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Re: Coffee and Open Source

This acually exemplifies the difference between physical products and 
information products.  In the coffee example, the owners had to pay for 
the coffee and if someone takes significant quantities for personal use 
the owners pay a much greater expense for coffee than what they 
budgeted.  This obviously leads to the gourmet coffee vending machine. 
 Now, information products are a different beast all together and the 
GPL is even more different.  In an information product, there is no 
inventory, or material production cost, only the labor involved (ok 
overhead if you must count the computer and what not the programmer 
uses).  Basically, it costs a lot to first create an information 
product, but very little to replicate it.  For the coffee example, it 
would be as if there were a magic cabinet that instantly created a new 
case of "free" coffee everytime someone took one, and all the people had 
to do was take a can over to the coffee maker.

On the concerns about Linux versus really any proprietary operating 
system, I think the economic incentives of Linux will keep industry 
working on it with the GPL.  There is great incentive to not have to pay 
anyone for the OS to run your applications.  If that means you have to 
share any changes, so much the better, because it inherently creates a 
standardized OS for the platform.  This will make programming and 
business much more efficient and at minimal cost to boot.  Now imagine 
when a business, a large fortune 500 type, can have all its computers, 
from the most expensive mainframes to the smalles PC, running on one OS 
with no software giant to pay fees to just to have an operating system. 
 It will happen.

Ok, so I rambled a bit.  Hope it is mostly coherent.

Joe L. wrote:

> I would say that you make a good argument Mike808 but I would like to 
> raise the point that the free coffee is not like the GPL at all. If 
> anything it is more like the FreeBSD license. You take it you drink 
> it, you water your plan with it, you piss it, you "Sell it on Ebay". 
> You don't have to tell anybody anything. There is no stipulation that 
> you must return it to the community.
>  It sounds like the greedy bastards who were taking the coffee home 
> are the ones who ruined it for everybody. I don't think that 
> the Expensive coffee is some kind of Wan Valdez conspiracy.  I would 
> suggest to management that they try an honor system where people put a 
> nickel in a cup to pay for the cheap stuff. Or they could buy a can 
> for free and then have a coffee rotation where everybody has to bring 
> a can once a year etc..
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