Time really isn’t money

The saying that "time is money" probably isn't true. It may sound true, but peoples' behavior tells us that they really don't believe it. We tend to have a strong bias in favor or things that we get right now at the expense of things that we'll get later. This is why people are easily tempted by low introductory interest rates on credit cards, for example, even if the rate becomes unattractive after six months or so. We'd apparently rather pay less now, even when we know that it will cost us more later. This means that time really isn't money. It also may explain why open-source software is so popular.

Some open-source software is very good. Linux is a very good operating system and MySQL is a fairly good database (at least for some applications). On the other hand, some open-source software isn't quite as good. It's cheap, but it can be much harder to use than commercial alternatives. Sometimes it's much harder to use. OpenSSL, for example, is free, but can be very tricky to use. Some people tell me that I should use harsher language to describe it, but I'll let them do that themselves.

RSA's BSAFE SSL-C, on the other hand, is fairly easy to use, but isn't free. It doesn't actually cost that much, but it's definitely not free. You'd think that people would prefer BSAFE SSL-C over OpenSSL when they look at how many hours of engineering time they'd save by using BSAFE SSL-C, but this doesn't seem to happen very often. They'd prefer to pay the lower costs today that are measured in money, even though they'll have higher costs in the long run that are measured in time. The fact that time apparently really isn't money seems to be why this happens.

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