[Haskell-cafe] Re: Why Not Haskell?

Reilly Hayes rfh at reillyhayes.com
Mon Aug 7 18:07:14 EDT 2006

On Aug 7, 2006, at 10:00 AM, Stefan Monnier wrote:

> In any case, making a living by selling a program (as opposed to  
> services
> around that program) is a difficult business.

Making a living writing and selling programs for use by a wide  
audience is one thing. But there is a lot of money to be made by  
developers who really understand a complex niche market (assuming the  
niche is actually populated by customers who need and can pay for the  
product).  And the GPL absolutely gets in the way of that.  Because  
what you're really selling in that kind of market is software as an  
instantiation of business expertise.

> Maybe you should thank the FSF for making you doubt: you should  
> really think
> very hard about how you're going to make a living off of selling a  
> program,
> even if that program hasn't been anywhere near any GPL'd code.  In all
> likelihood it'll be much easier to earn your money by selling services
> around your program than just the program itself.

Selling services is much easier if you can tie the services to IP  
that you own exclusively.  It can also double your firm's daily rate  
on related services.  And the economics of selling product (the  
program) can be  MUCH better, assuming people want to use the  
program.  If they don't, then you don't have a service business either.

I'm not making (or getting involved in) the moral argument about free  
or open software.  I will point out that the current good health of  
Haskell owes a great deal to Microsoft through the computer  
scientists they employ.  I'm sure Haskell has benefitted from the  
largesse of other companies as well.


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