2004

There may well be an incentive there.  However  JBoss Inc. who produces the JBoss app server does a pretty good job of making it easy to use.

You just have to buy the docs.

Koz
Saturday, March 20, 2004

Or you can write a commercial add-on to that open-source software for which people are willing to pay extra.

Fred
Saturday, March 20, 2004

Yes, like Zend software does with its PHP encoder and Accelerator.

Seun Osewa
Saturday, March 20, 2004

Mr Analogy, you're the arguments of open source advocates with more respect than they deserve.

me
Saturday, March 20, 2004

Mr Analogy, you're treating the arguments of open source advocates with more respect than they deserve.


Saturday, March 20, 2004

You are right there is a "moral hazard" consideration, in that the harder the software is to use, the more consulting you can get paid for. But there is a flip side - if the software is TOO hard, the cost of your consulting will outweigh whatever alternatives are out there. Plus harder-to-use software could be less reliable in general. So there are checks and balances.

Dan Maas
Saturday, March 20, 2004

I don't think this argument is limited to OSS, it applies to any consulting ware. Look at SAP :)

Damian
Saturday, March 20, 2004

Damian, I second that.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, March 22, 2004

> Look at SAP

I'd rather not, if I can help it.


Monday, March 22, 2004

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