[TriLUG] Open Source Propaganda

Lee Fickenscher elfick at mac.com
Thu Apr 20 10:42:41 EDT 2006

On Apr 19, 2006, at 6:03 PM, Mark Freeze wrote:

>> If you look closely at the phrasing of the question your CEO  
>> asked, you
>> can see that it builds an unnecessary fence around the answer.  "Why
>> would you build a wonderful product and then just give it away?"  
>> serves
>> to throw you into a defensive posture, with the likely outcome of
>> looking foolish.  It is much more of a statement of opinion than a
>> forthright question.
> Let me rephrase the question that I was asked.   We had just shown the
> CEO the SugarCRM app.  The question/statement sequence went like this
> "Wow!  This is great!  How much work did you guys put in on this?"  (1
> day)  "How much did this software cost us?"  ($0) "The software was
> free? What do you mean free? How can someone just give this away? I
> mean, I guess they can, but why would you write something like this
> and just give it away?"

I would second what Scott had said and also add this as a possible  
business viewpoint:
Many specific software categories are already saturated, both by mobs  
of small companies whose names most people have never heard (such as  
Deltek) and by the megacorps (such as SAP and Microsoft). Thus it can  
be very tough to get your software adopted no matter how good or  
inexpensive you make it. I.E. if no one uses your software how do you  
convince someone that your software is good to use. Giving your  
software away for free can be seen as a way to penetrate an already  
saturated market. If it costs nothing to try it out, the barriers to  
adoption are significantly lower.

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