[board-discuss] Re: [tdf-members] Personal: and software freedom.
On Thu, Jul 09, 2020 at 02:28:51PM +0100, Michael Meeks wrote:
Because it is free software lots of things are possible is
true - that because they are possible they are therefore good, is
not necessarily so.
Many things are legal, but many fewer are moral.
Steering people towards things that help to build the
community and codebase is extremely useful. In the same way many
people think that steering people towards environmentally friendly
alternatives might help improve the environment despite there being
no legal requirement.
The wording being now considered clearly tries to steer all
business use, big and small, towards a paid-for "ecosystem supported"
version. For that steering to actually work, it requires that the
"ecosystem companies" actually scale down and have a working business
proposition for SME business use. That is a challenge on the plate of
these companies, but that is critical for the success of this
it is also an industry standard for successful ecosystems:
Fedora vs. RedHat Enterprise Linux vs. CentOS.
SUSE vs openSUSE
Redhat will sell you a yearly subscription for a single workstation,
as low as 180 USD. So will SuSE for 32 GBP. Will any ecosystem company
scale down? That takes a fully automated setup, where people
self-register and pay on your website.
Closer to home, Microsoft will sell you a single licence for their
office suite, either as "perpetual" or "subscription" starting at 5
USD/month or 8.25 USD/month, no upfront payment, pay each month. I
wouldn't call the process entirely pain-free, but from their point of
view, it doesn't require human intervention for every sale, for every
invoice, for every payment.
The above are "self-support" options without support by a human. They
also benefit from far bigger economies of sale than the LibreOffice
ecosystem developer companies.
So, if ecosystem companies want to attract the same "every business
user pays" model, they need to make that actually workable, easy and
as painless as possible. Currently, my feeling is that it is
deadlocked into a chicken and egg type problem; the ecosystem
companies are the chicken, and they need to invest effort (and
capital) lay the first eggs. They cannot wait for the economies of
scale to drop into their lap and make it worthwhile to setup the
human-free "pay us" system. They need to put the system in place, and
only then can the number of small scale paying users actually grow.
If the developer ecosystem companies are not willing to put their
money where their mouth is (and "lay the first eggs" for the SME
market), the whole presentation needs to be refocused so that it is
clear that only "enterprise" deployments of "many" (for some value of
"many") users are invited/encouraged/under moral obligation to pay.
I've seen some recent progress in the right direction, but I don't
think we are there yet. CIB probably is closer, with all the irony of
being directed to the Microsoft store when trying to buy a single
licence, from a GNU/Linux browser (which may suggest the use of for
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