I would really like the software to be free open source, with a free knowledge base on line and help.
I think then you could offer training for a fee (which may be utilised more when the program has become popular and widespread) as well as telephone support for a fee (some sort of maintenance deal).
Open office has free knowledge base etc.
I would give money to an open software company if I used the product a lot, particularly in my organisation. I think once the software is used by organisations you can make money from higher support such as training, books and bibles etc.
One software program I support at work is a paid calendar program but you have to pay for support every year, which our company stopped doing before I started. It does have an online help, and we did have a copy of a basic guide, this helped me get through supporting and training the product. Sometimes the online help on the computers (pc web based help) doesn't work, so this makes it very hard.
I do miss the fact they don't have an online knowledge base.
Even microsoft has an online knowledge base that people can use even if they haven't paid for maintenance anymore.
That being said, if the program works and does everything that the manual/help says you may not need support. I have yet to see this type of program. Is it fair that you have to pay for support for something that should work and doesn't - possibly due to a different software environment, software conflicts etc.
Another interesting example is Projex project management software, an add in for use with Excel to create gantt charts etc. It is very cheap, you can also get a demo version. My company bought a site license for a low price, there are online instructions and I send him email from time to time if I find some things don't work as expected, to which he writes back.http://waa-inc.com/projex/index.htm
I would prefer to have option to download, but to get an official copy on a cd. It depends how many copies I have. If it is free, then just downloading is fine. If the program is very big though and it works out cheaper to have the cd sent than download all the files, then I would prefer the cd.