Problem

Monopolization of information about software development

Other Names:
Protecting copyright of computer programme code
Combatting open-source software
Competing against free software
Nature:
A company's withholding of information about software and copyright can make customers dependent on that company, but this can result in dissatisfied customers if the software does not perform well, and invite unpaid competition which is very difficult for a company to combat.
Background:
When customers wish to improve purchased software, they must depend upon the source company to make the programme changes, which it does by hiring programmers to fix the programmes. This is a very inefficient method of change, compared to allowing all users who wish to fix the programme to do so together via a network, such as the Internet.

Using the network, changes to a programme can be made just once by computer programmers among the users, often free of charge, and then tested immediately on thousands of interested users with many different applications, usually at no cost.

On the other hand, if a company make changes to a programme, it must not only fix the programme, but also check that the new version works properly in tandem with other programmes that have been written by its partner companies. Further, the changed programmes are tested formally on a relatively small group of users, so that the likelihood of identifying all new undesirable programme features is lower.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Problem Type:
G: Very specific problems
Date of last update
22.04.1999 – 00:00 CEST