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Re: [tlug] kickstarter for open source...

Ulrike Schmidt writes:

 > I would find arguments more convincing,

No, you wouldn't.  I've presented arguments, but you've chosen to
ignore them.  Here, have a few more:

 > Why are proprietary games and graphic novels economically more 
 > attractive for crowdfunders than FLOSS projects?

Because the crowdfunders can get the FLOSS for free if they wait a
bit, rather than pay now.  They can't get the proprietary stuff at all
unless they pay, now or later.  These factors will only increase in
importance as the number of projects of both types increase.

 > Are these really the same markets?

As usual in social science analysis, the answer is yes and no.  Yes,
in the sense that they are competing for some of the same
contributions.  No, in the sense that some of the contributions that
will go to games would never go to FLOSS and vice versa.

As the number of projects increases, the number of conflicts will also
increase, and in the end the number of crowdfunders who only ever give
to FLOSS or only ever give to games will become insignificant.  So the
more important answer in the long run is "yes".

 > In which ways can some crowd funded projects return 1000% 
 > to their investors and others 50%?

Project 1 (Stupid game for Android): investment: $50, profit $500.
                                     rate of return 1000%.
Project 2 (Spam filter for Mailman): investment: $1000, profit $500.
                                     rate of return 50%.

Since I'm pretty sure you'll complain about my intuition if I don't
explain, here's an explanation: creating a stupid game using a game
library may take only a few minutes (here I'm estimating an hour), but
attract 500 downloads at $1 each.  Creating a good spam filter is hard
work, requiring many hours (20 is surely an underestimate) of careful
attention to detail.  But doing it for Mailman is not going to attract
a lot of high price downloads because people who have spam problems
big enough to spend money on it will concentrate on spam-filtering at
the incoming MTA, not in Mailman.  Since Mailman is GPL, your product
has to be GPL too.  So you'll be lucky if you get 500 contributions of
$1 each; the people who will want to use this feature are almost all
most interested in the price=0 side of "free software."  (I spend a
lot of time providing support on mailman-users.  This comes up a lot,
but never backed by a commitment of resources.  At best somebody
suggests to commit Google's resources, ie, a GSoC slot. :-( )

The fact that *proprietary* stupid game wins big over *FLOSS* spam
filter is not entirely an accident, but with a little effort one could
come up examples showing reverse.  Somebody else can do that, the
examples I gave address your question fully.


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