Sunday, August 29, 2004

Databases for free

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."
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