[Fsf-friends] Some economic aspects of FOSS

Sandip Bhattacharya sandip@lug-delhi.org
Mon Jan 31 23:28:32 IST 2005

>There are so many people working in the proprietary software industry
>and if there is only FOSS out there so many people are gonna lose

This is one of the biggest myths in this debate, and one of the biggest 

For every MS Office software being made by at most a few thousand 
developers, there are lakhs of support personnel who are involved in 
selling it, lakhs involved in installing it and lakhs involved in 
supporting it(and I am probably only talking about India here). You take 
MS Office out of the picture and replace it with Open Office. *Maybe* a 
large part of those MS Office developers lose their jobs, but the rest 
(the sellers, installers and supporters) are still needed.

On the other hand more Office developers will get jobs now:
a) The people at Sun who are working on Open Office full time
b) The people at Red Hat and SuSe and others who package Open Office and 
sell it as part of their distribution. They would need full time people 
working on OpenOffice (and maybe others at the same time) because they 
need to make it work well with the rest of the distro, as well as answer 
their client support requests knowledgably (they cant say "Go ask the 
software developers", after all)

On top of all this, because the software is legal and freely available, 
the volume of all the people in just this one product line will be, 
given time (and in case of MS Office, monopolistic bundling practices), 
far more than the proprietary and expensive packages.

If you look hard at the figures, it is difficult to see how the sum 
total of people involved gets affected in any way - it should just get 

- Sandip

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