Much though I despise many of the business practices that
spawned this giant monopoly, and much though I lament their
loss of focus on user interfaces issues, I still find myself
in total agreement with this executive's proposition.
He does not claim that open source *shouldn't* exist. He
merely claims that it cannot survive as a business model.
One can like it, or lump it. But he is right. The value of
a proposition is determined by how much others are willing
to part with to get it. That is the nature of our economic
situation, and no alternative has been discovered to date
that works anywhere near as well.
I note, too, that counter examples like Red Hat and IBM
are all *hardware* manufacturers, who in fact gain a great
deal from open source software. In such circumstances,
making a profit on open source software is icing. Even a
sizable loss is more than offset by hardware sales.
For any organization hoping to grow and prosper as a
*software* producer, however, an open source release
obviates the "intellectual property" advantage which is
the basis for the product's benefit.
The only exception that occurs to me is in very large,
very complex systems that require ongoing, timely support.
In that case, yearly licensing fees from major corporations
may well provide nearly the same revenues as selling the
For any sort of consumer-level software, however, any
version that works well enough to use is that one does
not require support. (Development IDEs may well be an
exception, but again it is corporate custmers who spring
for support fees.)
And if the next version is only a few months away, and it
is free, too, then what need for support?
At this point, I have a suite of shareware tools that are
not too expensive, and I regularly shell out a few bucks
when a new version comes along. Do I care whether or not
the source is open. Hardly. I wouldn't have the time to
play with it, even if it were. What I care is that it does
the job I need it to do.
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri May 04 2001 - 14:26:55 PDT