The Economics of Software "...doesn't it strike you as odd that your operating system is essentially free, but your database is still costing you forty grand per CPU? Is a database infinitely more difficult to write than an operating system? (Answer: no.) If not, why the enormous pricing discrepancy?"
"The tendency towards open source is especially strong when companies profit not directly from the right-to-use of the software, but rather from some complementary good: support, services, other software, or even hardware...To put this in retail terms, open source software has all of the properties of a loss-leader -- minus the loss, of course."
"Will either of these [MaxDB and Ingres] be able to start taking serious business away from Oracle and IBM?...The economics of software tells us that, in the long run, this is likely the case: either the demand-side will ultimately force sufficient improvements to the existing open source databases, or the supply-side will force the open sourcing of one of the viable competitors."