[Haskell-cafe] Re: Why Not Haskell?

Immanuel Litzroth immanuell at enfocus.be
Tue Aug 8 04:42:38 EDT 2006

"Reilly Hayes" <rfh at reillyhayes.com> writes:

> 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.

I don't understand your argument. How exactly does the GPL get in the
way of selling software as an instantiation of business expertise?
Are you saying that you have the business expertise but customers
still prefer not to buy your software? Doesn't that just mean that 
your expertise isn't worth much (economic evaluation :-). Or that your 
idea that they were buying expertise was not correct, they were just 
buying the software after all, and now they have an alternative?

>     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.

Yes I know the business model. Sell them some overpriced software
charge them through the nose for support, features, training,
installation, updates ....
Your resentment against the GPL stems from the fact that it makes 
squeezing the last buck out of your clients somewhat harder (in some
markets). It probably annoys you that you are not dealing with a
competitor who is making shitloads of money, making some price fixing
or secret agreements not feasable. Your problem is that just as your
business practice is not illegal, neither is the GPL.  

> 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.
That is definitely wrong. Haskell would be in even greater shape if
some people who shall remain unnamed had not gone over to Microsoft. I
foresee an interesting discussion here.
I can, I can't.
Tubbs Tattsyrup

Immanuel Litzroth
Software Development Engineer
Enfocus Software
Antwerpsesteenweg 41-45
9000 Gent
Voice: +32 9 269 23 90
Fax : +32 9 269 16 91
Email: Immanuell at enfocus.be
web : www.enfocus.be

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