> From: Pedro Giffuni [mailto:p...@apache.org]
> The thing about so-called "marketing gurus" is that their assumptions
> about how the markets work may break down when we are talking about
> software that has zero cost.
> I will simplify the marketing issue making a bold statement: "We have
> millions of users because we do 80% of what the market leader
> does but
> with 0% of the price."
No, the success of free software is not a question of price.
The success of free software is based on many things, of which price is
only one of them. In the case of OpenOffice I sustain that the main
factor for success is that end-users perceive it as free as in price.
That and not the fact that we have less developers than other projects
or that we are not being distributed in major linux distributions
accounts for the project being successful today.
The development model of free software is something else, but it's not free.
That is not the
The GNU copyleftists have always struggled with economics but that is
The notion of living on distribution costs is a dead end from a gone
era. Distribution costs have diminished hugely with the Internet, in
such a way that even commercial producers sell more software online than
on CDs. Have you ever paid for using GCC, or do you know anyone that
would prefer clang because it's cheaper to download?
Nowadays, support is likely the mayor source of revenue for independent
developers and publicity is the mayor source of revenue for content
Absolutely, just compiling the code involves electricity costs, but the
end user doesn't have to carry the burden. Many don't even know or have
to be aware of the costs involved.
The development and use of OpenOffice is not free, because developers have to
be paid by their
companies or donate their own time. Users have cost for installation,
maintenance and staff
No one has really quantified the real cost of producing OpenOffice and
then if we charged even just $1 we would more than cover what we spend
in development (100 million in budget.. yay!).
The work of Apache is also not free, because Apache needs donations to be able
For example see:
you can see that the sum of the sponsorship is (currently, per year):
Such costs existed before OpenOffice was an Apache Project, and we can't
at all quantify how much OpenOffice's value is for the Apache Software
Have there been more donations thanks to OpenOffice? And then .. if
Microsoft or Google make a donation to the ASF does it mean either of
them is in direct support of OpenOffice?
Part of the appeal of the ASF is making use of Foundation resources like
buildbots and mailinglists but noways anyone can fork they own codebase
on github, enable travis-ci and distribute the code through other means.
Money is important everywhere but it is not an absolute truth that
opensource necessarily obeys market rules.