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.

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