From the Bleeding Edge blog .
In the very early days of the PC revolution, untold thousands of hobbyists and programmers spread their fledgling programs across the seven major online services (The Source, The Well, CompuServe, AOL, ZDNet, Prodigy and MSN) and thousands of Bulletin Board Systems.
The programs were largely free to use, and in fact the few software authors who dared to try to charge money for their efforts were thoroughly castigated as being greedy.
Eventually, people figured out that talented programmers could not afford to give away their products, any more than talented musicians or painters could.
The market divided into three layers – major software programs that consumers paid for at one end of the...