[thelist] cheap software spam - how do they do it?

Max Schwanekamp lists at neptunewebworks.com
Tue Mar 14 19:38:26 CST 2006

Shawn K. Quinn wrote:
> On Sun, 2006-03-12 at 21:42 -0800, Max Schwanekamp wrote:
>>$1200 is a lot for a commercial "blob of bits" but consider what your 
>>might tools cost in another business. 
> You're comparing apples to oranges here. I think it's a bit unfair to
> compare physical goods with something which can be reproduced at little
> to no cost.

I think the analogy is apt.  When you're buying a high-quality 
mechanical tool, what you're primarily paying for is better engineering, 
  and support for when something goes wrong (i.e. for physical tools, a 
warranty for replacement if the tool fails).  Same goes for commercial 
software.  I'm not implying that one pay a lot of money to get quality 
software, only that when you do purchase commercial software, the money 
is going to support an organization that develops and supports that 
software.  The Open Source model is an alternative to this, arguably a 
superior one, but even in that case there's a cost involved (in labor 
hours, if nothing else) in getting support.  In any case, the OP was 
asking about how certain "OEM Software" distributors (or whatever they 
call themselves) can charge so little.  The answer is that the cost of 
running their pirate organization is significantly less than the costs 
that Adobe has in developing the software.

>>If you were an auto mechanic, for example, would you feel good about
>>buying stolen Makita tools from smugglers based in a former Soviet
> That depends on a lot of things. If Makita forbade me to help my
> neighbor by letting them borrow a tool they made (and most
> shrinkwrapped-blob-of-bits EULAs do exactly this!), I can see how it
> certainly would be tempting. I, personally, wouldn't do it and probably
> would choose instead to buy from a competitor.

Quite true.  On the other hand, there is the basic limitation that a 
physical tool cannot be easily cloned by the person borrowing it. When 
Star Trek-style replicators become possible, you can expect Makita's 
tools will come with a similar EULA.  :)  Commercial software can 
already be easily replicated, and the people who make their living 
developing it should of course be able to take measures to protect the 
fruits of their labor.  Whether you want to pay for it or not is another 
story, but paying a thief for a stolen copy is not a good practice, 
whatever your stance is on commercial blobs-o-bits.

Max Schwanekamp

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