Pito Salas has some questions about pricing expectations in the software field:
Have you noticed how man how many new apps that have appeared of late are available free of charge?
Web 2.0 services like gada.be or flickr or del.icio.us. And more conventional client apps like Firefox? The list is approximately infinite. They come and go at an amazing rate. And they are all free.
Not only are they free, users seem to expect them to be free. I am not sure how this came to be...
Is it a unintended consequence of the open source philosophy? Is it a incorrect reframing of the fact that major and well known services like google and yahoo are (apparently) free (although ad supported?)
Whatever the reason, I worry about the chilling effect this can have on innovation in our industry.
He's got a point there - I know that the development tool sector has this problem in spades. The direction things are going is something like this: "Any tool you want, so long as it's Eclipse" (with apologies to Henry Ford).
The bottom line is, developers cost money - like everyone else, they have to pay rent (or mortgage), buy food - etc. My experience in this field tells me that you simply cannot rely on support costs to fill the gap - too many people will do without. What's the answer? I don't know. But like Pito, I wonder how it's going to play out.