I agree here.  I've tried open source and the biggest
question was, once they have the software, is any
communication with them considered "service" and chargable?
 

For instance, I get a lot of emails asking things like:

1.  Where did the CGIDEV2 site move to?
2.  How do I install CGIDEV2?
3.  How come HALLO.MBR doesn't work?  (Changed to HELLO in
later versions)

If I were the distributor of CGIDEV2 as open source.. do I
charge for those things?  What if it turns out to be a bug?
 do I charge for that?   Where do you draw the line?  Or is
there one?

I sell software, consulting services, etc...  my business
model is the exact opposite.  Sell the software at a
nominal price (a minor fraction of my competitors) and
offer free support and software upgrades.  (some support
actually falls into the consulting area, and I am upfront
about that with my customers if it's obviously over the
line, like helping users set up an application to use
GETURI with their TP).

To me, this works because:

1. charging for support when it's bug related is wrong,
IHMO.
2. Reporting bugs actually is a benifit to the ISV...  
3. Getting input on software enhancements is also a benifit

As enhancements are added, you can raise prices
accordingly, as I do.  This doesn't affect the user of v1.0
until they replace their machine and purchase a new
license.

In other words, if you write your software well enough,
there should be very little support needed.  And with
thousands of installs of my software, I believe I've proven
that to be true.  At least in my case.

Brad
www.bvstools.com
On Wed, 20 Jul 2005 09:27:47 -0600
 Pete Helgren <Pete@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> My feeling is that it isn't that simple (giving it away
> and then charging for support) and it isn't the "free"
> nature of the software.  Yeah, you have lowered the cost,
> but without one of two things you'd still be SOL: 1. You
> need a great value add or 2. You need a supportive
> community that enjoys the participatory environment.  If
> you get both you will survive, even thrive.
> 
> Linux works not because it is free (IMHO), it is because
> you have lots of geeks who love to get their hands dirty
> in the code and love to hang with other geeks (reason #2
> above).  It is counter-culture, anti-big business
> (Microsoft) and can be cool if your contribution is
> accepted and used.  Yes, there is a small minority of
> folks who use it JUST because it IS free, but that isn't
> the reason for faster Linux adoption.
> 
> Reason #1 above is gaining ground in the Linux world and
> will be a threat as Linux becomes easier to use and has
> broader driver and application support ( and easier
> installation for those drivers and applications).  That
> will improve the value add to the customer.  But there
> are plenty of folks who won't install Linux even if it IS
> free because it adds no value to the desktop (or that
> value doesn't exceed the "cost"). 
> Crappy free software isn't better because it is free or
> open source.  It is still crappy. There are plenty of
> open source projects that go nowhere because they either
> don't have much value add or don't have a supportive user
> community.
> 
> CGIDEV isn't popular just because it is free. It is
> because it has a great value add and a developer
> community who embraced it.  I would think you could build
> some revenue from CGIDEV consulting or deliver an
> application that uses it and charge for maintenance and
> support in that application.  You could also write
> CrappyCGI and have no takers. 
> That is my point.  It isn't just free software, it's the
> whole "package" that makes the Open Source / services
> model work.
> 
> Pete
> 
> 
> Don wrote:
> 
> >
> >Pete,
> >
> >This kinda seems to be what ALOT of the linux community
> is doing. 
> >Basically giving their distro away or at a low fee, then
> making their 
> >money on support and services...
> >
> >What am I not seeing here??  Other than linux is growing
> a helluva lot 
> >faster than OS/400...
> >
> >Don in DC
> >
> >
> >On Wed, 20 Jul 2005, Pete Helgren wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>Anyone who thinks that just giving away the software to
> generate 
> >>services revenue will be a viable business model will
> be disappointed.
> >
> -- 
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> 

Bradley V. Stone
BVS.Tools
www.bvstools.com

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