Software Manufacturing

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= to be contrasted with FLOSS, Free Software and Open Source Software

Description

"Some people refer to it as "commercial software". Since FLOSS can also have "profit as its primary goal" it can also be commercial, simply using alternative business models to collecting monopoly rents (royalties). There is quite a bit of non-FLOSS software that is given away for free (no royalty), suggesting that whether something is "commercial" and whether it is FLOSS are unrelated.

Some people refer to it as "proprietary software". Those of us involved in copyright reform find this confusing as all software that is not in the public domain has "proprietors". In the case of FLOSS the copyright holders (proprietors) have licensed their software using terms which protect the rights of those that will then be able to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Often there are more copyright holders with peer produced software than with other methods, with the term "proprietary software" only confusing people.

The best term I have found is "software manufacturing". This would refer to methods of production, distribution and funding of software that are similar to those used for manufactured goods. Some centralized company creates the software (possibly buying "parts" from other sources that it assembles), it is distributed by retail and other channels used for tangible goods, and it is funded per-unit (royalty fees, most often calculated per-copy).

Those involved in this methodology seem to be comfortable with the term. On the homepage of CAAST.org it says, "The Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) is an industry alliance of software manufacturers". While software manufacturers treat intangible software with the limitations of tangible goods, FLOSS offers a full spectrum of methods of creation, distribution and funding which harness the intangible nature of software." (http://www.flora.ca/floss.shtml)