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Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 16:24:01 -0500

"Rjack" <> wrote in message">

One only need observe the voluntary dismissal WITH PREJUDICE
obtained by Verizon when they told SFLC to kiss their ass.

The SFLC is a lightweight entity when it comes to scuffling with the big guys, I think. They have sort of managed, if you believe their PR, to extract some payments from a handful of no-name targets. I doubt that they came away with very much money, even then. To take on Cisco on an issue that Cisco might want to resist vigorously is a costly thing that will doubtless go on for years (witness SCO is still alive somehow after losing so many battles and taking so much time). Their payday, if there would ever be one, is so far in the future that it should look non-existent and could they spend the time to respond to a well-heeled company's lawyers who have the time and the money to brief every possible favorable opinion?

Many hardware developers have a vested financial interest in complying with SFLC demands. Business is the art of making money and if it is profitable to comply with silly GPL demands they will do so ... that doesn't make the GPL a valid business model.

No. Even someone like Cisco is only using the GPL stuff as is. They have a requirement to publish the source that they copied for free so that some router user might see it and be moved to improve it. That is kind of a laugh, I think. Anyone who might want to do that sort of thing is going to want to do it on a more formal basis and could best do it by gaining employment with Cisco. Even if they wanted to fuss with it on their own, they would presumably choose to go to the original source site in order to get the latest project source. All that a user would publish would be a snapshot of the source when the copy was made. That doesn't seem so useful.

One could, perhaps, take GPL code and attempt to create a new software product by extending the GPL source in some useful way, but, if you think about it more deeply, that is ever so unlikely to be successful.

For example, say you could safely, without getting ground up in the gears of the SFLC or FSF, hijack the source code for Open Office or Gimp or even Linux itself. If you try to sell it as a product by itself, with nothing added, you are going to fail, since the product is already available at essentially zero cost and you have nothing to differentiate yourself. If you add some useful improvement, you are still faced with a market that is mature and will only spur the incumbent suppliers to duplicate your improvement for their own products. The customers will classically wait for the incumbent to adopt the new feature.


Can you seriously believe that another office suite or graphics package or OS platform can make any headway against things like MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, or Windows itself? The marketing and business issues involved in such an endeavor totally swamp the technology issues.


For the first time ever, considering the present economic crisis at hand, it is possible that netbooks and lightweight applications can make serious inroads into the home market -- perhaps even small businesses since many must cut IT costs just to survive. A netbook or minimal desktop with a FreeBSD operating system could open a market for small developers. Small businesses often require little more than a good $39 GUI text editor. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of unemployed software people in the next few
years who will be willing to try a shot at proprietary programming

The home market is and has been for a long time completely saturated with such things. There is not going to be more money in the system because suddenly there is an over supply of talent available. The netbooks all come, I understand, with Open Office pre-installed for their Linux versions already. Who is going to be able to make any incremental hay over that? If it seemed to appeal to an end user, the OEM could add OO to the XP or Windows7 versions, too. There just isn't any opportunity for anyone to come so late to such a long-running party.

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