> >Having your house cleaned is a service.
>
> Yes.
>
> >   Having your yard mowed is a
> >service.
>
> Yes.
>
> >   What these 2 examples DO NOT have in common with software is that
> >they are consumable, and cannot build upon past work.
>
> Huh? Neither one is "a consumable," neither one is a tangible item for
> purchase, involving physical possession. Both of them can "build on past
> work." If my house is cleaned this week, it may only need touch-up next
> week, likewise the mowing of my lawn. Or the repair of my car.
>

Abdul, you're a great dude, but I've got to disagree with you on this.
Maybe I wasn't clear enough with my illustrative examples.  The fact that
cleaning your house and mowing your yard is labor makes it a service, and
the fact that entropy continuously works to bring your house and yard into a
state of disorder means that you cannot build upon past labor in any
meaningful capacity.  Software is not subject to entropy (other than the
storage media decaying).  Software sitting on your shelf does not accumulate
bugs it didn't have before.  Software is not subject to depletion - it
doesn't vanish as you use it more.  Therefore it is not a consumable.

I am sorry if I don't "precisely define" things enough for you.  I must say
I have never been accused of being imprecise before.  Quite the opposite;
sometimes people I know get tired of my exactitude.  I excuse it by telling
them that I am an electrical engineer, and electronics and computers are
very unforgiving of mistakes, so I sometimes forget to turn off "exact mode"
when talking to normal people.  But, wow, if I am not precise enough for
you, maybe there's hope for me yet!

> At the same rate of inflation as took place over the time involved, from
> which the trend was inferred, I suspect, those prices will be reasonable.
> But state of the art PCs will not cost $50.

Don't look now, Abdul, be we may be heading into a period of deflation just
now.  Not for any commodity that really matters (food, energy, medical,
housing, CEO compensation ;-) ) of course.  But increases in these things
will leave less money available spend on other stuff like software.  So at
the same time software companies are trying to screw more money out of
customers, customers will be looking to spend less.  What happens when the
irresistable force meets the immovable object?  We will find out, I
suppose...

> Yes, programming is *already* much more valuable than the machines on
which
> they run. Just as an educated worker is much more valuable than one who is
> not educated. "Education" is "programming."

Another trend extrapolated to absurdity:  your software to hardware value
ratio:
Programmer:  Hey, Abdul, what happened to my computer?  I come back from
lunch, and it's gone!
Abdul:  Oh, it became of less value than the square footage rental of space
it consumed in this building, so I threw it out.
Programmer:  All right, you can throw away my copy of Visual Studio too.
Abdul:  Oh, I can't do that.  It costs $1200!  What are you, nuts?

The point:  software is being evaluated at far more than its real value, and
hardware far less than its real value.  You wouldn't think that software was
so valuable if you had more of it, and hardware so worthless if you had less
(or none) of it.

> If whoever is making the equivalent of Windows or Protel in 2040 is
> charging too much, someone else will provide a similar product for less.
> That's how the market works.

Or doesn't work.  There is no equivalent to Windows.  There are OSs that do
similar things, but not in compatible ways.  Protel won't run on Linux.
Don't forget that M$ has used illegal business practices to prevent the
market from working the way it should (sorry about the imprecise use of
"should").  Protel (Altium) should price it's products fairly, not
extortively, and not gouge us for support and bug fixes.  And it should
publish it's binary file formats.  Protel was a great value at $5K.  It's
not such a great value at $10K.  And don't say it is compared to Cadence;
cutting my toenail too deep is less painful compared to shooting myself in
the foot.  But they both hurt and I don't want to do either.

Best regards,
Ivan Baggett
Bagotronix Inc.
website:  www.bagotronix.com


----- Original Message -----
From: "Abd ul-Rahman Lomax" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Protel EDA Forum" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2001 1:10 PM
Subject: Re: [PEDA] ATS Specifications, Terms and Conditions


> At 03:13 PM 11/12/01 -0500, Bagotronix Tech Support wrote:
> > > There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the "software as a service"
> > > concept. In fact, properly implemented, it could be an improvement
over
> >the
> > > more common product concept.
> >
> >Having your house cleaned is a service.
>
> Yes.
>
> >   Having your yard mowed is a
> >service.
>
> Yes.
>
> >   What these 2 examples DO NOT have in common with software is that
> >they are consumable, and cannot build upon past work.
>
> Huh? Neither one is "a consumable," neither one is a tangible item for
> purchase, involving physical possession. Both of them can "build on past
> work." If my house is cleaned this week, it may only need touch-up next
> week, likewise the mowing of my lawn. Or the repair of my car.
>
> With a car, physical possession is important, it is a tangible good. But
> its maintenance is not. I can, however, *rent* a car, where title remains
> with the rental company. The rental often includes service.
>
> >   Software is not
> >consumable, and it can be built upon.
>
> These terms are not precisely defined.
>
> >   To me, software is a product that
> >should never wear out, and should always improve with each new release.
>
> "Should" is also not precisely defined. A model car may represent a step
> backward. If the public thinks it is an improvement, they may buy it, if
> they would rather have an older model, they don't have to buy the new one.
> That with *tangible* goods.
>
> >Furthermore, each new release should not cost ever more money, because
they
> >didn't have to rewrite each new release from scratch - they built on
> >existing code.  This is why it is absurd for software to cost ever more
> >money.
>
> Yet it requires ever more investment in programming. Improving a product
> without creating new bugs is so difficult that it is rarely accomplished.
>
> The fact is that software is not like cars, and it is not like having your
> lawn mowed. It can be described as a tangible, in which case one expects
> that, for example, it can be resold. Much software is sold this way.
>
> *Or* it can be described as a service. Configuring a computer may not seem
> like programming to you, but I remember when I bought a computer which I
> programmed by flicking switches on the front panel, stepping through the
> enormous memory space of 256 bytes. It came with *no* software. This was
> the original Altair 8800 from MITS.
>
> I bought the computer, $300 or so. That's a tangible good. Then I
> programmed it; had I done this for someone else, it would have been a
> *service.*
>
> A great deal of software for the mainframe and minicomputers of those days
> was sold as a service contract; I had no experience with this software, I
> just know of its existence.
>
> Software is nothing other than standardized programming; the service
> product has been packaged and sold, often as if it were tangible good
(like
> a dictionary, which, like programming, is a collection of symbols designed
> to accomplish a certain purpose when input to a processor programmed to
> read it. Like us.), but often not.
>
> >   But it is happening - Protel is costing more, Windows is costing
> >more, Word is costing more than ever before.  The trend cannot be
sustained:
> >in the year 2040, Protel will be $100,000 per copy, Windows will cost
$1,000
> >per copy, PCs will be $50 each.  OK, I'm not saying that these prices
will
> >really exist in 2040, just that the "trend" extrapolated indicates that
they
> >would be.
>
> At the same rate of inflation as took place over the time involved, from
> which the trend was inferred, I suspect, those prices will be reasonable.
> But state of the art PCs will not cost $50.
>
> Yes, programming is *already* much more valuable than the machines on
which
> they run. Just as an educated worker is much more valuable than one who is
> not educated. "Education" is "programming."
>
> If whoever is making the equivalent of Windows or Protel in 2040 is
> charging too much, someone else will provide a similar product for less.
> That's how the market works.
>
> If people don't want to buy software as a service, someone will be
offering
> it as a tangible. I presume that you will buy the one you prefer. As for
> myself, well, I'll be pushing 100 then. Assuming that I survive with
> faculties intact, I'd think that a $1000 operating system that ran on a
$50
> computer would be considered *cheap.* Today, a decent computer with OS for
> $1050 is about standard price. But computers will probably be much more
> important to use in 2040, therefore I expect that a higher percentage of
> our income will be devoted to them and to their peripherals, the network,
etc.
>
> >The other problem with software as a service is that it takes away the
> >incentive to fix problems and add features.  Why should you, if you have
a
> >guaranteed revenue stream, and you can hold your customer's data hostage
to
> >proprietary (undocumented) file formats?
>
> You don't have a guaranteed revenue stream. If you sell a program that
only
> stores client data in a proprietary format, with no import and export,
yes,
> you have them. Think Cadence Allegro, except that export and import *are*
> possible, just not included.
>
> Actually, selling a tangible, to my mind, provides *less* incentive to
> improve the program. Start a corporation, sell the software, cash out, and
> leave the users hanging while you enjoy the Bahamas. Sound familiar?
>
> >I am just trying to nip this industry trend in the bud, getting in a
> >preemptive protest before they do.  This recent ATS morass has been (and
> >still is) very confusing for me.
>
> Yes. It *is* confusing. That is where I think Altium has really blundered.
> I also think that *maybe* the ATS price is too high, we have conflicting
> information. But it is not the maintenance concept itself that is the
> problem, *especially* if Altium does not attempt to make the software
> repossessable on maintenance expiration. As I wrote, I see no sign of
that.
>
> [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Abdulrahman Lomax
> Easthampton, Massachusetts USA


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