The value of the software


The price is in the box, the cost in our motivation, the utility in the use we give it, the value in our appreciation.

This is a very sensitive issue, depending on the point of view of who says it, who is dedicated and who pays their expenses; generally we associate what is worth a software with its label followed by the dollar symbol, often unattainable for small markets or because we compare it with others of not exactly the same context. 

I am a firm believer that open source licenses are an irreversible trend, and that within a few years (if it is not already happening) they will take a good proportion of the market in most niches of the technology world, in a sustainable way (that does not it's happening). But that software is free does not imply that the hunger of humanity will end. The implementation, innovation, training and updating have a price that must be paid by someone; and in the end trading software must exist to make trends marketable.

When this morning I heard Greg Bentley's voice, how many millions of dollars have accumulated in 25 years with his Microstation & family software, I can have as a first thought a string of atrocities not suitable for this space. But when we realize that this is the price of those who innovate, on the second stone of others and in the company of many more, we end up recognizing that it is a reward for their effort, which was not done by their 23 university companions (including me, or my father).

It is still likely that we think that this credit is taken because many have consumed and perfected their tools. True, but others have also made their own earnings, which by law of life they would have achieved with any other software, to a greater or lesser extent but almost certainly with similar effort.

So, if we are critical of software prices, their limitations to our demands, quality of service or even their crazy policies; We must also be aware that we could be eating thanks to its existence; Either in its use or with the competition.

AutoCAD consumes a lot of memory, Bentley is unintuitive, gvSIG advances too slowly, ESRI is very expensive, Windows is outdated, Manifold is little known, Google Earth is extremely imprecise ...

Pessimism has not won many awards in history, making the troll is as easy (and sometimes delicious), but it is always (almost) possible to find a win-win perspective within the value-added chain of relations:

-My successes are the result of my technicians, I exploit them to death but also with their income they have grown their resume and paid their bills. In the end I have learned more of their abilities than they from my poem, some will go further than me, because they have so much potential.
-They will take advantage of your record, although I am the one receiving applause now; not understanding this can lead to professional jealousy or frustration. But then they will have their successes, I will enjoy it and this is a chain that must happen to who is now my boss.

Something similar happens to software:

-Bentley makes a lot of money and in exchange he gives me a prize of $ 300, but with his tools I have fed my kids, developed knowledge, and experience.
-AutoCAD monopolizes the global market, but thanks to its popularity I have many students in my classroom willing to pay and many visits looking for how to use it and even how to run the keygen.
-ESRI does not respect some community standards, but the GIS owes much to its aggressiveness and going to a conference in San Diego has inspired me in the motivation that the masses can have.

Depending on what we do, we might have pessimistic thoughts regarding the brands ESRI, Bentley, AutoCAD, gvSIG, Google Earth, or Windows. But they are the product of someone who had the initiative to create them from scratch, or from very primitive ideas to what they are now. A good portion of what we eat daily is due to its existence, the sum of your persistence, innovation and delight in life make us all win. The path is the price, the achievement is the value.

Give me the name of the software that you least sympathize with ... well, if it weren't for him, you might not have your knowledge and you would have left over the 8 minutes you've been reading this post, because this blog might not exist. In conclusion, the value of the software will be in the productivity that we achieve with how much we have invested in it, be it a lot, a little, economic, hysterical or exciting.

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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  1. Okay, some of the aggressive commercial software of large companies takes advantage of their position and damages not only the institutions but the users who consume their products.

    As for free software, the bet must continue, although sustainability must be seriously considered. We have all seen tools built in different ways, doing almost the same thing, of four one sustains itself and the others become obsolete and die. Not that it's bad, but it takes time, initiative ... and ultimately money.

    The maturity of the free licenses is good, although there is work to be done to consolidate efforts (not so much in the case of GIS), but in other branches.

  2. I think the issue of value or collection of proprietary software is a somewhat artificial discussion. The approach of free software aims to promote the development and use of free applications (most free of charge) but not to criminalize companies and services (if not, they are illegal and corrupt to increase profits or market dominance , Violating the antitrust laws of the countries).
    I think it has never been questioned what to pay for certain software. What has been denounced is the lack of alternatives to maintain a freedom (one of the fundamental values ​​in the current economic models) to choose, use and produce (read licenses that do not excessively restrict my rights to the product of my work, or My freedom to choose a certain technological tool).
    The answer to this dilemma is the right to create and introduce new products to the market, complementing the market's offer with new types of licenses and new features and prices, reaffirming the freedom of choice of consumers and users.
    If the problem were the existing commercial products, the companies that profit from it and its excessive value, what would correspond would be the state subsidy for the acquisition of proprietary software or the nationalization of corporations and companies producing software. Absurd idea, of course, that they have never proposed the FSF or other organizations. On the contrary, the objective has always been the creation of new products and alternative services.


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