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Re: [Fwd: Re: Industry versus academia]


On Sunday 23 February 2003 12:10 pm, Sundar Narasimhan wrote:
> John -- you are as funny as I ever remember you being ! (Sorry if you
> didn't intend that post as humorous -- I can just picture you writing
> it -- so had to smile in places :) Open-source != free (you seem to

If one were not to laugh, one would cry.  (Actually, I have a
confession to make.  I was not laughing at all.  I was behaving in a
most unprofessional, nay, *uncivilized* manner, and saying things that
peeled the paint off the walls.)

> imply the price is zero .. it is not). Think of the $$ you spent last
> night -- worse, think of the opportunity cost.

I could not possibly agree more.  I am sorry, but I did not mean to
imply that the total ownership cost was zero.

However, one phenomenon that I always find surprising is how people in
different circumstances value time against money.  Our green-suited
end-user customers typically have much more time than money (their
time is already paid for, and they have no way of trading free time
for additional money, so the opportunity cost to them is zero, and
their time is essentially "free").  On the flip side, they have very
little discretionary spending money and very little control over their
budgets.  So money is tight.

There is a similar problem selling to academics, when (to the best of
my knowledge) budgets are set for the year, and there is not enough
discretionary spending flexibility to cover license costs.  Even when
we floated a deferred-payment option (which should have given people
the flexibility to budget costs in the next year), we were

> I completely understand where you are coming from (I'm amazed that you
> are still making a go of it against the Lockheed Martins and SAIC's of
> the world -- who seem to rig the game in DC before anyone suspects

Sometimes it is difficult to tell where the government ends and some
of these firms begin.

> I hadn't run across Manny Lehman's work before -- so thanks for
> the pointers.

I would think that the LL community could make a very strong case that
their "academic" techniques can help to limit the long-term complexity
of large, evolutionary software systems, and that there would be
either a tremendous long-term cost-savings or a tremendous increase in
system capability.


==== John Morrison
==== MAK Technologies Inc.
==== 185 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02138
==== http://www.mak.com/
==== vox:617-876-8085 x115
==== fax:617-876-9208
==== jm@mak.com