Archive for the ‘Free Software’ Category

Yesterday I was participating in a study about Piracy and I was asked my thoughts on it.   So i had to think what i think about Piracy and Free Software. Here are some thoughts.

I think that the model of making software and charging a fee for it is actually not going to work for much longer. People are either using free tools or downloading the software from the p2p services and getting them. Comapnies have been trying to fight piracy a lot and until know they have failed bigly. For sure they’ve scared some people with lawsuits, but they aren’t stopping the main community. I don’t think sharing files is wrong, it’s just a new way of doing things. Companies can chose to go with change or to just stay with the old system. I believe since the old system is a comfort zone they will fight to stay there. 

Some Examples and Business Model ideas

Gladly we can see examples like Google or Zoho that enable people to use productivity suites (like microsoft Office) for free and makes it really easy to collaborate and share on-line which adds a lot of value to the production of documents.  Google Docs is what i usually use for creating word documents or spreadsheets. It is easier to make papers on-line where all the students collaborating with me can help at the same time without being physically on the same place. 

So as you can see by the example above there are some alternatives to piracy. Another one is ad-supported software that you can use freely and be subject to some sort of advertisments or sponsors. Finally, we have free software as an alternative to the “traditional” software business. Free software is simple, people create it and make the code (the actual programming) free  so people can work on it and make it better while they make sure the access to that software is free for all. 

In conclusion, I think that companies need to find a new business model to try and embrace the new way of sharing. People will continue to share software and other types of files on-line  amd there should be many ways to benefit from that instead of defending a model that is becoming obsolete. Of course that piracy is not good, but companies need to understand that there are another ways of monetizing software than direct sales. 

Since some people buy only what they like, extended trial periods could be a good alternative for people to try software and then pay some money for it. Another choice could be software rental (a fee for time of use). Or Ad supported programs (I mean small ads not spamming with ads like old p2p clients used to do). Or anything else. 

It’s time to get creative. These are a few ideas, if you have more please share them on the comments.