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Re: Free Software in Enterprise Environments (was something else)

From: Todd Boyle
Subject: Re: Free Software in Enterprise Environments (was something else)
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 10:56:24 -0700

Hi Derek, thanks for your patience, just one more thing... and my
comments are regarding all of the companies below the largest
maybe 10,000 companies, in the market of 30 million businesses
in the U.S.  I'm talking about the horizontal, midrange business
system capable of multicompany/multilocation etc. and which is
also suitable for one-man companies.

> out by Microsoft overnight, without warning.  We don't want a
> permanent relationship paying rent to GNUE support engineers anymore
> than Microsoft. So that means we want an exit strategy-- standard
> interfaces.

You have the damn source code.  What the hell more do you want?

Nothing illustrates our mutual misunderstanding more than this.
We agree on almost everything, actually.

Source code is irrelevant to almost every SMEs and individuals'
accounting and business software decisions.

I agree, it provides an upper limit on the amount of loss or damage
the SME can suffer from the software.  It is an alternative that costs
$1000 or $10,000 or $30,000, in terms of modification, testing etc.
I have seen *many* times, companies facing a cost of $1000 who
print out the last set of balance sheet, and start data entry into a
whole new system. People don't even export their transaction detail.
It is mind boggling. They keep using the old computer for about 45 days
until they clear out most of the ARs adn APs then they switch it off

We're looking for viable solutions for a one-time payment below $1000
and with a lifetime of at least 3 to 5 years, and with a likely upgrade
update for another $500 like price.

With Microsoft already selling great plains at $1000, the open source
code is a solution to yesterdays' problem.   What you are seeing
in slow motion, is that Microsoft will keep dropping the price,
grooming the code, making the database stand up without
maintenance, making the software easier to configure and use,
until it is taken for granted.

Only an OS platform vendor can do this.  In the process they will
disrupt everybody elses' databases and APIs every couple years.
This churn to Dot Net will destroy more software than the die-off from
16 bits to 32-bits, or the die-off from DOS to GUIs.

But Microsoft will apparently succeed at this, going forward.
Their accounting platform will be the cheapest, if not the only
accounting application on Windows.  And that means, that's
how most people will buy and sell things!   Do you understand
how profound that would be?  At Microsoft's discretion, GPS
users will be allowed to exchange transactions with linux
or other platforms.  There will always be slight "impedance
mismatch" such as, a degree of privacy lost, or a churn or a
disruption or something.   Buying and selling being absolutely
the imperative, SMEs and individuals will not accept anything
that reduces their sales or increases their prices.   So it might
collapse into something like an EBAY phenomenon.  Like,
who wants to advertise your stuff in a nickel paper when
there are 30 million users on EBAY everyday?

The whole Windows cost superstructure, I don't know if it will
survive but Great Plains will drive everybody else out of
Windows.  Mickey is having to buy these guys, like Navision
because they're throwing in the towel.  GPS will be "the best",
similar to how MSIE is regarded as the best browser.

There will be millions of users on MS Great Plains, and
all the midrange like MAS 90 and AccPac will be toast.  They
have been held up by armies of VARs who need to make
money!  That pattern is going to be history.  Servicing GPS
is not going to be possible unless you rent your brain fulltime
to memorizing Microsofts ever-churning APIs.   So, there
will only be accountants and strategic consultants.  The
software won't be that hard to use.  Fixing the software will
not be the problem.  It will be reliable enough.  Mickey has
500 million desktops!  They have cash reserves of what,
$30 billion?  How can anything compete with that? Look how
easily they introduce a new game platform, in a horribly
post-mature game industry if anybody else introduced a new
game platform it would be a laughing stock. Mickey shipped
how many million already!  And drop the price? no problemo.

The internet commerce of midrange platforms under dot-net
(and Intuit and Peachtree as well) will never quite connect.  It
will always connect just for a specific thing, just for a year
maybe, and just when held up by lots of support and glue.

Only Microsoft's Great Plains will give users a full range of
buy, sell and pay.  Since it will be supported by endless,
continuous patches-- as often as necessary.

Where does GNUE fit into this picture?   We need a GNUE
CD-ROM we can drop into the tray and click "Setup" and it
never fails to work, and we need a patch distribution system
that is secure and transparent and effortless for non-professionals,
to compete with the borg's $500 Great Plains or whatever they
decide to sell it for.

I can't say with certainty the whole Linux value proposition is
going to be entirely positive.  Admittedly this is not the GNUE
projects fault!   It's just the whole big picture.

And you think the problem is "proprietary software"?  No,
I think it's darwinism that has run 20 years within a legal
framework that protects IP.  We have incontrovertible
proof that one company, by practicing a relentess game-theory
approach to our computing platforms, captures the entire
commons.  So don't tell me the problem is some
abstract principle.

Todd Boyle CPA  9745-128th Ave NE  Kirkland WA
International Accounting Services, LLC
425-827-3107  AR/AP everywhere
Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

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