[Beowulf] Application Deployment

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Sun Oct 10 15:26:59 PDT 2004

Jim Lux wrote:

>----- Original Message -----
>>As I have said privately to others, the GPL is not a business model.
>>Moreover, the ivory tower concept of giving away the source to sell the
>>consulting seems to work for very few groups, if any (I can think of
>>one, mySQL AB). As it is unlikely that there will be millions of linux
>>clusters out there, the MySQL model of leveraging the needs of a huge
>>installed user base will not work here.
>Very true, I think.  Fortunately, there are people who are willing to work
>with stars in their eyes.

Stars don't pay (my) bills. :(


>>The per use view presumes you are using a consumable resource in some
>>sense, and then attaching a value to it.  It reminds me of  the
>>innumerable requests for registration going on now, coupled with the
>>"would you like to view this article? only 1.95$USD right now..." I see
>>linked from various news sites.
>I would never maintain that the price someone is willing to pay for a
>commodity is related to its intrinsic value.  Something is worth what
>someone is willing to pay for it.  I pay (grumpily) $7 to watch a movie at
>the theater.  I don't imagine that the marginal cost to show the movie to me
>is even close to $7.

Value in this case != marginal cost.  Value is that difficult to define 
aspect of something.  The marginal cost of viewing the movie has to be 
quite low, far below the $7 you pay.  The "value" in the case is 
"entertainment" (though I leave that to other threads) from the movie.  
That is, you make a judgment in your mind before parting with the money 
that the thing you are buying serves some need that you ascribe a 
"value" to.   In the case of movie tickets, it is a simple binary 
system; either it has value or it does not (e.g. your need to be 

If you have a problem similar to Robert's storage issue, what is the 
value to you (not the marginal cost) of solving it?  E.g. will other 
projects be delayed?  Value includes opportunity cost, and many other 
softer calculcations/guesstimates.

>>Of course, apart from electrical power, it is hard to understand what
>>resource you are consuming when this occurs. I suspect that consumer
>>backlash against this will likely halt this march.  I do see a
>>subscription model becoming far more likely, whereby for a fixed
>>(continuous) fee, you get access to content (much like a magazine, but
>>software content in this case).  I think people generally would be more
>>accepting of this model than a micropayment per click.
>But people are willing to pay "per click" for things like SMS messages and
>phone calls. (There are various "bulk purchase" schemes for both...500 free

I am subscribing to a service in such a way so as not to pay per 
minute.  I don't SMS (I simply do not see the value in it, and would 
welcome someone explaining this to me (offline)).  I am not talking 
about basic paging or blackberry stuff (the latter being quite cool).  I 
don't mind this recurring cost.

>minutes, etc., but I think those have more importance from a marketing
>standpoint than from a revenue standpoint.  Industries with "cost
>reimbursement" models (most gov't contractors, gov't agencies, health care,
>etc.) are very attracted to a "dollars per click" model, because it allows
>easy allocation of costs to multiple accounts.

ok... I anthropomorphised.  "There are more business models in the 
economy Joseph, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."  I stand ... er 
... sit... corrected.

>>Now do something interesting (which I have not seen done yet by MSFT,
>>though I expect in in short order).  Change the acquisition model to
>>that of a subscription.  So instead of paying $500 for an install with a
>>free set of patches, pay $50 to acquire the base + $100/year of
>>subscription.  Roll the next "versions" out in phases, with
>>inter-function dependencies rather than entire version dependencies.
>>The software becomes the platform.
>>Talk about lock-in.  There will be no upgrade cycle to contend with.
>>Changes can be made quite modular.  New features better tested and
>>rolled in in an evolutionary manner.  Brand new functionality could be
>>created into different subscription paths.  Copying and "pirating" would
>>be encouraged (you need that subscription after all) as each machine
>>would require its own subscription to function.
>>Rough guess, but I would bet on something much like this emerging.
>This IS really the .NET model...
>Get away from software being "WinXX compatible" and to "generalized Windows
>platform compatible", with a steady revenue stream, just like the gas

Yup.  I started looking at Mono to see if it made sense to start 
targetting commercial apps for it.  Still not sure, but it is getting 
there.  Not HPC apps, but user interfaces and other things.

What I remember from a committee I sat on about a decade ago about how 
to handle cost distribution/sharing was "chargeback kills usage".   Per 
usage fees were not appealing to most end users we spoke with (academe). 

This of course suggests adaptive business micro-models for software in 
specific market contexts (government, academe, industry).


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