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Re: Time to make a stand. (Was: Re: IBM 390)

On Thu, Mar 25, 1999 at 12:22:13AM -0600, Jor-el wrote:
> 	That being said, there is information that is more readily
> accessible to me which is non-confidential. This, I am more than willing
> to share, but let us take that discussion off this list.

I think nobody can/will expect more then that. Phillip was free to ask, and
you are free to deny, end of story (to me, it looks silly that Phil asked in
_public_ in the first place, but sometimes the bold win :)

> 	I dont believe that IBM is anti-linux. IBM is a big corporation
> that is so big that quite often its left hand doesnt know / understand
> what its right hand does.


> If you do see isolated incidents that go against
> the Linux community, you must remember that that is just what they are :
> isolated incidents.

Well, it could also be the other way round: The free software supporter are
isolated incidents. Or all are. Or a mixture of both. I can imagine that it
is a lot of trouble to manage such a large cooperation like IBM (but I don't
have no pity. Seems to be the pay off for the "greediness").

> Like all other big corporations, IBM is still trying
> to grasp the business model of free software. Sometimes it succeeds, and
> sometimes it fails. I think that ascribing intentions to these successes
> and failures is a meaningless excercise.

The only intention seems (often) to make money and acknowledgement
(to get more money in return). This won't work.

Companies start to grasp that thousands of volunteer programmers/users can
achieve more then a few paid people. They begin to understand the bazaar
model. People like ESR are promising them a never-ending stream of big
fixers, contributors and developers.

But people are not stupid. Why should I volunteer if I don't see mind share?
Business people are still ignoring mind share too much. Theyy acknowledge
the quality of Linux. They acknowledge the user base, the volunteer work and
the online support. But they don't like the freedom.

As a whole, this is understandable. They have spent years on closing up, one
software company trying to hide and steal ideas from another. Things can
only change slowly.

I think in the long run, software compaines need to reorganize. They have to
move from development to support. They have to move from software to
hardware development ((this is why I am scared about winmodems etc, those
compaines will loose)). They need to ortganize in international standard
commitees. This will be cheaper for everyone, too. It needs more social
competence and energy, though.

However, companies will be disappointed by Open Source when they realize
that Open Source buys them nothing, if they don't show the necessary mind
share. Getting money of it should be secondary.

I am not picking on any company in particular here, btw.
> 	I believe that free software equates to better software (that is
> why I am on this list!). The business world may recognize this too, but
> until they have a strategy in place for making money off of free software,
> they wont play the free software game. IBM is still trying to find the
> right strategies, and I dont think they can be faulted for that.

Maybe here you can see what I mean. It is nice that Free Software yields to
Better Software (tm), but this is secondary. However, this is the message
that ERS tries to sell to the suits.

Free Software does only give better software if people are working on it.
People are only working on it if they see mind share, if they have fun
working on it, if they see that their goal (FREE Software) is aimed at.

The only way to play the game is to play by the rules. Suits should stop
looking how they can suck out Open Source (APSL or whatever), and
start to put up Free Software and mind share.

Sorry for the rant,

`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' Debian http://www.debian.org   finger brinkmd@ 
Marcus Brinkmann              GNU    http://www.gnu.org     master.debian.org
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