software collectives vs. price of organizational licenseby ff (Hermit)
|on Oct 22, 2002 at 05:29 UTC||Need Help??|
I'm developing a user-productivity application in Perl that's destined for use in the medical profession, legal, maybe law enforcement, insurance, govt., other fields.
It's not a $200,000 type package, it's a personal productivity package which I expect to license for about $x/user rather than per computer. Notwithstanding whether my software is worth this or not :-), I muse that an experienced, capable programmer could duplicate what's taken me 7-8 months to do in a fraction of that time. (They'd glance through the software's documention, consider the necessary interface, design new specs and data models, whip something up of similar function making more extensive use of CPAN modules, et voila, finished code.)
As a consumer, BigCompany Inc. faces a "make" or "buy" decision: If they mission a Perl programmer to do what I have done for $25,000, (pick a number) and then get 500 employees to use their own version, they've just "made" the code for $50/user. What should my strategy be? Make an offer they can't refuse of an "organizational license" for $20,000, with additional fees for maintenance? Make the source code public and hope to receive additional useful feedback, thus evolving the package faster than it would otherwise (rather than hide it behind the fig leaf of ActiveState's perlapp, which other nodes here show how to bypass such that copiers can view it anyway)?
I am expecting to market this to smaller organizations first, approaching larger ones when I show it working. But this brings me to the meditation's larger point (finally! :-)
Why don't (or do?) hospitals, local governments, law enforcement groups, etc., with smaller user populations individually, band together and collectively ante up a couple of bucks each to have the $25,000 to pay for packages that they would own and use as they see fit? More specifically, why isn't it in their collective interest to fund open source development groups to develop code they can all use at a fraction of what they otherwise end up paying for proprietary code (i.e. "We will all hang together or we will all hang separately")? Code that when made available to other programmers engenders yet further advances for these clients to use?
It's getting late...
Open Source for National and Local eGovernment Programs in the U.S. and EU
The conference will draw participants from local and national organizations from both the public and private sector.