You ought to consider my proposition more carefully before you dismiss it as ridiculous. Your point of view comes entirely consumer minded and you don't seem to understand software development, so let a professional enlighten you.
May I sell you a copy of MS-DOS 2.0 for $40 today? Other than the fact you might be a sentimentalist, nobody is going to buy it in present time. But if you had told people that MS-DOS 2.0 had no value back in 1983, people would think you're crazy.
However, some form of DOS is still useful today as part of an embedded real-time control system. But is everyone going to buy it? Not by a long shot. Is Microsoft making any money selling MS-DOS today? I seriously doubt it.
Basically, ask yourself how much you would pay to get a piece of software that you depend on today if you had woken up to find that the only way you could still use it (or any acceptable alternative, or better yet, if there was no acceptable alternative) was to pay for it. That would be the value of the software to you.
No, this is not the value of the software. This reflects only the market pricing mechanism. A consumer would find the next lowest priced software. It might be yet another free alternative, or it could be non-free but bundled with a paid operating system. If the next lowest priced alternative turns out to be unaffordable, I might choose not to buy it.
Your mistake is you conflate value with pricing.
On the other hand, there is plenty of free software that has no value to me. I won't use it even if you pay me to. GNOME desktop is a prime example. I have also spent several hundred dollars on commercial video editing software because the free ones are essentially garbage.
I find that emacs has value to me not because all software has an intrinsic value as you suggested, but because it solves a problem that I have, namely to edit plain text files. None of my "normal" (non-programming) friends would find emacs valuable at all. Even some coworkers don't use emacs and use this abomination called eclipse.
Software has no intrinsic value. The value is derived from what the software can do for me.