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Re: UserLinux white paper

On Wed, 2003-12-03 at 11:12, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
> > On Tue, Dec 02, 2003 at 12:04:31PM +0000, bruce wrote:
> > > I did a first pass at the UserLinux white paper, it's at
> > > http://userlinux.org/white_paper.html. I think I'll sleep for a while.
> The next logical question then is why will an ISV support a particular
> distribution or OS provider?  The answer in practice is that they will

Some ISV business models may not be sustainable within this new Free
Market paradigm.

How many financials implementations are ultimately needed - really only
one, perhaps customized for vertical markets.

Take A companies x B CPUs x C client access licenses, multiply it all
out, and at some point you begin to realize that somewhere there is a
whole lot of profit being made.

This is the Proprietary software model, with artificial, government
imposed (via copyright laws) monopolies, resulting in customer lock-in
and price maximization.

This is not a properly free market economy. The monopolies are
artificially imposed, not natural.

Free Software clearly and evidently redifines *within the current
(legal, financial) system* the way to a Free Market Economy.

We will see profits of some ISVs fall, we will see others disappear
altogether. We will see new organisations take hold in this new free
market - predominantly services-based organizations.

Competition between service providers - much closer to a true free
market economy. Production efficiency and therefore effective total
public/ community wealth is maximized.

What more could you possibly want?

> where the ISV is highly desired by the customers, the OS/Distribution
> provider actually has to **pay** **money** to the ISV, and establish a
> competency center in Waldorf, Germany staffed with some number of
> engineers before said ISV will actually deign to port their
> application to that particular OS and support that particular OS.
> These sorts of situations really do happen!  

see above

> Even in situations where the ISV is so highly desired that it would be
> a severe competitive disadvantage for a particular OS vendor of that
> particular enterprise resource planning application was not available
> on that OS, in many cases the ISV's can at the very minimum require
> that the OS vendor to provide free support.  

You are arguing too much in the theoretical - tell us who this "so
highly desired" ISV is, then we can debate it.

> If some vendor such as Sequent had chosen not to devote that kind of
> support to that particular ISV, that particular vendor might have
> chosen not support PTX, and then Sequent would get locked out of
> certain customers that might have chosen to use this particular
> financial application.

One stone at a time.

We are not "Sequent, a hardware supplier". We do not depend on these
clients to continue our good work and our success. We are simply
extending into new markets. There is no imperative - it is in fact
almost a duty, and is certainly a generous thing for our community to
do. Once clients start to realise the practical benefits that come with
software freedom, there will be no stopping the tide.

The benefits to customers ("pick a metric" -maximization) will
eventually become self evident. Today it is perhaps difficult to see -
that is because we are within an artificially distorted market place.

In our new model, there's little more that sequent has to do than
support a "port" of Debian to their hardware platform (running under
Debian GNU/Linux of course) and then mostly all that's required is
rebuilding for the architecture - *for every ISV out there* (that
supports Debian GNU/Linux) (I know, I'm simplifying a little here, but
you get the picture).

Perhaps someone can dig up Linus' famous "Linux will never be cross
platform" quote.

> So the problem then with the UserLinux distribution concept is how do
> you fund required investments which are necessary for that particular
> distribution to succeed?  $1 million USD might pay for the necessary

Bruce has worked a project plan for a US $1M investment/ development

Previous to this, the stereo-typical comment might have been "how will
we raise funds for even $100,000 of development".

Miracles I tell you, miracles!


> It's an interesting problem.... but understanding some of these
> constraints might allow folks to understand why the commercial Linux
> distributions charge so much for their enterprise Linux products.

Crap. "Commercial linux distros" are about maximizing profit. They can,
will and do do everything they can to maximize profits (including
per-seat licenses - keeping the customer almost as far from one of the
key benefits of free software as you can imagine).

User Linux/ Debian Enterprise on the other hand is Debian. It is about
principles - something higher than mere profit. And I still say *make as
much monetary profit as you possibly can* (while sticking to the
principles of freedom).

These two concepts are not mutually exclusive.


Debian Enterprise: A Custom Debian Distribution: http://debian-enterprise.org/
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