Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

Charles Cooper on OSAF

Perspectives: Mitch Kapor's impossible dream - Tech News - CNET.com. He says, among other things:

there can't ever be enough software diversity. Truth be told, however, I think Kapor is too late to make much of a difference.
I disagree. It's never too late. There is a lot of innovation happening under the radar. We just need to create good software.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 25, 2002 at 7:27 PM

don park replies to larry lessig

Don has posted this detailed response to Larry Lessig's comments on the OSAF situation.

Documents about Chandler talks about various "killer features". Killer features are intended to kill something. If Chandler kills Outlook, we'll have Chandler where we used to have Outlook. Nothing really changed except now no one is making a dime instead of the Bully making all the money. The consumers will love it of course and learn to take free software as the norm. How dare you charge money for what should be free? The service sector will eventually get nothing in return because consumer software will be so easy to use and customize that they won't need any help. The book industry will live a little longer. No wonder Tim O'Reilly is so strongly pushing open source and free software. How about free books too Tim?

Frankly, I don't know where the software industry is going. I know Microsoft is causing serious harm, but I also understand their position which is "you can't punish us for being successful." Understanding or not, I am willing to sacrifice my sense of fairness in return for the well-being of the software industry. I think the appropriate solution is to break them up and implement preventive steps such as a) requiring software companies to place file format in the public domain, b) outlaw harmful bundling, and c) strengthening industry associations to maintain the well-being of the software industry.


This is similar to what I was saying in this entry yesterday although I am not completely sure that the final conclusion, where people "get used to free" so they never want to pay again, is something that would necessarily happen. One example comes to mind: Opera. Browsers have been free for a while now, with good OS integration, and relatively good products. Yet Opera survives and improves, sometimes creating UI or app innovations. Whether they can keep it up in the long run remains to be seen, but they seem to be ok so far.

I guess that a part of me really wants to believe that it's the best products that win, eventually, or at least manage to survive and prosper even if in niches.

Additionally, the service/product dichotomy is big and creating a growing rift, companies like IBM and Sun depend on services while Microsoft depends only on products. For services-companies, the best thing is open-source. For product-oriented companies, the best thing is closed source. Small developers, who could benefit from a healthy mix of both, simply get crushed in between.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 25, 2002 at 12:59 PM

plan b

Plan B has crossed the 30,000 hits "line". Cool.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on October 25, 2002 at 8:30 AM

more comments on spaces

Phil of Python Community Server and Second P0st (who built the excellent Blogging Ecosystem) has posted a comment on spaces.

Sanjay has commented as well.

Thanks for the comments!

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 25, 2002 at 8:29 AM

surviving the downturn

[from BusinessWeek online]: Can Sun get Hot Again?

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 25, 2002 at 1:21 AM

david and goliath

Don has posted a comment on spaces and my previous post about OSAF. Don says:

Diego Doval voices his own perspective as a potential Chandler competitor. He is building a product called spaces that looks interesting. It overlaps somewhat with my own effort called Docuverse Daily.

I have received many private feedback similar to his from small developers. Unlike Diego, they have chosen not to respond publically for obvious reasons.

This is probably the most problematic effect of OSAF, as I mentioned before: Small developers that would have been inclined to try something new might now feel discouraged given that OSAF has such resources. In fact, in a recent posting on his weblog Mitch Kapor explained:
One thing CNET did get right -- we're not aiming Chandler at the large enterprise market. As shipped, I'm certain it will flunk the checklist because we are not doing the work to make it scale to an organization of 1,000 or 10,000 people. Selling to large enterprises is where Microsoft rakes in the big money for Exchange server(s) and license fees. In that sense, as CNET reported accurately, we're not a threat to Microsoft's business.
. If not a threat to Microsoft, if their target is specifically small organizations or individuals that might be inclined to try different, better, cheaper things, then they are clearly a threat to small developers who for obvious reasons target the same market. It might be that the possibility of tilting the field in the long run against Microsoft's dominance is enough to risk that chance, but I am not sure (and when I say I am not sure, I mean that I actually haven't made up my mind about it). To put it in context, could Lotus have gotten off the ground if Dan Bricklin would have made a 1-2-3 alternative open-sourced? (and yes, I know the situation is different, but let's put our "imagination hats" on for a second :-)). Maybe it would have risen anyway.

I guess that the bottom line is that small developers have always seen open source as their friend, and now it appears that we might actually end up fighting each other. Personally, I think that a solution will be found, since I doubt that Mitch's goal with OSAF is to crush small developers, and certainly exposing people to alternatives makes them more open to try even other new things. In any case, time is on our side. Don's comments have sparked a good discussion that should continue and we should try to find alternatives, and the one thing that I know for certain is that the people that say that the discussion is over are just plain wrong.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 25, 2002 at 12:39 AM

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