[LINK] Case law as open source
Fri, 3 Aug 2001 15:52:16 +1000
On Fri, 27 Jul 2001 15:41, Anthony Healy wrote:
> > People wonder how programmers could make a living in an environment
> > where most software was open source and anyone could write their
> > own code. Lawyers don't seem to be starving even though case law is
> > open source and anyone is entitled to defend themselves.
> The difference is that case law is the input to the work that lawyers
> do for a particular client, whereas source code is the output of the
> work that programmers do.
> If you have the case law, you still need the lawyer to do the work
> for you. But if you have the source code, you no longer need to pay a
> programmer to do the work for you, or to pay the particular
> programmer who did the original work.
I think you're correct in the short term, but I can't help thinking
that you may not be in the medium to long term.
We are already seeing that people are hard pressed to find a good
reason for upgrading to the latest version of popular software and
software companies are trying all sorts of things to get people to
I suspect that with all the free software around the future for
companies to sell mass market software is limited. Why should people
fork out for MS Office when Star Office is more than enough for 99% of
The future for companies to customise software for particular
applications and/or particular clients, however, shows no such limits.
So, much like lawyers can make a living from servicing particular
client needs, so too will programmers in the future. I don't think
they'll do it selling programs, but selling programming services.
Even now many software companies are making a good proportion of there
incoming by selling annual support, rather than software.
Someone has already said that more than 70% of software development is
currently for in-house projects. I don't think that effort will shrink
if a large proportion of the current shrink wrap market is replaced by
open source, in fact I would expect to grow because a) money otherwise
spend on shrink wrap software becomes available, and b) it becomes
possible to integrate your companies applications directly into the
desktop software (you have the source).