Concluding Discussion: Accounting for Resources
Bruce Christianson: Perhaps I ought to introduce this discussion by saying what we do and don’t mean by accounting for resources. The general observation is that if you make a resource available free then you’re going to run out. So opinion has come and gone in the computing community, and particularly within the academic community, about whether or not it’s moral, or a good idea, to charge (in some sense) for computing or network resources. And this usually falls on one of two horns of a dilemma, depending on whether you’re talking about costing or pricing. Resources cost you the same amount whether anybody is using them or not, and generally they’re there because you want people to use them rather than because you don’t. And, if you’re doing it to make money, then there’s no incentive to fix any of the things that will lead to resources being wasted: if you discover there’s a large amount of bandwidth being wasted because of fraud, you put up the prices and the honest customers pay up, and the problem is solved.
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