Shareware vs. Freeware

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Christer Enfo » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00



Why is it that so many Palm applications are shareware, and not freeware?

Some would say "Because programmers have to eat too", or "How would you
like to go to work for free every day?".

But take a look at the Linux / Unix community. I have _never_, I repeat,
_never_ come across an application for Linux / Unix that I wanted, that
wasn't "freeware" (most often released under the Gnu Public License").

How come Linux / Unix programmers can make their products free without
starving to death, when so many Palm programmers seem to think that they
themselves can't?

And please, I'm not trying to start a flame war here, I'm just trying to
bring up what I consider to be an important subject.

--
         -=-=- Christer "Floppy now, hard later" Enfors -=-=-

       "I do my music in pure machine code using an assembler."
                            - Rob Hubbard

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Mike Anderse » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00


[Christer Enfors]
|
| Why is it that so many Palm applications are shareware, and not freeware?

The programmer owns the code, and he/she can do whatever they want with
it.  But I would strongly recommend them to read the "The Cathedral and
the Bazaar" document:
        http://www.earthspace.net/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/

| And please, I'm not trying to start a flame war here, I'm just trying to
| bring up what I consider to be an important subject.

No flames from me, but I suggest that you use the term "Open Source"
instead of "freeware".  Take a look at http://www.opensource.org/

mike
--
"It is a lesson which all history teaches wise men, to put trust in
 ideas, and not in circumstances."            --Ralph Waldo Emerson

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by who knows.. » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00



> [Christer Enfors]
> |
> | Why is it that so many Palm applications are shareware, and not freeware?

> The programmer owns the code, and he/she can do whatever they want with
> it.  But I would strongly recommend them to read the "The Cathedral and
> the Bazaar" document:
>         http://www.earthspace.net/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/

Great article! I hope all the shareware coders print that on large paper
and put it across their bathroom mirror.

blah...
--
Remove the fancy "NOSPAM" in the header when sending e-mail.
Note: People who are sending uninvited solicitations by email to me
accept
following terms stated in http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/~chrisf/spam.html.

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Tommy Thor » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00



> Why is it that so many Palm applications are shareware, and not
> freeware?

First answer is a question: what free software applications
(!= freeware) have you written for the Pilot?

Next answer is that it has everything to do with culture.  The ration
of hacker to lusers is much less with the PalmPilot than with Linux.
A large percentage of the Pilot programmer come with either a Windoze
or Mack background, where you "just didn't give your source away".

Having said that, there are a number of free software apps out there
for the Pilot, but unfortunately, most seems to have stopped evolving.

Quote:> And please, I'm not trying to start a flame war here, I'm just
> trying to bring up what I consider to be an important subject.

What are your motives?  If you want more free software, then write it.
Everybody has the right to chose the model they want and no amount of
"bringing up the subject" is gonna change their mind.  I'm not trying
to flame you, but I'm puzzled.  And yes, I have offered and will offer
my share of free software, but that's my decision.
--
/Tommy
 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Christer Enfo » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00




>> Why is it that so many Palm applications are shareware, and not
>> freeware?

>First answer is a question: what free software applications
>(!= freeware) have you written for the Pilot?

I got my Palm 3 days ago, so, none yet. But I fully intend to write
applications, and if I think anybody would be interested in them, I
will release them under the GPL.

Quote:>Next answer is that it has everything to do with culture.  The ration
>of hacker to lusers is much less with the PalmPilot than with Linux.
>A large percentage of the Pilot programmer come with either a Windoze
>or Mack background, where you "just didn't give your source away".

Yes, I am aware of this. I just wanted to hear a few shareware
programmers' view on the issue.

Quote:>> And please, I'm not trying to start a flame war here, I'm just
>> trying to bring up what I consider to be an important subject.

>What are your motives?  If you want more free software, then write it.

My motive is to prove the point that we would all benefit if we would
release our products under the GPL. And as I stated above, I intend to
do this myself.

Quote:>Everybody has the right to chose the model they want and no amount of
>"bringing up the subject" is gonna change their mind.  I'm not trying
>to flame you, but I'm puzzled.  And yes, I have offered and will offer
>my share of free software, but that's my decision.

Yes, everybody has the right to chose the model they want, and I do
think that it might change somebody's mind.

Richard Stallman "brought the subject up" in the eighties, and he sure
changed a few minds. I'm not trying to compare myself to him, I'm just
saying that discussion can make people change their minds.

--
         -=-=- Christer "Floppy now, hard later" Enfors -=-=-

       "I do my music in pure machine code using an assembler."
                            - Rob Hubbard

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Mike Anderse » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00


[Tommy Thorn] (to: Christer Enfors)
|
| A large percentage of the Pilot programmer come with either a Windoze
| or Mack background, where you "just didn't give your source away".

You are right.  But pointing them to the information about the benefit
with open source software, some of them may adopt the model.  Not all,
and noting bad said about those who don't like it -- it's a matter of
personal choice.

| What are your motives?  

I can't speek for Christer, but my motives for promoting open source is
not that _I_ want to peek into the source, but I belive we all gets
better software when the source is available.

Why is that?  Well, look at the way bugs are fixed in a closed source
developing model.  A programmer who discover a bug, has to report a
_bug_ instead of a bug _and_ a fix.  And there are a lot of programmers
out there... :-)

mike
--
"It is a lesson which all history teaches wise men, to put trust in
 ideas, and not in circumstances."            --Ralph Waldo Emerson

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Tommy Thor » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00



> Richard Stallman "brought the subject up" in the eighties, and he sure
> changed a few minds. I'm not trying to compare myself to him, I'm just
> saying that discussion can make people change their minds.

And how did Richard do it?  He offered free software, of good quality,
and a lot of it.  That's the only way.
--
/Tommy
 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Mike Anderse » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00


[Tommy Thorn] (To: Christer Enfors)
|
| And how did Richard do it?  He offered free software, of good quality,
| and a lot of it.  That's the only way.

Hmm... Am I wrong if I belive that you mean it's only people who offers
good quality software who should promote open source?  :)

mike
--
"It is a lesson which all history teaches wise men, to put trust in
 ideas, and not in circumstances."            --Ralph Waldo Emerson

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by George Caswel » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00




> > Why is it that so many Palm applications are shareware, and not
> > freeware?

> First answer is a question: what free software applications
> (!= freeware) have you written for the Pilot?

> Next answer is that it has everything to do with culture.  The ration
> of hacker to lusers is much less with the PalmPilot than with Linux.
> A large percentage of the Pilot programmer come with either a Windoze
> or Mack background, where you "just didn't give your source away".

   I personally despise the mentality that seems to have overrun all
programmers of the MS-Windows platform, that is, that any program, no matter
how trivial, how pathetic a s*of C code, is well worth a nagware feature
and, apparently, payment.  The MS-Win world is flooded with programs demanding
money for use, a lot of them good programs, a lot more of them bad or trivial
programs to a semi-skilled programmer with the right tools.  Since the average
user under MS-Win can't do crap, programmers can actually get money writing
idiotic binary trinkets.  (It is said that Manhattan isle was purchased for
the sum of two wallpaper changers and an animated icon.)  Under Linux, this
doesn't happen so much.  There's a large base of open code, and people take
pride in adding more.  It's not so black-and-white as it might seem, listening
to me, of course.  There are very good reasons things are as they are..  For
starters, as long as software engineering is such a sketchy, hackish
enterprise, there's no reason users in general should feel obligated to know
too much about it..  And that's MS-Windows's niche.

   Then, of course, I think a lot of programmers for the MS platform probably
wouldn't have thought of releasing their source code--  after all, how many
people have both a compiler fully compatible with the developer's, and the
knowledge and experience to make it work?  From what I've seen, that's just a
little harder in the MS world.

   I think apart from background, there's another good reason why Pilot
programmers expect money for their work--  The work is harder.  The Pilot
doesn't have the resources in CPU and memory to burn like your average PC
does, so the programmer has to be more clever in how they write things.  Of
course, how much more difficult would it be for those programmers to write
their code, if they didn't have access to a free compiler, with a free
standard C library, and free utilities to link, install, and debug their code?
If you bought CodeWarrior, you can skip that question.  gcc users should give
it some thought.

   I would personally hope that at least the people who don't plan on
demanding money for their program, give out the source code so people can
learn from it and everyone can benefit from not just what you made of it, but
whatever could potentially be made from it.  Licensing is important, too.
Make sure people know exactly what they can and can't do with the code..

   But this is just my opinion.  Have yours, and have a nice day.

---GEC

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Eugene A. Brau » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00




> I personally despise the mentality that seems to have overrun all
>programmers of the MS-Windows platform, that is, that any program, no
matter
>how trivial, how pathetic a s*of C code, is well worth a nagware
feature
>and, apparently, payment.  The MS-Win world is flooded with programs
demanding
>money for use, a lot of them good programs, a lot more of them bad or
trivial
>programs to a semi-skilled programmer with the right tools.  Since the
average
>user under MS-Win can't do crap, programmers can actually get money writing
>idiotic binary trinkets.  (It is said that Manhattan isle was purchased for
>the sum of two wallpaper changers and an animated icon.)

This is also happening for the Pilot. There are lots of little apps out
there that are so trivial, I wuldn't spend more than a buck or two on them.
This is not to say they can't be useful. If they were free, I'd surely use
them. But the payment if out of proportion to the functionality. So instead
of being nice and giving it away, Palm developers seem to be shrugging and
saying "let's see if I can get anyone to pay for this." For example, there
is a little "checklist" app that does the following: Allows a user to create
a checklist & check items off on it. Nice neat little app. Perfectly suited
to the Pilot. But programming it? Not a lot of work. Really. When the Pilot
first came out, this little app would probably have been free. As shareware,
it's $8 (and that's the discounted price...it was originally $12) Not worth
it, when you consider you can get ThoughtMill (lots more functionality) for
$18. I'll never buy it. I can't imagine the author is going to get more than
enough to buy a cup of coffee.

Quote:>   Then, of course, I think a lot of programmers for the MS platform
probably
>wouldn't have thought of releasing their source code--  after all, how many
>people have both a compiler fully compatible with the developer's, and the
>knowledge and experience to make it work?  From what I've seen, that's just
a
>little harder in the MS world.

True. The fact that there are so many apps for the Pilot is directly
attributable to the GNU compiler & free tools. Notice anything? Free tools
=> Lots of developers => Free apps =>  lots of users => Big community to
write shareware for *if the functionality you offer justifies it*. That's
why Pilot has the market share that it does.

Quote:>I think apart from background, there's another good reason why Pilot
>programmers expect money for their work--  The work is harder.

No it's not. It's no harder than Windoze programming (in some ways it's
easier). If you know event-driven programming and "C", programming the pilot
is easy (or at least, it's not hard). Conduits are another story :)
Plus, there are other tool out to program with (CBasPad, CASL, etc.)

Quote:>doesn't have the resources in CPU and memory to burn like your average PC
>does, so the programmer has to be more clever in how they write things.

Sometimes. It's usually not an issue unless you are doing something CPU or
memory intensive. That's not *usually* the case for a Pilot app. Right now
it is for me, because I'm writing a game that searches a game tree, but I
digress.

Quote:> Of
>course, how much more difficult would it be for those programmers to write
>their code, if they didn't have access to a free compiler, with a free
>standard C library, and free utilities to link, install, and debug their
code?
>If you bought CodeWarrior, you can skip that question.  gcc users should
give
>it some thought.

>   I would personally hope that at least the people who don't plan on
>demanding money for their program, give out the source code so people can
>learn from it and everyone can benefit from not just what you made of it,
but
>whatever could potentially be made from it.  Licensing is important, too.
>Make sure people know exactly what they can and can't do with the code..

Yeah, I have to look into that. I've only written one app for the pilot and
it's free. I'd like to make the source available too, but I haven't looked
into what legalese I have to put in the source so it doesn't become part of
someone's CD of apps that they're selling for $49.99 :)

Cheers,
    Eugene

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Rob Tillotso » Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:00:00




> > Yeah, I have to look into that. I've only written one app for the pilot and
> > it's free. I'd like to make the source available too, but I haven't looked
> > into what legalese I have to put in the source so it doesn't become part of
> > someone's CD of apps that they're selling for $49.99 :)

> Check out www.fsf.org for a copy of a GPL.  It explicitly deals with
> this type of issue.  Basically, IIRC, a third party can sell your
> stuff on CD for whatever they like, but needs to include the source,
> the GPL, & must allow unrestricted duplication of your stuff.

Yup.  I would also like to add that it is not easy to effectively
prevent commercial exploitation of your code while keeping the
software reasonably free.  A lot of people try it, with the best of
intentions -- after all, nobody wants to see someone else making loads
of money off their program.  However, if you are not careful in
drafting your license, you will end up either unduly restricting
desirable distribution channels, or restricting nothing at all.

Consider, for example, what happens if you simply say "commercial
redistribution prohibited".  The effectively kills the $50 CD-ROM,
but it might also get in the way of the $1.99 archive dump CD, sites
like PilotGear, etc. all of which might fall under a "no commercial
redistribution" clause.

On the other hand, what about a "reasonable copying fee" as some
authors allow?  Well, consider what happens if that $50 CD has 1000
apps on it (not unreasonable, given the size of Pilot stuff)... your
app's share is only $0.05/copy.  The distributor will argue that
$0.05/copy is "reasonable"... is it?

The GPL takes a different approach: rather than trying to draw this
line, it simply makes per-copy sales unprofitable by removing the
basis for scarcity of the software.  Without physical considerations
to get in the way, the demand for any particular software product can
easily be met at basically no incremental cost -- as a result,
the only way to have a viable per-copy software market is to control
supply.  By attaching the GPL to your code, you explicitly cut away
all the usual means of controlling supply in the software market,
practically guaranteeing that it will never be possible for anyone to
make much profity on per-copy sales of your code.

Quote:> It may also be illegal for them to bundle GPL'd & non-GPL'd software
> in the same package, though I'm not sure.

Actually, the GPL does allow bundling with non-GPLed code -- the
presence of non-GPLed code on the same medium is just fine (as long as
the license for the collection as a whole doesn't conflict with the
GPL, of course).

If this were not the case, life would be very difficult for Linux
distributors -- you wouldn't be able to get a complete OS on one CD,
because the standard components are under a variety of licenses
including the GPL.

Quote:> The upside of this is that if someone does sell your stuff, anyone
> else can copy it and sell it for less.

Indeed -- if you aren't planning on keeping your program proprietary
in order to make money on per-copy sales, the GPL does a pretty good
job of making sure nobody else can do that either.

Enjoy,
--Rob

--

  The Magickal PalmPilot -- http://www.io.com/~rob/mpp/
  CQ Codeworks Palmtop Software -- http://www.io.com/~rob/cq/

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Eugene A. Brau » Wed, 11 Nov 1998 04:00:00



>This is also happening for the Pilot. There are lots of little apps out
>there that are so trivial, I wuldn't spend more than a buck or two on them.
>This is not to say they can't be useful. If they were free, I'd surely use
>them. But the payment if out of proportion to the functionality. So instead
>of being nice and giving it away, Palm developers seem to be shrugging and
>saying "let's see if I can get anyone to pay for this." For example, there
>is a little "checklist" app that does the following: Allows a user to
create
>a checklist & check items off on it. Nice neat little app. Perfectly suited
>to the Pilot. But programming it? Not a lot of work. Really. When the Pilot
>first came out, this little app would probably have been free. As
shareware,
>it's $8 (and that's the discounted price...it was originally $12) Not worth
>it, when you consider you can get ThoughtMill (lots more functionality) for
>$18. I'll never buy it. I can't imagine the author is going to get more
than
>enough to buy a cup of coffee.

One other thing along these lines: I'm wonder if places like PilotGear make
it almost *too* easy to charge for apps via their storefront. I wonder how
many of these "$5 Apps" would be free if it was harder to collect the money
:)

Sorry Kenny & PilotGear...I love your site, use it constantly & register
shareware there & nowhere else...but I still gotta wonder...

Cheers,
    Eugene

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Peter A Fei » Wed, 11 Nov 1998 04:00:00





> Yeah, I have to look into that. I've only written one app for the pilot and
> it's free. I'd like to make the source available too, but I haven't looked
> into what legalese I have to put in the source so it doesn't become part of
> someone's CD of apps that they're selling for $49.99 :)

Check out www.fsf.org for a copy of a GPL.  It explicitly deals with
this type of issue.  Basically, IIRC, a third party can sell your
stuff on CD for whatever they like, but needs to include the source,
the GPL, & must allow unrestricted duplication of your stuff.  It may
also be illegal for them to bundle GPL'd & non-GPL'd software in the
same package, though I'm not sure.  The upside of this is that if
someone does sell your stuff, anyone else can copy it and sell it for
less.  Check the site for details.

--
Peter A Fein
773-324-6630

T-shirts are th' novels of the nineties.  --Zippy the Pinhead

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Alasdair Mans » Wed, 11 Nov 1998 04:00:00


On Mon, 9 Nov 1998 16:13:51 -0500, George Caswell


>I personally despise the mentality that seems to have overrun all
>programmers of the MS-Windows platform, that is, that any program, no matter
>how trivial, how pathetic a s*of C code, is well worth a nagware feature
>and, apparently, payment.

Simple solution to this one - don't use them (and if it makes you feel
any better, pity those who do).

regards

Alasdair
A Symbian employee in a personal capacity

 
 
 

Shareware vs. Freeware

Post by Peter A Fei » Wed, 11 Nov 1998 04:00:00




> One other thing along these lines: I'm wonder if places like PilotGear make
> it almost *too* easy to charge for apps via their storefront. I wonder how
> many of these "$5 Apps" would be free if it was harder to collect the money
> :)

Y'know, the author would probably get more out of it if others could
work on his code than the $20 or so in registrations they actually
gets... (note the implicit free software plug).

Quote:> Sorry Kenny & PilotGear...I love your site, use it constantly & register
> shareware there & nowhere else...but I still gotta wonder...

It is an odd little cottage industry, isn't it? ;)

--
Peter A Fein
773-324-6630

T-shirts are th' novels of the nineties.  --Zippy the Pinhead

 
 
 

1. Looking for Freeware/Shareware Spreadsheet for Palm.

I'm looking for a freeware or shareware spreadsheet for the Palm.
TiniSheet and minicalc look great, but unfortunately I can't afford to
pay anythin at the moment. i don't really need anything sophisticated,
really just arithmatic.
Being able to exchange data with the PC would be great, too.

Any reccomendations?

Oh, and what happened to "Programmers Calculator"?
It seems to have been taken down from everywhere.

Thanks

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