On Tuesday, 6 January 2015 at 20:21:50 UTC, Zach the Mystic wrote:
On Sunday, 4 January 2015 at 08:31:23 UTC, Joakim wrote:
This is an idea I've been kicking around for a while, and
given the need for commercial support for D, would perhaps
work well here.
The notion is that individual developers could work on patches
to fix bugs or add features to ldc/druntime/phobos then sell
those closed patches to paying customers. After enough time
has passed, so that sufficient customers have adequately paid
for the work or after a set time limit beyond that, the patch
is open sourced and merged back upstream. It would have to be
ldc and not dmd, as the dmd backend is not open source and the
gdc backend license doesn't allow such closed patches.
A funny scenario based on this proposal: Company A wants
feature B, and signs a contract with a developer for a certain
amount, receiving the feature as soon as possible, releasing
the paid-for software to the public after a year. During that
year, company C comes to the same developer wanting the same
feature. They say, "It's already paid for, but you can pay
company A half the development cost, minus the proportion of
time left before it's open to everyone, and you can both have
it!" Or something like that.
You're on the right track: I've talked in the past about a more
advanced version of such a pricing model, that could be used for
any intellectual property, not just for software. How it would
work is that the developer sets a price for all the work to
develop the feature, say $3k, and picks a reasonable minimum
amount of customers, say 20. So he then sets the initial price
at $150, which may seem high for a single feature.
But assuming he gets to 20 customers, the price drops for each
subsequent customer, and the first 20 get a proportionate refund.
So when he gets to 30 customers, each of the last 10 to buy get
charged $100, not $150, and each of the first 20 customers get
their prices dropped to $100, so that the total for the developer
is always $3k. Right now, this may work better for an up-front
payment model, say on a site like kickstarter, or some such
marketplace where the customers have ongoing accounts and it's
easy to credit money back to them without having to keep issuing
refunds to their payment provider, avoiding the accompanying fees.
What are the advantages of such a model? Well, usually the
creator has to set a fixed price, whether $50 or $200, and take
the risk that it is the sweet spot and will actually get enough
customers to garner $3k, ie he has to guess at the supply/demand
curve for his product. In this variable pricing model, the
customer also takes some of that risk, ie you'll pay more if
enough other people don't also want the product. But just like
on kickstarter, that's a risk you may want to take, as long as
you get the feature. There are other elaborations on this model
to account for some other factors, but the basic idea is here.
This kind of variable pricing model would have been too costly
decades ago, with all the paper bookkeeping and chargebacks. It
would be trivial to implement today though and would be a much
better model for many products. Why isn't it done already?
People are stupid, no other reason.